The Ultimate Guide to Online Beat Licensing

Online beat licensing is nothing new as music producers have been licensing their beats for many years now. What once started with a few hundred producers on sites like Soundclick and MySpace has now evolved into a massive music-licensing industry led by platforms such as BeatStars, Airbit and Soundee.

Music production has never been easier and today’s resources make it possible for almost anyone to launch a website to sell beats from. Still, beat licensing is serious business. 

In this guide, we will explain the concept of beat licensing and particularly focus on the differences between Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Licenses. The information provided in this guide will apply to both artists that are buying beat licenses, and producers selling beat licenses. 

Sit back and relax! ☕️ By the end of this guide, you will know everything there is to know about online beat licensing.

Table of contents
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Part 1: Beat Licensing Explained

The concept of beat licensing is not hard to understand. A producer makes a beat and uploads it to their beat store. Any artist can buy these beats directly from the store and use it for their own songs. 

In exchange for their purchase, the producer will provide the artist with a license agreement. A document that grants the artist certain user-rights to create and distribute a song. 

This license agreement is legal proof that the producer has given them permission to use the beat. 

A common misconception is when artists ask producers for free beats. Even when a producer agrees and sends the artist a free beat. The truth is, that free beat is useless as there is no legal proof and permission to use it. This is where the license agreement comes in.  

Before we go any further, we have to let go of the common phrases of “buying beats” and “selling beats”. The product that we’re dealing with here is simply not the beat itself. It is the license agreement. 

Non-Exclusive Beat Licensing 

Non-exclusive licensing, also known as ‘leasing’, is the most common form of beat licensing. For anywhere between $20-300, you can buy a non-exclusive license agreement and release a song on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, create a music video for YouTube, and make money from it! 💰

These are also the types of licenses that are directly available from the producer’s beat store. In other words, you don’t have to inquire for them and you can instantly buy a license from the online store. 

In most cases, a license agreement is auto-generated, including the buyer’s name, address, a timestamp (Effective Date), the user-rights and the information of the producer. 

With a non-exclusive license, the producer grants the artist permission to use the beat to create a song of their own and distribute it online. The producer will still retain copyright ownership (more about this later) and the artist has to adhere to the rights granted in the agreement. 

The limitations of Non-Exclusive Licenses

Most non-exclusive licenses have a limitation on sales, plays, streams or views. For example, the license might only allow a maximum number of 50,000 streams on Spotify and/or 100,000 views on YouTube. 

A non-exclusive license also has an expiration date. Meaning that it’s only going to be valid for a set period of time. This could be anywhere between 1-10 years. After the contract period is due, the buyer has to renew the license. In other words, buy a new one. 

The license will also need to be renewed as soon as the buyer reached the maximum amount of streams and/or plays. Even if that’s before the contract’s expiration date (!)

Since these licenses are non-exclusive, a single beat can be licensed to an unlimited number of different artists. This means that several artists could be using the same beat for a different song under similar license terms. 

Whether this is a problem depends entirely on what stage the artist is. A beginner artist would be best off with a non-exclusive license, while a signed artist or an artist that is on the verge of blowing up might be better off with an exclusive license. 

The different types of Non-Exclusive Licenses 

Most producers offer different non-exclusive licensing options. In my case, I offer an MP3, WAV, Premium, and Unlimited License. 

Every option comes with its own unique user-rights. These user-rights are often displayed in licensing tables, similar to mine below.

Obviously, the more expensive the license, the more user-rights you’re getting. These more expensive licenses also come with better quality audio files. 

In my case, the second-highest tier, the Premium license, is the most popular. That’s simply because you get the best audio quality, tracked out files of the beat and good user-rights. 

Artists who believe these rights still aren’t sufficient for their song, usually go for the highest tier. The Unlimited license. Or even better, an Exclusive license. 

Exclusive Beat Licensing

When you own the Exclusive Rights to a beat, there are no limitations on user rights. Meaning that an artist can exploit the song to the fullest. 

There is no maximum number of streams, plays, sales or downloads nor is there an expiration date on the contract. 

The song may also be used in numerous different projects. Singles, albums, music videos etc. In comparison to non-exclusive licenses, which are usually limited for use in a single project only. 

In the case of buying the exclusive rights to a beat that was previously (non-exclusively) licensed to other artists, the artist that purchased the exclusive rights is typically the last person to purchase it. After a beat is sold exclusively, the producer is no longer allowed to sell or license the beat to others.  

That doesn’t mean the previous non-exclusive licensees will be affected by this. Every exclusive contract should have a section with a “notice of outstanding clients” included. 

This section protects these previous licensees from getting a strike by the exclusive buyer.

These are the main differences between non-exclusive licenses and exclusive licenses. But it goes further than that and there’s often confusion around the topics of rights and royalties. 

Going forward in this guide, we will go more in-depth about Royalties, Publishing and Copyright.

Two very different ways of selling Exclusive Rights  

For many years, producers had different ways of selling exclusive rights. Luckily, in more recent years, contracts are becoming more streamlined and matching the industry standard. 

Still, I want to address two very different ways of selling exclusive rights. 

  1. Selling exclusive rights 
  2. Selling exclusive ownership  

By selling exclusive rights, the producer remains the original author of the music. And is still able to collect writers share and publishing rights. (again, more about this later) 

By selling exclusive ownership, the producer sells the beat including all interest, authorship, copyright, etc. These deals are also known as ‘work-for-hire’. Basically, the artist retains actual ownership over the beat and will–from that point on–be considered as the legal author of the beat. 

Within the beat licensing industry, selling exclusive ownership is wrong, unethical and–in most cases–not compliant with Copyright Law.   

It’s only right to come to an agreement where both the artist and producer are credited for their work; Legally, financially and commercially.

Part 2: Everything you need to know about Royalties, Writers Share and Publishing Rights  

This is the part that most people struggle to understand. Mainly, because there are lots of different deal structures in the music industry. No worries! 😉 By the end of this guide, you’ll know everything you need to know. 

Let’s break things down step-by-step and solely in regards to online beat licensing. 

Before we jump into this next section, we need to get a better understanding of two types of royalties first. 

  1. Mechanical Royalties 
  2. Performance Royalties 

Mechanical Royalties

Mechanical royalties are generated when music is physically or digitally reproduced or distributed. This applies to hard copy sales, digital sales (e.g. iTunes) and streams (e.g. Spotify). 

Performance Royalties

Performance royalties are generated when a song is performed publicly. This applies to when music is played on the radio, performed live or streamed for example. 

Who gets the Mechanical Royalties? 

In most cases, the artist is allowed to keep 100% of the mechanical royalties in exchange for the price they pay for the license. Regardless of whether the license is non-exclusive or exclusive. 

These days, distribution services like TuneCore, CDBaby or DistroKid pay these mechanical royalties directly to the artist. That is if the artist works independently.

When an artist is signed to a label, the label usually collects the mechanical royalties and might choose to pay (a percentage of) it to the artist. 

Advances against Mechanical Royalties in Exclusive Agreements 

I intentionally said that “in most cases” the artist gets to collect 100% of the mechanical rights because this does not always apply. There’s an exception to this, which only applies to exclusive rights. 

Some producers (including myself) ask for a tiny percentage of the Mechanical Royalties in their exclusive agreements. This could be anywhere between 1-10%. 

This is also known as ‘points’ or ‘producer royalties’. 

In this scenario, the price an artist pays for the exclusive rights is considered an “advance against mechanical royalties” that might become due in the future. It will be calculated over the Net Profit of a song. Meaning that all costs to create the song, including the exclusive price may be deducted first before the producer gets his cut. 

Here’s an example to show you how this could potentially play out in a real-life situation.  

Let’s say a producer sells the exclusive rights to a beat for $1,000 USD as an advance against royalties. His mechanical royalty rate is set to 3%.  

The artist paid: 
$1,000 for exclusive rights 
$500 for studio time
$500 for getting the song mixed and mastered 
Total expenses = $2,000 

After 1 year, the song generated $10,000 in Mechanical Royalties!

The Net Profit: $10,000 - $2,000 expenses = $8,000 💰

The Producer’s Cut: 3% of $8,000 = $240 

As an independent artist, $8,000 is a lot of money to generate on Mechanical Royalties. Still, only $240 has to be paid to the producer. 

Why an Advance against Royalties?

It seems pointless, however, there’s a reason why some producers (including me) prefer selling exclusive rights with an advance against royalties.

A few years back, I could easily sell exclusive rights for anywhere between $2,000 - $10,000. (The Good Ol’ Days! 🤠) 

These days, it’s considered ‘normal’ to sell exclusive rights for less than $1,000. With all the competition and the beat market becoming more saturated, the prices have dropped and it has become harder to close 4 or 5-figure exclusive deals. 

But what if the song blows up!? 

What if a song starts generating millions of dollars and you sold the exclusive rights to that beat for less than $1,000? 

That doesn’t really sound like a fair deal, does it? 

An advance against royalties can offer the solution. It’s an insurance for the producer just in case the song blows up. It’s also something the artist only has to worry about as soon as the song starts generating serious revenue. And even still, it’s only 3%. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Who collects the Performance Royalties? 

Performance royalties are collected and paid out by Performing Rights Organisations (PRO’s), such as ASCAP or BMI in the US or PRS in the UK. 

(Every country has its own organisation, check which one is yours

These royalties are divided into two parts: 

  1. Songwriter Royalties (A.k.a. Writer’s Share)
  2. Publishing Royalties 

The PRO’s collect both of these royalties and divide them into two groups. 

For every $1 earned on Performance Royalties:

The $0.50 Songwriter Royalties will be paid out to the songwriters directly by the PRO. 

The other $0.50 publishing royalties will be paid out to a publishing company or publishing administrator. (more about this later). 

What are songwriter royalties? 

First, let’s break down the Songwriter Royalties. 

The songwriter royalties, also known as the ‘Writer’s share’ will always be paid out to the credited songwriters. This is the part that can not be sold through an exclusive license, other than a work-for-hire agreement. 

As I said before, this is wrong in the industry of licensing beats online. 

In case you’re getting confused; In copyright law, a producer is considered a ‘songwriter’ too. 🤓

Songwriter royalties apply to anyone that had creative input in a song. Producers, songwriters (lyricists) and sometimes even engineers. 

Generally, non-exclusive beat licenses are sold with 50% publishing and writers share. This is usually not negotiable since the music part is the producers’ contribution to your song and is considered half of the song. The lyrics are considered the other half. 

It doesn’t matter if there happen to be multiple songwriters that contributed to the lyrics. In that case, this 50% should be divided between them. 

Example Non-Exclusive beat licenses: 
50% Producer
25% Writer 1 
25% Writer 2

As part of an exclusive rights deal, a different split between all creators could be negotiated. It all depends on the price and flexibility of the producer. 

While I generally stick to my 50%, some producers sometimes agree to the following example split. 

Example Exclusive Licenses:  
30% Producer 
35% Writer 1
35% Writer 2 

What are Publishing Royalties? 

Unlike Songwriter royalties, Publishing can be assigned to outside entities called publishing companies. Most independent artist and producers will most likely not have a publishing deal, which means they’ll have to collect the publishing royalties themselves. 

Surprisingly, a lot of money is left on the table here. If you’re an independent artist or producer that is only signed up with a PRO and not with a Publishing Administrator, half of what you’ve earned is still waiting for you to collect. 

I’m personally using SongTrust services, which I’d recommend to any independent creator.  


In terms of licensing beats online–regardless of an exclusive or non-exclusive license–the percentage of publishing rights is generally the equivalent of the writers share. 

50% of writers share equals 50% publishing share. 

This is a tricky topic and it goes way further than I can explain here. If you really want to know the ins and outs concerning copyright, I suggest you dive deeper into Copyright Law using our good friend Google or consulting an actual attorney.  

Again, going forward, I’ll explain about copyright solely in regards to licensing beats online. We’re going to dismantle a song to its creators and copyright holders, hopefully making it clear to you who owns what. 

Let’s say you’re an artist and you went to search for beats on YouTube. You found one that you like and you head over to the producer's website. You buy a license for that beat, write lyrics, create a song and distribute it through CDBaby, TuneCore or DistroKid.

That song contains two copyrighted elements: 

  1. The Music
  2. The Lyrics 

The producer owns the copyright to the music and you own the copyright to the lyrics. 

Regardless of whether you’ve bought an Exclusive License or Non-Exclusive license. The producer will always own the copyright to the music and the artist will always own the copyright to the lyrics (unless it’s written by someone else other than the artist). 

This is what we call Performing Arts Copyright (PA-Copyright).  

On a side note: Many believe that you have to register the music or the lyrics with the U.S. Copyright office yet, in fact, the instant you write something on paper, make a beat in your DAW or save a demo song to your hard drive, it’s copyrighted! 

Sure, there are benefits to properly registering with the U.S. Copyright office but, failure to do so doesn’t mean you will lose ownership over your creation. 

Back to that song you made. Together with the producer, you’ve created a new song. In legal terms, this is often referred to as the “Master” or “Sound Recording”. 

Now, this is where things can cause confusion because the difference between an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive license plays a huge role here. 

As an artist, buying beats from a producer: 

In an exclusive license, the Master rights will be transferred to the client (artist) and it will become their sole property, free from any claims from the Producer. 

The only exception here is the producer’s right to jointly claim the copyright of the so-called ‘underlying musical composition’. This is what we referred to earlier as the PA-Copyright. The producer is and always will be the original creator of the music. 

With a non-exclusive license, the client does not own the master or sound recording rights in the song. They’ve been licensed the right to use the beat and to commercially exploit the song based on the terms and conditions of the non-exclusive agreement. Yet again, they do own the PA Copyright of the lyrics. 

Instead, what they’ve created is called a Derivative Work.   

What’s a Derivative Work?  

In regards to beat licensing, a derivative work is a combination of an original copyrighted work (the beat) in combination with someone else's original work (the lyrics). 

Derivative works are very common in the music industry and you probably come across them on a daily basis. 

Examples are: 

Basically, these are all so-called ‘new versions’, created using preexisting copyrighted material. 

In terms of beat licensing, a non-exclusive agreement authorises an artist to create such a ‘new version’, using the producers copyrighted material.

The only person that is able to authorize a derivative work is the owner of the underlying composition itself. In this case, the producer. 

When someone licenses a beat on a non-exclusive basis, they’re specifically given the right to create a Derivative Work. 

Beats that contain third party samples

Pretty straight forward up till now, right? Well, I need you to pay close attention now because this is where things often go wrong... 

A common misconception when producers are selling beats with samples is thinking they can turn the responsibility of ‘clearing the sample’ over to the artists that license the beat. 

I guess somewhere, sometime, someone made a statement about this which is... Entirely FALSE! 

This is make-believe and it couldn’t be more wrong! 🤦🏻‍♂️

Please view the image below for context…

In the image above, there are two different versions that derived from the original sample. (Version AB and Version ABC) 

Since both these versions are considered a New Work and both contain that original sample–Clearance for Version AB does not account for Version ABC. 

Both the Producer and the Artist are required to clear the first sample! Because in this scenario, there are 3 different copyright owners to a song.

Obviously, everything falls and stands with clearing the original sample. 

This is going to get hard as soon as multiple artists license the same beat and create their songs with it. After a while, there could be a whole lot of Versions ABC deriving from it.  

Exactly why I personally stay away from using samples… 😊

Exclusive or Non-Exclusive, what is best for you? 

By now, we’ve covered all the differences between non-exclusive and exclusive licenses. But, if you’re an artist, you might still wonder which option is the best for you. 

Besides the difference in price–in every way–an exclusive license is the better option. No doubt! 💯 

However, this is not a necessity for everyone. In fact, most artists are better off with a non-exclusive license.

Let’s have an honest view of your current situation… 

Ask yourself; What would be the best option for the artist you are TODAY? 

You see, most artists are simply not ready to buy exclusive rights yet. And there’s no shame in that at all. 

if you’re a young artist working on a mixtape or first album to get your name out there. Why would you spend that much money on exclusive rights if you’re not even sure if the record is going to get big?

The wise(r) investment would be to get one of the higher tier non-exclusive licenses. Preferably, the Unlimited Licenses. 

This allows you to spend less, buy more licenses, release more music and gradually build your fanbase until you’re ready to take that next step. 

A summary of the differences between Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Licenses 

In the image below you’ll find a summary and comparison between Non-Exclusive and Exclusive Beat Licensing. Please note that the Non-Exclusive ‘Sales’ and ‘Streams’ limit does not apply to the “Unlimited” licenses. 

Before we go into Part 4…. 

I know the world of buying and selling beats online can be confusing at times as I’ve noticed this firsthand from working with artists and producers daily. 

Heck, I’ve read dozens of books myself to understand things fully! 😅 

Still, I appreciate you for making it this far in the guide and I sincerely hope you’ve learned a thing or two… Feel free to refer back to this whenever you find yourself struggling with anything related to the topic. 

I want to give a special thanks to the producers in our Facebook Group “The Art of Selling Beats” as well as the students of our Constant Conversion Strategy Masterclass.

They’ve helped shape this guide to what it is now by providing feedback and letting us know where they’re struggling with the most. 

If you have a second, drop a comment below and share your thoughts. Good or bad, it’s all appreciated! 🙏🏽

Part 4: FAQ About Beat Licensing

We continue to update this guide to provide the answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning beat licensing. 

I want to license a beat that is already sold by the producer. Can I reach out to the exclusive purchaser so they can sell me a license?

No, that’s not an option. A common mistake made by artists that are (desperately) trying to license an already sold beat is, thinking they can locate the buyer and buy it from them. 

Every exclusive contract states that the beat cannot be resold or licensed to a third party in its original form and if it’s not overlayed with lyrics. If they would, that would be a breach of the exclusive agreement. 

Someone wants to buy a beat I already sold and asks if I can create a similar one. Can I?

In this case, we’ll have to define the word ‘similar’. If that means re-using parts of the sold beat or replicating melodies you used in that beat, then NO. You’re basically ‘sampling’ a beat that you’ve already sold. In a way, you’re creating a derivative work which you’re no longer allowed to do. 

But if that means using a similar song structure. Or similar instruments, yet different chords and melodies, then YES. It’s possible to do that. 

I recently bought a non-exclusive license for a beat. Now someone else bought it exclusively. What happens to my song?

Nothing! 🙂 Your license will be in effect for the length of the agreement or until you’ve reached the maximum number of streams and/or plays. (Check your license agreement)

Your non-exclusive license agreement should include an “Effective Date” (the day you bought the license) and an “Expiration Date” (This could also be a period of time after which your license will expire. E.g. 5 years). 

Within the Exclusive contract with the buyer, a so-called “notice of outstanding clients” will protect you from the exclusive buyer to strike you. 

My non-exclusive license is reaching its streaming limit but I can’t buy a new license because the beat is already sold exclusively. Do I have to take the song down now?

If your non-exclusive license is reaching its streaming limits and extending the license is not an option, then yes––legally, you will have to take the song down. How unfortunate that might be. 

This is the exact reason why the Unlimited Licenses are such a great option, considering they have no streaming cap. All though it’s more expensive, it does avoid (awkward) situations like these. 

Someone released a song with one of my beats but didn’t get a license? What’s the best course of action?

Unfortunately, this happens a lot if you’re a producer promoting beats online. Luckily, there are different ways to go about this. The first step is to reach out to the artist(s) and notify them about the unauthorized use of the beat. 

Then, offer them 2 options. 

  1. Either buy a license so they can keep the song online 
  2. Or remove the song entirely from all platforms it’s published on 

The best-case scenario, they adhere to your request. But what if they don’t? 

In that case, you have two options. 

  1. Leave it be 
  2. File for a DMCA takedown (click the link for more info) 

If the song isn’t really gaining numbers and is of very poor quality (which is usually the case when beats are used unauthorized), it might be best to leave it be. It’s not worth your time and money. 

The alternative, filing for a DMCA takedown will cost you some money. I would only consider this if the song is gaining serious numbers (1000s of views or stream on any platform). 

I created a beat with another producer. How do we split the publishing and songwriters share?

Collaboration splits are very common these days, yet there’s no quick answer to this question. It all depends on what terms you’re collaborating on.

If you’re collaborating with a producer and you upload that beat to your beat store, the most common split would be 50/50. That goes for sales, publishing and songwriter share. 

When the beat is sold or licensed to an artist, they’re usually granted 50% of the publishing and writers share to the song they make. Exact numbers might be different as it depends on the contract terms the producer offers.

But in this case, the split would be as follows.
Producer 1: 25%
Producer 2: 25%
Artist: 50% 

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Case Study: Soon-to-be Rocket Scientist makes over $2k/mo selling beats

In January 2019, we launched our first producer masterclass called The Constant Conversion Strategy (CCS). An online course that teaches producers how to grow their own wildly profitable beat selling business

One of the first students that signed up was SeriouzBeats. A 19-year old Aerospace Engineering student from The Netherlands, whose real name is Daniel.

He is currently making well over $2,000/mo from selling beats online.

After several conversations with him, I noticed some unique strategies he used to build his business. I also learned why he decided to sign up for CCS and how it perfectly aligned with the things he was struggling with at the time.

His story was so interesting and unique that I decided to invite him over to the Urban Masterclass office for an interview and write a case study about his career so far.

In this case study, you will learn:

As with most young producers, Daniel struggled with managing his time.

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He had to efficiently divide his time between running a beat selling business and studying one of the most complex and advanced degrees in the world.

He is literally studying Rocket Science! 😂🚀

He had no other choice than to spend his free hours in the most efficient way possible. This ultimately led to the strategy that took him from 0 to $2,000/mo within a short time.

But before we go into that, let’s start at the beginning.

When did you make the decision to start selling beats online? And how long did it take before you made your first sale?

Daniel: I used to go to piano lessons where a teacher once introduced me to Fruity Loops. I was 9-years old at the time so I didn’t do much with it.

In 2014, I was goofing around with some friends, freestyling/rapping to some beats on YouTube. At that moment, I remembered my old teacher showing me Fruity Loops and I figured: If there is actually a tool to produce your own music, why not start creating my own beats?

It wasn’t until a year later that a friend of mine told me that you could actually sell beats online. This made me realise that the beats I make probably have value to someone.

I changed my mindset and started being more ‘serious’ about my work.

This is actually where my brand name SeriouzBeats originated from.

I was determined to make this a dream come true and I finally sold my first beat in September 2017, roughly 2 years later. I was so happy!

It took Daniel two years to make his first sale. That’s quite a long time. So, I asked him what he spent most of his time on during these two years and what his biggest challenges were.

What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?

Daniel: When I started taking a more serious approach to music production, I had all these ideas in my mind that I wasn’t able to translate to an actual beat in Fruity Loops. I spent most of my time watching YouTube tutorials and refining my craft.

Then, after my first sale, I struggled to get recurring sales. I knew I had good beats so it was frustrating, to say the least! That’s when I started to focus on the marketing aspect of selling beats online. I studied other entrepreneurs and applied their strategies. I tried YouTube ads, Instagram ads, bots for my social channel. All I can say is that it cost a lot of money and it didn’t really help me to get more recurring sales.

But one of my biggest obstacles was (and still is) distributing my time evenly between growing my beat selling business and studying Aerospace Engineering. I started my degree at around the same time that I sold my first beat and this forced me to reduce the amount of time I normally spent on selling beats.

