[Editor’s Note: This article was written by our friends at Airbit.]
Artists are becoming increasingly aware that they don’t need a record label to ‘make it,’ and are keeping huge chunks of money that traditionally would’ve ended up in executives’ pockets. Although success stories like Chance the Rapper, Lil Nas X, or Snow Tha Product are inspiring and empowering, the thought of building a career from scratch can sound both daunting and isolating.
How does a solo independent artist not only build connections with producers, but find beats to create something truly original that will get the right people noticing you and your music?
The good news is that with the unprecedented reach of the internet and beat-selling platforms, it’s easier than ever to connect with producers around the world and find the exact sound you’re looking for.
Since we’re Airbit, for the sake of this article, we’ll use our platform to illustrate how to leverage online beat marketplaces to build relationships with producers and grow your career.
HOW TO WORK WITH PRODUCERS
1. Buy Beats
The simplest way to work with producers is to buy beats from their stores. Using Airbit’s technology, you can buy an instrumental day or night and it will be delivered instantly to you, along with all files and contracts. Many producers even offer free downloads, allowing you to snag a beat at no cost, record to it, and upload to streaming platforms like YouTube for non-profit use. This is an easy way to get started, with no financial commitment. Once you’ve got the demo and want to start marketing it, you can buy the license from the producer’s store, or reach out to them directly.
While this alone won’t get you in the studio with a producer, it’s a great way to start building a relationship – and relationships are essential in building a successful career.
2. Follow Producers
After spending some time searching beats online, you’ll start to become familiar with producers, and identify whose work you prefer.
To put it simply: follow these producers. Follow them on social networks, sign up to their email lists, interact with them, and check in on their stores regularly. This doesn’t mean ignore all other producers, but we all have our favorite place to shop, right?
3. Reach Out
Producers post beats every day on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. If you hear something you like, let them know! It really is that easy.
However, when reaching out to producers online, make an effort to do so in a genuine fashion. (Don’t copy and paste “Dope beat, check out my page 🔥” on a hundred different posts – we all know that’s not a genuine comment). Being likable and sincere will get you a lot further than disingenuous flattery and self-promotion.
Most producers will also include their contact info on their stores, or in their social profiles. Producer/rapper and comedian Crank Lucas has advice for reaching out via email: “A smart artist knows to include their links in their email signatures to allow easy access to their work.”
After finding a beat and creating your new song, your first inclination will probably be to share it with your audience and try to rack up views, likes and plays – but did you think to share it with the producer? Producers love to see what people are doing with their beats, and simply sending them a link to your finished song could be the start of a long-term relationship. And who knows, maybe they’ll share it with their audience.
If you’ve found a producer whose work you like and you’ve become familiar with their available inventory, you might consider connecting with them about work they haven’t posted yet. As multi-platinum producer SuperStar O says, “You can always reach out via Instagram and ask the producer if they have any unreleased heat in the vault for sale. Chances are we all have some of those ready as well.”
Although selling online is a primary business model for producers, it isn’t the only way to connect. Many producers still like to get into the studio with artists and work in a more collaborative way, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Think of the internet as an introductory tool for finding and connecting with new people. Even if you find someone on the other side of the world who you may not be able to work with in person, there’s nothing stopping you from working on something remotely.
4. Ask Questions
Producers and artists have an innately symbiotic relationship – one can’t have success without the other. Keep in mind when reaching out that producers want to sell their beats as much as you want to distribute your songs.
If you have any questions about how you can use the beat, how to buy it, what discounts are available, etc., don’t be afraid to ask – they will get back to you, and may even give you information you were unaware you needed.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST BEATS ONLINE
Overtime, as artists build their repertoire and along with it, their relationships with producers, their methodologies for finding new beats become idiosyncratic and second-nature. But when you’re starting out, experiment with each of the below methods, all of which are common and will open you up to thousands upon thousands of fresh beats.
1. Search by Genre and Mood
The search function on the Airbit Marketplace accurately matches your query to relevant results. You can then filter those results by mood, genre, tempo, length of time on the platform, and even limit it to free downloads only.
Multi-platinum and gold-selling producer Yung Lan states that most artists find his beats by searching genre and mood on Airbit. The platform allows producers to assign their beats up to three moods, and categorize by genre. Airbit’s sophisticated search technology then surfaces those beats according to relevance.
“Artists go off of vibes so whatever they are feeling at the time is what they search for and they usually find an instrumental that fits the mood that they are in,” Yung Lan says.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, head straight to the browse section to search through thousands of beats.
2. Airbit Charts
The Airbit Charts are a fool-proof way to find popular beats and producers and choose from only the best of the best. You’ll find top beats, top producers, and top newcomers based on number of plays and downloads, allowing you to see who’s popular, who’s trending, and who’s sought-after.
YouTube is a huge source of beats, and though you can’t buy beats directly from YouTube, most producers will place purchase links in the descriptions. Since anyone can post to YouTube, you’ll find a lot of producers there – some may not even be selling online, but you can still reach out either for purchase inquiries or to start a working relationship.
4. ‘Type Beats’
‘Type Beats’ is the descriptive term most used on YouTube and other platforms for finding beats. The defining quality of a Type Beat is that it shares or emulates a signature artist sound. Thousands of people search daily for ‘Drake type beat’ or ‘Travis Scott type beat’, so if you’re looking for hidden gems, try using descriptive words for the mood you’re after instead, and look for videos with fewer views, as they may not have been used as much.
5. Word of Mouth
With so much choice it can be hard to narrow down your search, or sift through the masses. If you hear a song by another artist and you like the production, reach out to them and ask where they got the beat. Easy!
When it comes to finding beats online, the world is literally at your fingertips. Never has there been a more empowering time for artists to make original work, and build their careers on their own terms.