Promotion is the key to successfully getting your music heard, and with today’s music industry, which is constantly evolving due to the digital age, you have to always come up with different ways of promoting yourself and your music. When it comes to your beats, the most common way is to promote online, which is great, but what about beat tapes?
When I say “beat tapes”, that means a lot of things. Years ago that actually meant an actual cassette tape with your beats on it, but now it could easily be a CD or even a flash memory drive. Nobody said that promotion is going to be free, in fact, it will most likely cost you money every time you do some sort of promotion, and beat tapes are no exception.
My personal favorite is flash drives because that’s just the way it is today. Everyone has some sort of computer where they can put a flash drive on it and then instantly have all of your beats right there for them to listen to. The benefit of flash drives is also that you can put all kinds of extra things on there as well, such as:
Artwork for your beat tape
A text document where you have your biography
Links to all of your websites (your own site and social sites)
An MP3 preview of new music that you’re working on
Do you see how great it is to use a flash drive to promote your beats? If you’re going to be putting your beats on a flash drive, then you don’t need a drive that has tons of space. Anything small will do, and nowadays, flash drives are really cheap. As long as it’s a decent brand that won’t die, it will do the job. Brands such as Kingston, Centon, Verbatim, PNY, and Sandisk are just a few that have great drives. There’s also a lot of “no-name” brands out there that have very cheap drives, which I’m sure will do the trick.
How Many Tracks?
This is a big question because the way it goes today, a lot of beatmakers/producers/artists will put something like 30 tracks on a beat tape, or even an album. I think this is totally wrong, and the reason why is because you will end up with a watered down product. I know that a lot of you might be thinking that 30 tracks is great because it gives you the chance to show your beatmaking skills, your diversity, and how creative your beats can be, but that’s actually the opposite.
When I listen to someone’s beats, I just need to hear a few of them and I’ve formed my opinion already. Every beatmaker has a style, and it doesn’t take 30 beats to show someone what they can do. I’ve always recommended that there be about 10-12 beats on there, that’s it. Really, that’s it! There are also times when even that amount is too much, because as I just mentioned, sometimes it just takes a few beats to give the listener an idea of what kind of style of beats it is.
Cassette tapes and compact discs are a thing of the past. If you have your beats on a bunch of flash drives, it makes it so much easier for you to carry that around, rather than a big heavy bag or box of cassettes and CDs. Let’s say you have a backpack that you always carry around, well then you could easily fit hundreds of USB sticks in there. I’m not saying you should walk around with a backpack full of flash drives, but you could!
Think of the ways that you could use these flash drives to your advantage:
You could pass them out at local shows
You could pass them out to co-workers, friends, and family
You could get friends to help you pass them out to people coming out of the record store, or a music concert
You could leave a box full on a counter somewhere, like at a nearby school (with permission, of course)
The reason why you should give them away for free is because, well, it’s FREE! Anytime people see the word “free”, they’re immediately intrigued. Plus, we’re only talking about your beats here, not an album. You could give away an album too, but with this scenario, you’re trying to get your name out there and let people hear your beats, which will lead them to finding out more information about you and your music. Remember when I said that you could put your biography, links, and future music projects on a flash drive? This is how people will find about you, but first they have to like what they hear.
What Kind Of Beats?
This is a no-brainer! Put your best beats on these beat tapes. Of course, you’re going to want to protect your beats somehow by having voice tags over them, or even better, if you’ve officially filed for copyright of your beats.
Your beats should be catchy, well produced, well thought out, mixed properly, and sound good on all devices. That means your beats should be banging just as well on a pair of studio monitors, and a pair of earbuds.
Your beats should also be quick. Even though you’re only going to be putting 10-12 beats on there, they should still be short beats, but it also depends on how the beats are produced. You don’t want to have long introductions, and the beats should be no more than 3 minutes. You have to remember that people today have very short attention spans, so keep it short and sweet. For example, each month on IllMuzik, I have have the Beat This! Competition, where the beats must be no longer than 2 minutes. I find that this formula works well because it forces the producer to get his point across within a short timeframe, and as a result, the 2 minute beat just works.
Promotion is tough, and as I’ve mentioned many times, it’s not just about promoting yourself online. By having your beats on a flash drive and promoting those beats by giving them away, you’re once again going to be setting yourself apart from the rest. And that, is how people will remember you and your music.