I went on investigating new tactics and strategies, hoping to find a way that was less time-consuming but still efficient enough to grow my business.

After experimenting with different marketing strategies, Daniel learned that it just wasn’t paying off. In fact, it cost him a lot of money.

During our meeting, we realised that he was in way over his head. He was trying to sell beats using strategies that weren’t really fit for selling beats online. There were easier ways to achieve the goals he was after.

If only someone told him years earlier… 😅

In his search for an effective, less time-consuming method he decided to use a less common strategy. All the while unaware that his next move would eventually get his business to take off! 🚀

What strategy did you end up using?

Daniel: I decided to reach out to bigger and more established producers, offering to pay them for collaborations. My goal was to collaborate with these producers and use their platforms to get my name out to a wider audience.

I was pretty confident that some of these producers were willing to work with me. I noticed all the hours I spent on improving my production skills were increasing the quality of my beats.

I started selecting producers to work with depending on the type of beat I was working on. The first producer I reached out to was Mubz Got Beats. He’s one of the producers I have been admiring since I started.

Our first collaboration was released in January 2018 and just a couple of months later, we sold it exclusively to a UK artist called Ambush. He made a song called “Jumpy”. Eventually, this song became a UK summer hit.

I was also seeing an increase in sales on my own website, thanks to the exposure Mubz gave me.

From that point on, I knew that this strategy was paying off for me and it perfectly aligned with my busy schedule. I didn’t have to spend hours marketing the beats myself.

As soon as Daniel noticed the value and potential of collaborating with bigger producers, he started to double down on that strategy.

In the months after, he collaborated more often with other developing/ up-and-coming producers, as well as more established ones like DreamLifeBeats, Speaker Bangerz and Rujay.

These collabs were based on a 50/50 sales split so he obviously had to share the profits with the other producers. Still, this was exactly the type of strategy that perfectly aligned with his daily activities as a soon-to-be a Rocket Scientist! 👨🏽‍🚀

His collaboration with Speaker Bangerz reached over half a million views.

Another collaboration with Rujay even passed 20,000,000 views! The beat also charted on the top charts of BeatStars several times.

It’s safe to say collaborations became an essential strategy for Daniel. But there was something that he kept struggling with. One of the early obstacles that he was yet to overcome was learning how to market his music himself.

While at one point he was averaging $1,500/mo from selling beats. At least 70% of that came from collab splits. And because of that, monthly sales went up and down. He realised that it was a risky play to have a business model that depended on other producer’s businesses.

He started to realise that, in order to grow towards a more sustainable income, he had to hold all the cards himself.

He described this as one of the main reasons why he decided to sign up for our Constant Conversion Strategy masterclass.

Why did you decide to sign up for the CCS masterclass and what were you struggling with the most at the time?

Daniel: Even though I was selling beats every other day (mostly through collabs), I was still struggling to make recurring sales of my own. To be honest, I still hadn’t figured out a way to market beats myself. It was only after I signed up for Robin’s masterclass that I started to see the REAL potential of selling beats online.

Collabing is really important (and fun too) but I’m not afraid to admit that it is not a sustainable strategy in the long run.

Months before the masterclass was released, I had already read the Definitive Guide to Selling Beats that Robin Wesley wrote and shared for free. I was really impressed by the information and gems that he shared.

When the masterclass was first introduced, I still remembered parts of what I read in the free guide. Specifically, how Robin stresses the importance of building relationships to get more recurring sales.

As the name said; “The Constant Conversion Strategy” – this happened to be the exact thing that I was struggling with. That’s how I knew I needed the masterclass to teach me how to do this effectively.

What kind of impact did CCS have on your business? And what are the most valuable things you’ve learned from it?

Daniel: Probably the most valuable thing that CCS teaches is that the beat “sale” is not the final step of a relationship between a producer and an artist. It is the very beginning!

I credit Robin for making the whole ‘customer journey’ easy to understand and even backing it up with some of his own data. The way Robin runs his business is what made the most impact as it showed how much potential there is to grow my own business further.

Shortly after I signed up, I quickly tested out one of his up-sell strategies and after just a few days I managed to get someone to spend three times the amount of money! 🙂

Another thing that I found very valuable is that I learned the importance of financial management and accounting. CCS teaches you how to keep track of sales reports for tax/VAT reports, sales analytics and general accounting purposes. The ready-to-use templates and instruction videos were very helpful.

If you could go back in time, what’s the #1 thing you would change about your business?

Daniel: I would have started collaborating with producers earlier. Besides making awesome beats together, they have a lot of experience and knowledge about producing and the business itself. Even though it’s not sustainable to rely solely on the business of other producers it gave my business the boost that it needed.

What are you most excited about for your business in 2019?

Daniel: I’m excited to have my own working automated marketing funnel dedicated to helping out artists who have invested in my beats. I’m currently applying the CCS masterclass strategies to build this further. I don’t want a sale to be the end, but the beginning of a strong relationship.

Besides that, I’m also using other tactics that I’ve learned from Robin to attract new customers. Can’t wait to see how that turns out!

I’m definitely aiming to have another successful beat like “Next Level” (Rujay Collab) and to create another collab with Mubz Got Beats for Ambush.

Want to sell more beats online, just like Daniel 👋?
Checkout our premium masterclass The Constant Conversion Strategy →

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The Ultimate Guide to Selling Beats with Email Marketing

Email marketing is probably the most underrated and underused marketing strategy to sell beats. 

If you ask the average producer advice about marketing strategies to sell beats. The most common responses you’d get are…

But when you start following their advice, you’ll soon notice that it’s not that easy to get your beats on the top search results of YouTube. It’s not that easy to turn likes and comments on SoundCloud into sales.

And Twitter... Really? Is that still working?

Even when you get plays on your beat store. How are you going to turn those ‘listeners’ into customers?

As a result, you’re not selling beats. You’re trying your hardest but you can’t seem to crack the code on how to sell beats online.

Or, perhaps you’re stuck on a certain number and there’s no growth in your business.

Luckily, there’s another way to sell beats and it’s called Email Marketing.

You might be thinking: “Oh yeah, that’s nice! I can update my email subscribers with my latest beats. Dropping new heat in their inbox every week, right? 🔥”

Frankly, this is what most producers consider email marketing (not even talking about a minority of producers trying to buy rapper email lists 😅)

While this isn’t wrong, they’re missing out on a much bigger opportunity. Email marketing is more than sending artists your latest beats and dropping discount codes for every generic reason you can think of.

Forget the ‘Summer Sales’, ‘Easter Sales’, ‘4th of July Sales’, ‘Christmas Sales’ and ‘Your Grandmother’s 85th Birthday Sale’.

We’re going to take email marketing to the next level! Beyond your seasonal discounts and self-promotion.

Here’s what we will cover in the next sections:

Overview

Part 1: Why email marketing is (still) relevant for selling beats

I’ve been using email marketing since 2014. Over the years, I’ve read a dozen books about copywriting, structured communication and persuasion marketing. It’s definitely a fun game to play! 🏆

What’s most interesting is that I’ve been using email marketing to generate at least 30% more sales every year.

In 2017, more than 30% of my sales originated from returning customers. Together they cover for thousands of extra dollars of yearly revenue.

Sales 2017 from my Google Data Studio

The possibilities blew me away once I really got into it.

The thing is, these artists you’re trying to sell beats to are writers. Writers are creative people and creative people are more emotional. Which makes them the perfect audience for your persuasion marketing campaigns.

I’d like to add that persuasion marketing has nothing do with ‘taking advantage’ of people. With persuasion marketing, we apply what we already know about human psychology. We only use that knowledge for creating techniques to sell beats. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating a ‘win-win’ situation.

Why every producer should use email marketing

It’s no secret that the beat selling industry is an oversaturated market. With all the competition, it has never been more important to make your mark in this industry.

The quality of your music is just as important as your qualities as a businessman and marketer.

In our niche, we have to share our target audience with thousands of other producers. So you better make sure you stand out from the pack.

