Producers. We know it can be daunting dipping your toes into the music business for the first time – What do you do first? What do you prioritise? When do you take the next step? To help you get started selling your beats online, we’ve compiled an essential checklist for when you first set up your online beat selling business.
Firstly, and most importantly, upload your beats. Now, I know this sounds obvious, but I also know a lot of you are sitting on a batch of beats, having not yet uploaded them because you’re not sure if you’re ready, or if your beats are good enough. Let me tell you, nothing will change by leaving them on your hard drive. Take the plunge, share them with the world, and get feedback – they may be better than you think! And if they’re not quite good enough, the producer community will give you constructive feedback to help you improve your game.
However, before you do this – make sure you have a decent catalogue size. An empty looking store is a sure fire way to turn off a visitor before they’ve even heard a beat. I recommend around 30 beats as a good starting point, but if you’re sitting on 15-20 and are itching to get started, go ahead and upload them.
Set up your payment method. Another obvious one, but something people often leave out when getting started. You’ve taken the first step of sharing your beats with the world, now set up your payment options so people can actually buy from you. You may not even be working on a marketing strategy yet, but you want the option in place should someone stumble across your beats. PayPal makes it super easy to create a business account and is widely trusted and accepted around the world, so I’d go with that to begin with.
Join social media. Most of you will already have social media accounts, but you might want to consider creating a new one just for your brand. This will depend on your approach to branding, and how much of ‘you’ you want to share, but either way, you want to make sure you’re on the main platforms – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. To start with, pick two to really focus on (IG + TW being my recommendation), and once you’ve joined, post regularly – don’t just post a couple times then disappear. Social media management will become part of your daily routine once things get moving, so lay the groundwork and get used to it now. Posts can be anything from new beat releases to beat making videos, any achievements, shout outs, etc. And make sure you interact with your followers – don’t be a ghost behind a logo.
There are tonnes of ways to connect with customers, make sure you’re easy to find on relevant platforms
Join streaming platforms. Aside from uploading your beats to Airbit, you’ll want to join major streaming platforms like YouTube. YouTube is one of the biggest marketplaces for beats right now, with a large majority of artists searching for and finding beats here, then funneling through to your store to complete the purchase.
Which leads nicely to my next point: Tell people where they can find you and your beats. Too often I see people posting beats on YouTube, IG, Twitter, etc. with no links to buy. They may say “buy my beat in my store”, but don’t actually provide a link to the store. That sounds insane, right? What’s the customer to do from there? And there are countless social profiles with no links in the bio. This is an easy way to lose out on potential customers, simply because you’re not giving people easy access to you or your beats.
There is a huge amount of traffic to be found on YouTube. Notice how these have either a purchase link or website link
Start. An. Email. List. These are still relevant, still important, and still a huge source of traffic and income for many producers (and businesses of all kinds). Think about all the emails you receive on a daily basis – there’s a reason for that – a reason why businesses are still using this. Social media is a great way to interact with your followers, however, this only works if they are checking their feed and seeing your posts (which some of you know will depend on which algorythm is in place on that platform, and how well you’re adhering to it). YouTube is a great way to get customers, however, this only works if you’re ranking in the results, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Email is a guaranteed way for you to reach your followers whenever you want, with the content you want, and drive them directly to your store. (Of course you have to consider things like spam filters, unsubscribes etc. but there is still no way that offers as direct a marketing approach as email).
Not selling your beats online yet? Sign up today and start selling!
As a new producer you won’t have thousands of people on your list, however you can build this slowly over time (and it will take time). One way to do this is to offer free beats. Free downloads allow you to offer your beats in exchange for the customer’s email address rather than payment. Doing this will not only build your list, but also give artists the chance to write to your (tagged) beats then come back and make a purchase. Free Downloads via Airbit can also be given in exchange for YouTube or Twitter follow, allowing you to build those followings instead, if you choose. Click here to see how.
Focus on getting traffic and building loyal followers – sales will come later. As a new producer it can be easy to look out for sales immediately, but believe me this will do you no good. Sales can take a long time to come, so focus on improving your craft, forming a marketing plan, your branding, etc. and the sales will naturally begin to come in. Focusing on sales has got to be one of the biggest demotivator for a new producer, simply because it’s likely there won’t be many. If you accept that before you begin, and focus on building your brand, your catalogue of beats, your followers/fans, etc., the beginning period will be much easier for you.
Find your sound. I can understand why, when entering a new market, you’d want to emulate other producers’ sound. Following trends can be a quick + easy way to get a few sales, however, it won’t benefit you long term. I’m not saying don’t make what customers want, I’m saying be mindful of the long term, and remember that trends come and go. If you want to make what’s popular, try putting your own twist on it, or continue to create your own sound whilst simultaneously releasing ‘trendy beats’. You want to create a customer base full of people who are coming to you for your sound because they can’t get it elsewhere, this way you will have a solid set of returning customers, regardless of what’s trending at the time. Producers like DopeBoyzMuzic, Tone Jonez, BeatsbySV, etc. are consistantly top sellers on the platform because they have their own style that isn’t based on trends, and isn’t heard anywhere else. If you want a Tone Jonez type beat, you have to go to Tone Jonez.
A few other things to consider as next steps, once you’ve got the basics:
Step up your branding – get a professional logo, your own website, beat artwork, etc.
Start thinking about paid ads. At some point you will need to invest in your business, and most of the money will go on marketing & advertising.
Create automated emails. These will be sent to everyone that joins your list – they may include a welcome email, delivering on any promises (e.g. free beats on signup), useful information, etc.
Create a blog. This will be useful for SEO purposes, to help bring traffic to your website. So you’ll want to be providing helpful information that your audience will be looking for.
Get a custom tag. Whilst every Airbit member has an Airbit voicetag to protect their beats by default, once you’ve got things up and running, you should get your own (branded) tag. You can get personalised voicetags here.
And that about wraps it up for now, but let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments!