Today’s digital age presents us with an abundance of opportunity to make money whether it’s selling music or even gear. We live in the age outsourced services and the monetized clicks. It’s the age where many industries find new markets and new audiences through online platforms, music being one of those industries.
Many producers have often wondered and asked the question: Is it worth selling my music online, and if so, how difficult is it?
With multiple sources online talking facts and figures, it can be estimated that there are between 20 and 30 million (yes, MILLION) US dollars being made every year by producers working across sites like Premiumbeat, Traktrain and Beatstars, to name a few.
One producer by the name of Robin Wesley in a recent interview online with CNBC stated that he barely made $500usd in his first year of music production, but within 24 months of grinding had reached an annual revenue of above $30,000. Wesley is now making a six-figure income and has had massive success with a song that went #1 in Vietnam. The beat he sold for $100 has netted him significant further royalties and revenues.
Another example of the power of leasing beats comes from DopeBoyzMuzic run by Tomasso and Alessandro Pinto out of Germany. They are an independent label leasing their clients beats online, with a track called ‘Purple Clouds’ that netted the label $15,000 in leasing fees for just on 1000 leases (Forbes, 2017).
The CEO and Owner of Airbit said his company has generated $20 million in total profit for its users, with some beat sellers making a regular six-figure income(Forbes, 2017).
The infamous song ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X was produced by a 17-year-old Dutch kid who goes by the name YoungKio. Lil Nas X famously bought the beat online for $30 and that one track has since gained international fame and has generated a total of around $470 million dollars in total, with handfuls upon handfuls of platinum awards to boot. While we are unsure of the royalties YoungKio went on to receive, it’s certain that he has done pretty well for himself.
How Can You Be Successful in Selling Your Beats?
We’ve drawn up some basic tips when venturing into the online music market:
Produce a large catalog with quality content
Find your niche market
Choose the most appropriate websites for your catalogs
Learn how to market your content
Quantity and Quality
If you browse through online catalogs of beats for sale, you’ll notice a common thread among the consistent earners, and that’s their work ethic.
The producers showing up on the front pages are the ones who are consistently creating content to sell and market.
A bigger catalog increases the chances of landing clients. In order to consistently produce marketable content, you should also work on your creative processes, workflow and overall production skills.
Find Your Niche Market
One of the main things to keep in mind when deciding where and how to market yourself is your audience.
If you write jingles, ringtones, ditties or intros and theme tunes, then you might want to focus on a more corporate client base and use a website like Audiodraft, Audiojungle or Premimbeat.
If you’re making more genre-based content like hip-hop beats, house music, trap or anything of a more specific genre or subgenre, then websites like traktrain, beatstars, Beatport and Soundclick might be more worth looking into.
All of these websites act as moderates to help artists sell and lease their music and connect active clients to locate the music they need for their projects.
You can experiment and dip your toes in different communities, ranging from corporate to creative to collaborative until you get a solid idea of what you want to sell and who you want to sell it to.
Where Should You Sell Your Music?
There are a lot of sites that let you sell or lease your beats. Some – if not most, websites offer free signup accounts with limitations on things like upload quantity or the percentage cut that they take from each piece of content you sell or lease.
Most websites offer fixed prices on beats. However, websites like Audiodraft and Traktrain, will require you to submit tracks that meet a certain content standard. This allows them to sell beats on their website at higher price.
Other platforms like beatstars, Soundclick, and even Fiverr will let you set your own prices. These sites also have suggested breakdowns for options regarding separately leasing and selling wavs, stems and mp3’s, with mp3 leases fetching $30 to $50 and Wav leases extending upwards from $100.
Website leaning towards corporate client needs like Audiodraft and Audiojungle often have their prices set by the clients. The content needed can be more specific and in accordance with a design brief.
How Do You Market Your Catalog?
Successfully marketing your catalog is a balance between paying attention to your client base and to the other producers/content creators selling/leasing their beats on the website.
In sites like Soundclick and beatstars, most producers in the Hip-Hop genre title their tracks as ‘xxx tentacion type beat’ or ‘Lil yachty type beat’, this instantly identifies the style of their beats.
You can benefit from listening to the beats of other producers and ultimately trying to submit content that fits the community of the website.
Websites like Audiodraft will provide briefs to producers, that will sound something like “create a short 15-second track that sounds feminine, and instantly uplifting”.
As you can see from the contrast between these websites, corporate and creative leasing have very different overall briefs end-games.
The same can be said for any other leasing website, as these sites will all have an active user base that can be viewed as a ‘community’ of buyers who have intentionally come looking for specific sounds or vibes.
The best thing you can do is choose between focusing to one style or genre based on the users and other producers of the specific websites you’re using or to produce content from briefs and establish a clientele in that website.
Selling and or leasing music online can be quite a profitable venture and comes with minimal risks as most websites are free and easy to sign up to. Especially now, in the time of the pandemic and lock-downs.
You might have reservations in marketing your music online and that’s completely understandable.
But if you’ve read this far and you’re anything like me, you probably have 90+ useless beats sitting in private mode on your SoundCloud that you never have any intention of using. Beats that could otherwise be the perfect new Samsung ringtone or TikTok sample.
The internet is a gateway to possibilities and you will never know until you try.