The famous quote: “Where words fail, music speaks” won’t get you really far here.

The personal touch you can add to a simple email can make the difference between pushing artists away or pulling artists closer to you.

Whenever an artist is in need of beats, YOU should be the first person that crosses their mind. If you’re not putting in your best effort to become that person, you will have a hard time standing out from your competition.

Some of my best customers spent more than $1,000 on my beats. And I’m not talking about exclusive rights. I’m talking about customers that have placed $30-140 orders over and over again.

I have never met these people in person. Most of them, I have never had an actual conversation with. We never spoke on the phone or on Facebook or Instagram direct messenger. We only communicated via email.

However, after a few weeks, I knew more about these people than I knew about any new follower on my Instagram account.

The key to every successful business is knowing and understanding your target audience.

What’s on their mind? What are their goals? What are they struggling with?

To finally be able to answer the most important question: How can you help them?

“If I was down on my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations”

- Bill Gates

Email marketing vs. Social media

I’ve talked to several online producers in our Facebook Group “The Art Of Selling Beats”. Some of them were struggling to get any sales at all. And some of them were tired of not seeing their business grow.

When I asked them about email marketing, I noticed I was getting similar responses.

This tells me that the beat-selling industry lacks knowledge and experience when it comes to email marketing.

Before we dive deep into the rabbit hole, I want to get the following out of the way first.

Social media and email marketing are two completely different marketing strategies. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Probably the biggest difference is that you’re in charge of your email list. Once you’ve built an email list, no one is going to take that from you.

What if your Instagram account gets shut down or hacked? What if Facebook changes their policy and it gets harder to get your beats on people's timeline?

With email, you decide when you want to show up in someone’s inbox.

Both Facebook and Instagram use algorithms that determine whether your posts are shown to a user or not. In other words, if Instagram doesn’t think your post is relevant for a user, it will not reach their timeline.

Email is also more personal compared to Social Media. At least, if you do it right.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be using Instagram, Facebook or YouTube anymore. On the contrary, you need these platforms.

These are great for directing traffic to your beat selling website. And on your website is where you’ll try to get artists to sign up for your email list.

Part 2: The basics of email marketing

First, let’s go over the basics of email marketing. Just so you know what I’m actually talking about in the next sections of this article.

When I talk about email marketing, I’m talking about building relationships with (potential) customers using personalized emails. The ultimate goal is to either convert a new subscriber into a customer or increase the lifetime value of a customer.

Obviously, I don’t manually email every single subscriber myself. That’s what we have Email Service Providers (ESP) for. Such as MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign or MailerLite.

There are two ways of sending emails.

  1. One-Off Campaigns (manual)
  2. Automations (automatic)

One-Off Campaigns

One-off campaigns are also called email blasts. It basically means sending a single email to a segment or all of your subscribers. For example, sending an update about a new beat you released yesterday.

Automation

A sequence of emails that are pre-written and scheduled to send every 2 days, every week or whatever time-schedule is relevant for the type of automation.

For example, introducing a 3-day discount (e.g. Buy 1 Get 1 Free ) through email and following up on that offer every single day at 4 PM.

Lead

Every new person that signs up for your email lists is called a Lead. Someone that has the potential to become a customer one day.

Open-rate

The percentage of people that open your email.

Nurturing

The process of preparing someone to receive your sales offer is called nurturing. A common phrase used in internet marketing which is also known as ‘Drip Marketing’.

This is NOT how you do email marketing

I’ve seen a lot of producers trying to do email marketing but most of them fail. In case you’re wondering. Yes, I sign up for producer’s email lists to spy on them! 🕵

This is not the way you do email marketing:

Especially when sales are going slow, it can be tempting to buy a list of email addresses from other producers. It’s sad that producers even offer to sell this information. Besides the fact that it is illegal.

Nonetheless, it’s worth jack sh*t! 👎

You’re getting off on the wrong foot when you send a random email to someone that has no idea who you are. Email marketing is about building relationships.

Besides the fact that this person is probably going to unsubscribe from your list. You don’t want to get a bad sending reputation for sending spam emails. And this is what a lot of producers don’t know.

Everytime someone reports your email as spam, your sending reputation gets worse. As a result, future emails, even to people that actually subscribed to your list, will end up in their spam box.

This affects your open-rates, thus your sales.

How to get artists on your email list

There are many ways to get artists to sign up for your mailing list. But let’s be real, no one signs up for a “monthly newsletter” anymore.

To get them to sign up for your list, you need to offer them a bribe! (Other terms you may hear are: Lead magnet, content upgrade, bonus content, freebie etc.)

On my homepage, I give away 30 free beats. Ridiculous, right? Almost too good to be true.

Well, that’s exactly what you want. Make an irresistible offer almost too good to be true. One that they can’t refuse.

Lead Magnet on RobinWesleyInstrumentals.com homepage

These 30 free beats are all tagged and in MP3 format. But surprisingly, I don’t get many complaints.

A lot of artists don’t care about the tags or quality. Those who do will end up buying a license anyway. On top of that, I provide a lot of value once you are on my list and inside my email automations

There are various ways you could get people to sign up for your email list. A few examples are free beats licenses, discount codes or educational content.

To increase the chances of artists signing up, you can run Facebook ads to promote your lead magnet to a wider audience. But that’s an article for another time. 😉

Facebook Ad Retargeting for those who didn't opt-in for the Lead Magnet

Part 3: Maintaining and managing a clean email list

Once you have artists sign up for your email list, the fun starts! You can start nurturing your leads and convert them into paying customers.

Hold up, champ! ✋There are a few crucial steps that go before this.

Maintaining and managing a clean email list is crucial for email marketing. It’s about having a high-quality list. Rather than having a high-quantity list.

I’m sure you’ve seen producers brag about having an email list of 40,000 artists. These 40,000 artists mean nothing if they aren’t engaged.

Engagement is one of the key metrics in email marketing. Artists that sign up for your list should have a genuine interest in your beats. And in receiving your emails.

If they just came for the bribe and have absolutely no intention to buy your beats in the future. You might as well get rid of them right away.

These people are contaminating your list!

The Double Opt-In with a twist

I use several verification steps to make sure that I maintain a quality email list.

When someone signs up for my email list, they have to verify that they actually signed up for it. This is called a double opt-in.

It prevents spam email addresses and robots from getting on your list. You can let people click a link in the verification email to verify their email address. That’s one way to do it.

But I use a different approach.

Email with mini artist survey

When someone wants to get 30 free beats, they have to go through a mini-survey.

In that survey, they have to answer a few questions. I collect this data in a Google Sheet which I visualize later using Google Data Studio.

Survey data in Google Data Studio

This is my way of getting to know the artist that signs up for my mailing list. You can see in the image that I’ve collected enough data to get a clear view on what type of artists I’m dealing with.

A different approach to unsubscribing

Another method I use to maintain a quality list is by offering people to unsubscribe. Every email that’s sent from an ESP has a standard unsubscribe button below the email signature. It’s mandatory.

Still, many producers are trying to hide that button or they try to take it out entirely.

Well, I take a different approach here as well...

In my first email (after the double opt-in/survey email), I give them the immediate option to opt-out of my mailing list. Twice!

Offer a way to unsubscribe immediately

If they’re only after the download, I rather see them leave and keep a clean list. No hard feelings.

When someone unsubscribes, don’t consider that a bad thing. I used to be almost personally offended when someone unsubscribed from my list. But over time, I learned that these people would’ve never made a purchase anyway.

These days, I’m glad to see someone unsub from my mailing list. That means I don’t have to get rid of them myself if they’ve been on my list for years without making a single purchase.

Bounced email addresses

Once you start sending out emails, you may notice that some emails bounce. This can have various reasons. The email can’t be delivered, the recipient doesn’t exist, or the mailbox of the recipient is full.

