This is part 2 of the “Making Money With Your Beats” series (read Part 1 here), and this time around I’ll be covering value and pricing. You’ve read about how you can start down the path to making money, with such things as:
Connecting with others
Giving your beats away for free
Having your own website
And practicing until your ears bleed
But what do you do once you finally get to the actual money stage? For some, they have no problem negotiating and discussing money with anyone, but for most, money has always been a taboo subject. I never understood why people get all weird when they’re asked how much money they make, or how much they bought a beat for. If you’re the type that gets weird and emotional when it comes to money talk, get over it!
If you look at money as something that you shouldn’t be discussing openly and you get emotional about it, you need to change your attitude. You have to remember that money is just a part of the whole beat-selling process. For example:
You’re selling a beat
A rapper wants to buy your beat
You tell him the price
You give him the beat
It’s simple! Money should not be a weird thing and no one should act like money negotiating is some big secret thing that you have to do in some dark alley. Money is just a part of the process, that’s all.
How To Determine Your Value
Before you even think about negotiating a price with someone, the first thing you must do is determine what your value is. This is always open for discussion because some beat makers and producers think that their beats are worth $1 million, whereas some think it’s okay to sell their beats for $5. It really doesn’t matter what you sell your beats for, just as long as you sell them at a price that you’re comfortable with.
But what is your value? And what are you comfortable with? When trying to determine your value, you have to think about YOU. Notice how I’m saying “your value”, not “your beats”. There’s a big difference in determining the value of your beats versus your value. What I mean by “your value” is that it’s much more than just your beats you’re trying to sell, you’re also trying to sell your time practicing, your time making the beat, your time mixing, and your time marketing the beat.
Some people will argue that you’re just selling a beat and that’s it. That’s true, but there’s been lots of other factors that have gotten you, the producer, to this point. Remember when you were first starting out and your beats sucked? That’s because you didn’t have experience, your studio setup was lacking, and you just didn’t have the skills. As time went on, you’ve gotten much better at your craft and now your beats are on a higher level. Thus, your value has gone up.
Think about it like this: a baseball player that hits lots of home runs isn’t just hitting the ball. Think about all of the practice and years of experience it’s taken him to get to that level. Since he has the skills to hit that ball over the wall, his value is much higher than when he was a rookie. None of this would have happened if he didn’t put all of his time and effort into getting to this point.
So the same thing applies with making beats. When determining your price, make sure you take into account everything. Don’t sell yourself short because if you know you’re worth $500 a beat, then charge it!
Setting Your Price
Once you have an idea of what your value is, it’s time to set your price. You could easily tell yourself that your beats are worth $500 each, but are they? Just because you have put years of practice into your music, doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily on that level yet. You have to also factor in that it’s possible your style of beats just don’t fit with what’s hot at the moment.
What I’ve always recommended when setting the price of your beats, is to start by figuring out YOUR value as a producer. For example, if you determine that you’re worth $1000/beat, then start with that. Now look at other producers that are selling their beats and see what prices they have. You’ll notice a lot of them are selling beats for 99 cents or $5, and that’s great if that’s what they want, but you want to steer clear of that price range since you know you’re worth $1000.
Now look at the producers that are selling their beats for a high price, something near your price. How do their beats sound? Do their beats sound like something that would sell for $1000? It’s possible they’re just trying to make a quick $1000.
If you find that your beats are way better than the other guy’s $1000 beat, then I would say go ahead and charge $1000. If you want to play it on the safe side, then drop your price to something lower, like $600. Why? There are many reasons, but for starters, you will attract more buyers with a lower price, plus if they hear the other guy’s $1000 beat then hear your $600 beat, they’ll most likely go with you since your beat is better and your price is cheaper. It can also open you up to more business because if your buyer likes your beat and price a lot, then he might be a repeat customer!
You could also just sell your beats for a much lower price than they’re worth, just so you can make some quick cash. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sell, sell, sell. There are some times where you want to sell a beat to make money, other times it’s to make money and connections. You might hook up with a rapper that is really good and you want to continue working with him, so that’s when you could strike a deal with him.
This is the tough part. There’s a few scenarios that could play out here, but let’s say that you meet up with some rapper and he wants to buy a few of your beats. You’re selling your beats at $500/each and he wants to buy 3 of them. What do you do? Negotiate!
3 x $500 = $1500, so should you charge him that? You very well could, but on the other hand, you might lose a returning customer. It’s like when you go buy a bunch of furniture at a store, the salesman will often throw in something for free or take a bit off the price since you bought so much. This is what you should be doing:
Option #1 – sell all 3 beats for $1500 and move on
Option #2 – sell all 3 beats for $1200, taking a bit off the top
Option #3 – sell all 3 beats for $1500 and throw in an extra beat (or something else)
Let’s face it – there are a lot of terrible rappers out there that are trying to make a name for themselves. A lot of them just want to brag that they bought some beats, spit on top and made a CD. Those are the type of guys that you give option #1 to.
Options #2 and #3 are similar because you’re showing your customer that you want them as repeat customers, and they probably will be. By making them a deal, you’re making them happy, and not only will they return for more beats, they’ll also spread the word about you and your beats, which is free promotion for you!
Negotiating is not that hard, although a lot of people will tell you otherwise. The reason why is because as I mentioned in the beginning, people get all weird when it comes to money, but if you instead look at money as just another “thing” in the process of selling beats, you’ll see negotiating is simple.
On the other hand, what if the buyer tells YOU what price they want? This is straightforward too because you either:
Just give them your options (option #1, #2, #3)
Or you consider their offer and counter it
Or you take their offer
Or you decline.
If a buyer said to you that instead of $1500 for all 3 beats, sell it to him for $1000 (like a 3 for the price of 2 deal) – what do you do? It’s tempting because you’re making $1000 and you could easily sell other beats, or you could insist on $1500. It still comes down to whether or not you want to sell your beats to this buyer purely for profit, or if you want to make a profit AND network with this buyer and have a repeat customer. It all depends on whether you like this buyer or not.
Making money from selling your beats can be hard at times, but I believe that’s because of a few factors, like whether your style of music is up to today’s standards, or if your prices are considered too high. If your prices are too high, either you made a mistake when determining your value and pricing your beats, or it could just be that the buyers are mad cheap! Don’t forget that no matter how well you set your price and no matter how dope your beats are, you might not sell because the buyers just want everything for free. Good luck!