The truth about making beats

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THE TRUTH ABOUT MAKING BEATS

 

MYTH: A beat maker is a producer, and a producer is a beat maker.

 

TRUTH: Producers are much more involved in the entire songwriting process, from making the beat to working with the artist in the studio. A beat maker (also known as a programmer) makes the beat and sells it online, never actually collaborating directly with the artist on the project. “A person that makes beats will start with an idea and make that idea, but won’t get involved with the songwriting end of things”. “A producer in a studio will start a beat, but then they might hire a session musician to come in and work with them to make the beat a complete track. Producers are very involved in the entire process – working with the artist and lengthening out the beat into a complete song – while a beat maker simply comes up with the beat.”

 

MYTH: You should stick to one style of music.

 

TRUTH: If you pigeonhole yourself to one specific type of music, you’ll definitely miss out on other opportunities.

 

  “To be successful as a beat maker, you have to be diverse,”. “I see a lot of people fail when they concentrate so much in one lane and then they’re given the opportunity to do something else, like a pop record, and they have to turn it down because they don’t know how to make pop beats.”  I agree. “There was one style of hip hop I created early in my career, but I quickly realized that no one really wanted that. I had to transition into more of what was popular at the time. I had to learn how to make pop, dance, and dubstep beats so that I could be more well-rounded, and therefore get more people to use my productions.” That said, if you make a really incredible beat, and people are interested in it, be prepared to make more. So once you find a great sound, create several beats, because there’s going to be a demand, especially if the original track is hitting the radio and gaining popularity.”

 

MYTH: You’ll start making money selling your beats right away.

 

TRUTH: Maybe, but probably not. You can make a living selling beats, but it’s not a walk in a park. It’s just like being an actor or an athlete. It’s all about the time and commitment you put into it. It’s an uphill battle, and most people are usually also doing something else on the side, like producing, engineering, mixing, or writing. Often times, when beat makers are starting out, they’ll give away their beats for free, just so they can get their sound out there. A lot of rappers are making mix tapes, and they will often solicit up-and-coming beat makers for their tracks via Twitter. You won’t get paid, but at least you’ll get the credit.

 

   “Making beats and selling them online isn’t extremely lucrative because the market is so over-saturated with people who will sell their beats for $5-$30”. “If you’re going to try to make any type of substantial income off of making beats, I don’t think that’s the way to go.” Another way to make money is to sign a publishing deal with a company, songwriter, or major producer. And yes, while the disadvantage is that you don’t keep all of your earnings (the industry standard is around 50%), there are benefits too. “It’s a lot [of money] to give up, but now you’re catapulted out of your bedroom and are getting the opportunities to present your music to major acts that you wouldn’t have had before”. If you’re not going to go the publishing route, at least make sure you’re legally protected when selling your beats. Read over all of your contracts, and if you can, have a lawyer look at them as well.

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