It’s important that you monitor bounced emails closely and delete the email addresses that keep bouncing. They have a negative impact on the deliverability and success of your email campaigns. In the long term, this can cause serious problems for how well your emails are performing.

Part 4: Copywriting - How to write emails that convert into sales

Writing emails is a skill in itself. And if you’re starting with a blank slate, you probably have no idea how to get started.

Well, here’s what you shouldn’t worry about:

Presentation matters, but in terms of copywriting, I consider these minor details. When producers write emails, they often overcomplicate the process. And it results in the opposite effect.

No opens, no replies, no engagement and no sales.

There’s no complicated formula to writing emails that convert. Being your plain simple self usually gets you a long way.

To get you started, here are some of the techniques that I use when I’m writing emails.

Tips and techniques for writing emails

1. Be an actual human being

The most important factor for writing emails is to remain an actual human being. Try to write emails the same way you would write to a friend. This includes avoiding unnecessary bold text, capital letters and highlighted or colored text.

There’s a trick that I use to help me with this. It’s called “The Bar Scene”.

For every sentence that I write in an email, I read it out loud and check if that’s the way I would talk to someone in a bar.

Let’s say you’re sending out a one-off campaign to update someone about a new beat release.

In a bar, you wouldn’t come up to me and say...

“2 BEATS UPLOADED YESTERDAY - BUY NOW!”

I’d be like, dude WTF? 🤷‍♂️

Instead, you’d say something like:

“Hey Robin, I’ve been in the studio all week and just uploaded 2 new beats yesterday. Do you wanna check it out?”

That could actually make me curious and interested in checking it out.

2. Make it personal

With every email you write, you want it to be as personal as possible. That’s why I create segments of subscribers. This makes it easier for me to write personalized emails.

I segment the status of a subscriber.

I also segment the type of artist.

Sending emails based on segments works great for engagement.

This email follows up with everyone that told me in the survey that they’re not an R&B Artist or Hip Hop / Rap Artist.

Follow up email to non-artists

There were many times when an artist actually thought I was sending them a personal email. That is exactly what you should be trying to achieve with every email!

Artists will be more likely to open, read and reply to your emails.

In order to make your emails personal, you need more than an email address. That’s why I ask my subscribers what type of music they create. Their answer puts them in the right segment.

While this is preferable, it’s not critical. But the more information you can collect, the better.

What I do recommend is collecting the first name. I use a lot of ‘first names’ in my emails. I use them in subject lines, in the greeting text and sometimes in email copy.

Most ESP’s provide a way to use ‘custom fields’ to personalize an email with first name, last name etc.

When someone reads his own name, they’re more likely to open and read the email.

It goes without saying that you should never abuse the data you get from an artist. For example, using their first name 6 times in one email is overkill and it will lose its power.

3. Write stories that add a face to the name

How many emails do you receive in your inbox every day? And how many of them do you instantly delete?

Our inboxes are flooded with meaningless junk. And so are the inboxes of your subscribers. So, how do you get someone’s attention?

Definitely not by sending weekly newsletters with new beats.

What you should do instead is tell stories!

People always like a good story. But more importantly, they like to learn more about you and what you are up to.

Here’s an example of telling a short story before introducing my new beats.

Email with story-telling

Also, notice my signature in the screenshot above. I add a face to the name with every email I write.

For some reason, a lot of producers hide behind their logos. To be honest, I used to do that too.

But when you add a face to the name, you become a real person. Not just a business that is trying to sell beats.

Mix that with a few personal stories and these artists will start feeling a connection with you.

4. Use paragraphs

I use a lot of paragraphs when I write emails and articles. If you scroll through this article you’re reading right now. You see that I never write 4 or 5 sentences in one paragraph.

This helps to make it easier to read.

No one likes to read an email that’s written as if it’s a page in a book. They usually scan the content in your email.

Without paragraphs, people will have a more difficult time trying to scan. As a result, they get bored from reading it and they won’t get the message that’s in your story.

5. Use casual and personalized subject lines

If you’re sending an email to an artist, you’re one of the 20 other companies that sent them an email that day. So, right from the jump, you need to catch their attention. Your email should stand out in their overcrowded inbox.

You could have written the most amazing story. Perhaps, you’re offering a once-in-a-lifetime deal or whatever offer they simply can’t refuse.

If the subject line doesn’t catch their attention, you get ‘swiped-left’ even before they read what you have to say.

To put this in perspective, most people won’t open your email if your subject line says:

“50% OFF ON ALL NEW BEATS!”

It looks just like any other sales email from Target, Macy’s or Amazon.com.

Instead, you could use something like:

“I have something you might be interested in, [Name}!”

Here are examples of subject lines that worked really well for one-off campaigns to update artists about new beat releases.

Notice that these are all casual subject lines. Adding someone’s name to the subject line also helps in personalizing it.

It works much better than using all CAPITAL LETTERS, CamelCase Writing or salesy content in your subject lines.

I should note that you shouldn’t abuse subject lines for the sake of getting them to open the email. It should still somewhat be genuine and in line with the content in the email for the best results.

Part 5: Using Automations to build relationships

At this point, I’ve shown you (what I consider) the basics of email marketing. Applying these tips will certainly improve your open-rates, click-rates and engagement with artists.

But the best thing about email marketing is yet to come.

Automations!

An automation, also known as a ‘sequence’ or an ‘email funnel,’ is used to send a series of emails on a scheduled time or date.

Examples are:

As I mentioned before, only sending out updates and sales emails is not how you do email marketing.

You can send hundreds of one-off campaigns but if there’s no connection between you and these artists. You’ll struggle to try to convert them into customers. The open-rates and click-rates on your emails will decrease over time. Eventually, more and more people will unsubscribe from your list.

That’s a shame because they’ve already shown interest in your beats by signing up for your list.

So, how do you build a relationship with these artists? What’s the right angle to approach them?

In the next section, I want to dismantle my very own Artist Relation Sequence. Not only showing you how I created it but more importantly, why I created it.

Deconstructing my Artist Relation Sequence

Artist Relationship Sequence in ActiveCampaign

This is an example of one of my automations. During the course of 2 weeks, a lead receives 5 or 6 emails from me. Their journey through this funnel can take a different route depending on their actions or the data that they’ve given me.

For example, if someone tells me that he’s not an artist, he will get an extra email. I simply ask what business he’s in. I showed you this in one of the previous images.

People that told me they’re Hip Hop or R&B artists will take the standard route.

Also, if someone makes a purchase during these 2 weeks. They will automatically get pushed to the left side. (Goal: Purchased a beat)

In that case, there’s no need to send them the remainder of the emails.

The status of this subscriber changes from ‘Lead’ to ‘Customer’. This status-update will automatically put them in a different segment which triggers a new automation. In my case, that's an After-Sales Funnel.

The goal of my Artist Relation Sequence is to:

It’s important to make these emails about them. Not about yourself and absolutely do not send an aggressive sales pitch.

The best way to connect with artists is to shift the focus on THEM!

The power of persuasion marketing

I used to work as a Logistics Manager for a multi-million dollar construction company. And every Friday, we had sales meetings with our biggest clients.

My job had nothing to do with sales. I merely attended these meetings to make sure our Head of Sales and CEO wouldn’t make any promises that were (logistically speaking) not realistic.

I absolutely hated these meetings! 😪

For starters, it was always on a Friday afternoon which was the busiest time at the warehouse.

Then there was the fact that half of the meeting was about reevaluating previous projects we did with the client.

And I always came in 15 minutes late. Intentionally, to avoid the 15-minute small-talk that every meeting started with.

Until one day I asked my CEO why these meetings had to necessarily take place on a Friday afternoon. And why it had to take 2 hours to close a deal that, to my perspective, could’ve been closed in 30 minutes.

My mind was blown when he explained it to me.

It was all part of the sales strategy!

The reason why it was on a Friday afternoon, was because everybody is in a good mood when they’re near the weekend. TGIF, right? 🍻It made it easier for him to close the deal.

