How to Get Beat Placements
A simple process for selling beats at scale and collaborating with high-profile artists you love.
AUGUST 5TH, 2022
In this article, you’ll learn how to produce professional-quality beats to set up your online store:
Solidify your production chops
While the importance of solid music production skills may seem obvious, consider this: An artist has an option of choosing from thousands upon thousands of beats. They want to purchase something that completes their song with minimal effort on their part — after all, if they wanted to dive deep into production, they’d likely be making their own beats! Even if you create the coolest beat ever made, if the kick is weak, the snare is muffled and the hi hats are piercing, a generic beat that checks all the production and mixing boxes will win every single time.
Your job when making beats is not to make something great; it’s to make an artist or rapper’s life easier and increase the professionalism of their music!
Before you even begin focusing on how you’ll get paid, ensure your production quality is rock solid, as your music will immediately eliminate the competition that didn’t do the same. This means suring up your skills in sound design, processing, effects usage, mixing, etc. — finishing as many beats as possible (not starting a bunch of different projects) is hands-down the best way to do this, but it’s even better to have help along the way! Groove3 is a fantastic resource for rapidly building your music production abilities, and they also have some great tutorials for tons of UJAM plugins!
Where to sell beats
Once you know the production quality of your beats is excellent (don’t wait until it’s “perfect”, because that’s a never ending pursuit!), it’s time to put them online for sale. Many platforms will take a percentage of your sales, while others will charge you a fixed monthly rate but allow you to keep 100% commission. In the beginning, sharing commission allows you to get started with little to no upfront cost, but the moment you make enough to offset that cost, it’s probably wise to make the shift to keeping 100% of your sales so you don’t pay more and more as your income increases.
There are a number of viable platforms, including DistroKid, Airbit, BeatStars, Sellfy and many more — clarify your goals before you make a decision, as one platform may stick out to you above the rest for its reach, market focus and features. Above all, the experience must feel seamless to the artists and rappers browsing your site; slow load times or an unintuitive UI will push them away without a second thought. Especially keep this in mind if you’re integrating a service with your website; the two need to play nicely together to make your brand feel professional.
Defining your style
Now that everything’s set up on the technical side, it’s finally time to focus on how to get traffic to your page and make some sales! The simplest first step is to niche down — instead of being another producer that makes beats for rappers, how about fully orchestrated hip hop beats, or going all-in on synthwave beats? As a creative, the notion of restricting yourself this heavily may be uncomfortable, but it will make it much easier to market and sell your beats.
This also helps you streamline your growth; for example, if you create a YouTube channel demoing your beats and they all have a certain sound that ties them together (while still varying chords, instrumentation, tempo, etc.), it will be easier to get those videos to rank and show up in searches. When you become THE producer for certain styles of beats, your name gets around much faster. Plus, creativity often thrives when we work with restrictions, so you’ll be able to sustain a higher output!
There’s a scalable and a non-scalable part of selling beats. The non-scalable (but incredibly important) method is networking — connecting with artists and other producers on social media, Reddit, online communities, Instagram DMs, etc. and showing a genuine interest in what they do. Start conversations and make friends, keep it simple! Unless you make this a priority, it’s easy to put off indefinitely ... but it’s these relationships that open up referrals, collaboration opportunities and plenty more a year or more down the line. When that time comes, you’ll be glad you built a network before you needed it!
The scalable approach is, of course, using social media. A YouTube channel with full-length demos of your beats, with tutorials designed to show artists and rappers how to make the most out of the beats they get — this is a perfect way to plug your own! There are endless types of content you can create, but the important part is to make relevant, useful content that also creates a demand for what you offer. TikTok’s preference for short form content means you’ll want to create bite-size tips and tricks and quick demos, ideally in an entertaining way that’s uniquely yours (many of the most successful TikToks are purely focused on humor).
Experiment with other platforms as well! The same content will perform differently on each platform, so it’s important to create content native to each one. Rarely if ever should these be sales pitches — you’ll see better results from creating valuable content that just so happens to include your products, posting full-length demos when you release new beats. Once you get a feel for this, there’s incredible potential for healthy income from beat sales!
Once you’re able to produce professional-quality beats and you’ve set up your online store, getting consistent sales is a daunting challenge. However, as you build an audience creating content around what you love doing, you can get into a rhythm that’s rewarding in and of itself! As your marketing skills improve (and they definitely will if you look at your stats and view everything as feedback), you’ll build your income as a producer and beatmaker. And as your network grows, you’ll have more opportunities for collaboration and better gigs as well!
One of the most important keys is speed — the more beats you create, the more you have to sell and the more ready-made content you have available to you! Nothing will make that process faster than UJAM’s Beatmakers, because all you need is to tweak and adapt the grooves available to you — you’ll have your own sound, not pre-made audio loops that will easily be recognized by other producers. If you want to release tons of original beats, trap, drum & bass, reggaeton and more are right at your fingertips!
About the Author
Harry Lodes is a copywriter, marketing consultant and content writer for audio and ecommerce brands. He lives in the Philadelphia area, releasing Eastern/Western hybrid EDM under the artist name KAIRI hearkening back to his roots in Berklee College of Music.
We develop software solutions that enable people to create, consume and interact with music.