They took hours evaluating previous projects as part of his after-sales strategy. He wanted to show the client that (even after they had paid) he was still interested in the progress, outcome and success of these projects.

And the small-talk was all part of building a relationship with the client.

He’d ask questions like.

The first part was all about building a more personal relationship with the client.

He also asked stuff like:

He used these questions to let the client know that he understands their struggles. Then later in the meeting, he would help them with their problems as part of closing the deal.

He would close a deal like this:

“Well, you know what? Let’s take 10% off and close the deal so we can all go home and enjoy our weekends. I know the cutting budgets impact your business, so this is my way of helping you out. I wouldn’t want to see our best client go bankrupt as well!” *sarcastic*

Ca-Ching! 💰💰💰

My mind was blown!

How I used this strategy to sell beats

I learned later that this is a common strategy used in sales. So I decided to use the same approach to sell beats to artists.

In a lot of my emails, I ask personal questions like:

Whenever I’m running a sale, I’m starting and/or ending it on a Friday.

When someone makes a purchase from my beat store. I always follow up on their order to show that I’m genuinely interested in hearing the end-result.

I also send emails with valuable information about topics that they’re interested in. Here’s an example of an email with absolutely no CTA (call-to-action). Just trying to spark the conversation and give value.

Simple educational email

I send this next email to show them that I understand their struggles. Meanwhile, I collect the data from their replies. The answers can be very insightful sometimes.

Question email in Artist Relationship Sequence

These are just a few examples. Besides this, I also send emails with valuable information to help them become a better recording artist.

I introduce them to Urban Masterclass.

And sometimes I simply ask them to send over their music. I’ll take the day out to give feedback on songs and help them improve their skills.

None of the emails in my Artist Relation Sequence are focused on getting sales.

I shift the focus to them.

By the end of the two weeks. I want them to feel like we are ‘in sync’ and I want them to be able to trust me.

Nurturing Leads & Customers

After a good two weeks of sending emails, the artist should get a pretty good idea about what to expect from you. This process is what we call nurturing.

Once you’re done nurturing a lead, you get to a point when they’re ready to receive your (first) offer. This is the moment where they have the highest potential to become a customer.

If you’re lucky, they actually become a customer.

But then the entire process starts over again. Now on a different level.

You can also nurture existing customers. The goal of this is to increase the lifetime value of a single customer.

Instead of buying a single beat for $30, you want them to keep coming back for your beats.

It is proven that the majority of people pay more for better customer experience. Not only do they pay you. They also determine future sales through word-of-mouth and feedback.

Customers provide so much untapped value. Which is exactly why building a relationship with them is critical. It helps you to improve your products and services.

This is how someone replied to one of my emails the other day

Reply from artist

Part 6: How I made over $5,000 by selling an idea

In 2017, we created Zero To Radio Ready. An online masterclass for urban artists, songwriters and producers.

Over the course of several months, I’ve surveyed every artist that wanted to join my email list.

I also emailed my existing customers to find out what it is that they’re struggling with the most. You can see that in the previous image.

I collected the data and used that later to create the masterclass.

Screenshot Google Data studio survey results
Data I gathered from the Survey in the email

The data was so accurate that it generated well over $5,000 USD during the pre-order launch. While I hadn’t even started creating the masterclass! 😀

I just told them the idea and what I was planning to do. I offered a pre-order discount if they signed up within two weeks.

The artists that signed up for it put their trust in me. Trust that I got by building a relationship with them over email. I figured out what they were struggling with and how I could help them with that.

When we launched Zero To Radio Ready, I surveyed the same artists that signed up for it. I wanted to know why they signed up.

I asked them: What convinced you to sign up for my Masterclass?

Here are some of their answers.

These messages came from artists on the other side of the globe. We’re miles apart. I’ve never had a face-to-face conversation with them. But still, I managed to get their trust. By sending plain-old simple emails.

I'm aware that the example above has indirectly nothing to do with selling beats. But if you look closer, the underlying principles are the same. I send personalized emails. I reply to every single email I get and in the process build massive amounts of trust with my audience. You can do the same!

Be just as creative in marketing as you are in making beats

It’s never been more difficult to direct traffic to your beat site. I also know how frustrating it is to see an increasing amount of traffic coming to your site but no sales follow. This is a regular topic in our Facebook Group “The Art of Selling Beats”.

I started diving into email marketing when I experienced that exact problem. YouTube was and still is a b*tch. Too much competition. SoundCloud, Instagram and Facebook are very time-consuming.

If you’re anything like me. You don’t want to think about posting something on social media while you’re in the studio cooking up beats.

The best thing about email marketing is that you can automate your emails. You can build a relationship with your artists on auto-pilot (ActiveCampaign makes this really easy). You can run a sale on auto-pilot. All while you can focus on making beats.

If there’s one thing that I learned over the years that I’ve been selling beats. It’s that you need to be just as creative in your marketing as you are in making beats.

I sincerely hope that this Producer’s Guide To Email Marketing contains new information that helps you generate more sales.

Make sure to leave a comment below and join our Facebook Group.

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A Smarter Approach To Selling Beats Online

A step-by-step framework that shows you how to grow a wildly profitable online beat selling business.

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The Definitive Guide to Selling Beats Online

Escape the 9-5. Do what you love. Spend your days in the studio creating music. Take the day off and make your own hours. Get paid when you’re chilling with your friends and family. And get paid, even when you’re asleep.

That’s not a dream. That’s the reality. I know, because I’m living that lifestyle.

And so are hundreds of other producers.

To get started, you don’t need a team. You don’t need a manager. You don’t even need a lot of money.

You only need two things:

If you plan on selling beats, make sure those beats are worth selling.

Are they? Great!

In that case, you can turn your beat making skills into a profitable business. There are thousands of artists who are willing to pay you for your music.

But selling beats online is not only about making music.

You need a plan to get started. How are you going to get your music heard?

How are you going to close deals and get artists to pay for your beats?

You’ve come to the right place because that’s what I will cover in this article.

Who am I?

Robin Wesley in studio

My name is Robin Wesley. I’m a full-time music producer and co-founder of Urban Masterclass. I’ve been successfully selling beats since 2013. Only 4 years before I decided to write this guide.

I started making beats in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I sold my first beat online.

In 2013, I made less than $500. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing...

In 2014 I made $16,432 and started to get the hang of it...

In 2015, I made $31,231 from selling beats online.

That was more like it! And at that point you could safely assume I was making a living off doing music. But it wasn’t enough for me.

In the years after, I’ve automated and optimized most of my beat selling business. I’ve made 6-figures with less than 50 beats in my beat store and putting in about 20 hours of work every week.

I’ve built an email list with thousands of paying customers. I sold over 15,000 beats to artists worldwide. Landed placements with major artists, labels and television networks (HBO, Netflix, TLC etc.) Heck, I even scored a #1 hit in Vietnam!

And this all started as a hobby. Making music in my tiny little bedroom studio. Simply doing what I love most, day in and day out. Perhaps, just like you right now?

Today, I’m running multiple businesses and still making thousands a month from selling beats. I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m merely showing you what’s possible.

Enough about me, let’s dive into the specifics.

What we’ll cover in this guide

You can click to jump to a section.

A throwback to selling beats and why you should consider doing it.

The truth is, I always thought I was late to the party. I started selling beats in 2013, but I wish I started earlier.

Then again, back in the day, it was a struggle to sell beats online. I remember talking to producers that told me about the hassle. The whole process was clumsy, to say the least.

When someone purchased the tracked out files of a beat, producers had to burn the files to a CD and mail it to the artists. That’s a lot of work even when you only make 2 sales a day. I can’t imagine having to go through that every day.

Even when file-sharing was introduced. There was no easy way to automatically send beats to customers.

I used to wake up every morning and the first thing I’d check is to see who purchased my music. Then I had to manually email that customer all the audio files.

Lucky for us, it has become a lot easier these days.

We now have online beat selling platforms like BeatStars, Airbit and Soundee (the one that I'm using right now)—to name a few. They help beatmakers run an automated beat selling business.

Soundee.com Beatstore Player
Soundee.com Player

You can sign up for free and start selling beats on their platform within 30 minutes.

These beat selling platforms give you a beat store and a personal website where you can sell beats from.

A place where you can direct your customers to and give them an opportunity to buy your beats. You don’t even need your own website anymore (although I recommend getting one).

Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular places to sell beats and to build a loyal fan base.

Is it profitable?

Definitely. In essence, beats are digital products that you can sell over and over again. The profit margins are crazy once you gain traction.

BeatStars recently posted a tweet about the monthly revenue made by their producers.

The fact that producers made over $1,000,000 in one month says enough about the possibilities to snatch a small piece of that pie.

This also proves that artists are willing to pay serious money for beats these days.

I ran the numbers to see how much revenue the beat selling market generates. I concluded that the market must be generating at least $30,000,000 a year.

Even if you manage to get 0.1% of that, you would still be making $30,000 a year.

Plenty of reasons to start selling your beats online, wouldn’t you say?

The dark side of selling beats online

If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen a dozen producers making 6-figures a year from selling beats. That sounds very promising!

Remember I told you that I only made $500 back in 2013?

A year later, I made a whopping $16,432. Yep, this wasn’t bad—but it wasn’t good either. You probably get paid more by working a job at the supermarket.

Needless to say, I was hungry for more.

But selling beats online is all about scaling your business one sale at a time. There is no “get-rich-quick” method.

When you’re building your business, you will stumble upon people who tell you there are such methods.

“Want to get a 1000 YouTube views today? Buy now!” or “Get 500 Instagram followers for only $25!”.

Don’t fall for that sh*t! Accepting offers like these is a short-term play, usually with low return. Even if you decide to buy a “YouTube promo” and get 1,000 views. Those views never come from people who have an interest in buying your beats.

A general rule of thumb is: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You can start an online beat selling business, on your own, just like hundreds of other producers. But, you have to do the work. You have to be willing to get up every day, create new music and be consistent with your online presence.

Still down? Good.

Who this guide is for

This guide won’t take you from zero to $10,000, overnight. Instead, it will show you the first steps to building a business that has the potential to scale towards a 6-figure income.

I won’t be telling you BS stories like: “How to make 5-figures a month, using ‘this secret strategy.’ Because there is non.

Instead, I will pull back the curtains behind my business. I’m sharing the mindset, the tools, the proven strategies and the knowledge that I’ve obtained over the years that I’ve been selling beats online.

Key takeaways at this point:

Part 1: The Inner-Workings of Selling Beats Online

To this day, I haven’t found out who pioneered the business model for selling beats.

If you know the person who was the first, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll be sending that guy/girl some flowers, a postcard and a box of Hennessy! 💯

All jokes aside, the business model for selling beats is easy and straightforward.

Beat Licensing Explained: How does selling beats work?

There are two ways of licensing: Non-Exclusive and Exclusive.

There’s only one exclusive license, but you can offer and sell different non-exclusive licenses. For example, a Basic, Premium and Unlimited license. The Basic license would be the cheapest option. And the Unlimited license the most expensive.

More user rights and better quality audio files equal higher license prices.

You can sell non-exclusive licenses to an unlimited amount of artists. But an exclusive license can only be sold to one person.

When you create a beat and upload it to your beat store, people can (instantly) buy these non-exclusive licenses. You can also choose to sell exclusive licenses from your beat store. But it’s common to negotiate on the price before selling the exclusive rights.

When artists buy a non-exclusive license, they are granted several user-rights that allow them to use your beat for their (personal) music projects.

Once someone purchases an exclusive license, other artists can no longer buy a license for that same beat. Generally, producers then mark the beat as ‘SOLD’. Or remove it entirely from their website after it’s sold ‘exclusively.’

Artists that have licensed the beat before the exclusive rights were sold are still allowed to use the beat for the length of the term in the license.

How much money can you make from selling beats online?

It's pretty much the exact same as any other eCommerce business. With simple math, you can determine how much money you can make.

Timeline from 0 to 100000 revenue a year with selling beats

The best part of all this? This is a proven business model! Hundreds of producers, including myself, are making serious money from this.

Think about it…

How would an extra $12,000/year change your life?

How would an extra $30,000/year change your life?

How would $100,000/year change your life?

That graphic shows you the journey that producers have traveled to build their online beat selling businesses. But, let’s take it one step at a time.

How I went from $500/year to a 6-figure income

Back in 2012, I got one of my friends to build a website for me. Thinking back now, It was terrible.

I had a player on my website that didn’t work half of the time. Nobody really visited my website and I had no idea how to generate traffic.

But I was determined to sell my first beat.

So, I started uploading my beats on YouTube, Soundcloud, SoundClick and any other platform that I could think of.

I started creating promotional videos on YouTube.

Wow, this is so embarrassing... 😅

Robin Wesley old promotional video
A promotional video I made back in 2012

I even searched Facebook and Twitter for artists. Sliding in their DM’s asking if they were interested in buying my beats.

At that point, I was frustrated. I spent a lot of hours trying to sell my first beat and it seemed like nothing was working.

But slowly, more people were starting to listen to my beats. Until one day, I made my first sale on SoundClick.

Cha-ching! 💰

My first terrifying sale…

November 23rd, 2013.

I woke up in the morning and jumped out of bed because I was late for work. I overslept because I worked on a beat the entire night.

I noticed that I had a PayPal notification on my phone: “You received a payment of $30.00 from name@gmail.com”.

I couldn’t believe it...

Even though I was late for work. I said to myself: “What the heck, I’m already late anyway.” I sat down and logged into my PayPal account because I still couldn’t believe it. I had to double-check.

But it was real. I just made a sale!

Like I mentioned earlier, we had to manually send the audio files by email. It took me almost 30 minutes to write a simple email (re-wrote it a bunch of times).

I thanked the guy for purchasing my music and acted like I had been selling a bunch of beats overnight...

“Thanks for purchasing my music. I’m sorry it took a while to send you the audio files. I had a bunch of sales to process this morning.”

LMAO! 😂

I was so excited, I sent out the email without the attachments. Oh man, such an amateur…

But it happened. And it was one of the best moments of my life.

A moment that changed my life forever (how cliche that may sound).

Selling beats is not magic, it’s simple math and marketing

Later that day—at my boring 9 to 5 job—I was doing the math.

I mean... try it for yourself. We made a little beat sales calculator to play around with.

Keep in mind that a lot of customers spend more than $30.

💰 Beat Sales Calculator

Beat Price Amount of Sales Total Revenue

I was blown away! These were crazy numbers for someone that worked a 40-hour intern job for $750/month.

It hit me that I could make twice the amount of money by selling beats online.

That moment my mindset changed and the growth of my business began. Because within this story lies the plain old truth; “Hard work pays off…”

Key takeaways of part 1:

Part 2: How to start a high-profit, low-cost beat selling business

The road towards my first sale was dreadful. But selling beats online has never been easier. You can start an automated beat selling business for zero dollars.

All you need to start selling your beats online is:

Beats and audio formats

If you have a hard drive full of beats, you’re already sitting on a pile of gold.

If you don’t have a lot of beats. Then make sure you create a catalogue of different kind of beats prior to starting your business.

Export these beats into different audio formats. These will be sold with different licenses. Think of it as several pricing plans.

These are the audio formats I use:

Mixing and Mastering

Once you’ve created a beat, you will need to mix the beat and create a mastered version for your beat store.

The process is as follows:

  1. Production
  2. Mixing
  3. Export a mixed version in single WAV format
  4. Export a mixed version in ‘tracked out’ WAV formats.
  5. Master the single WAV
  6. Export the mastered version to MP3 (128kbps) with beat tags
  7. Export the mastered version to MP3 (320kbps) without beat tags.

What are beat tags?

Mike Will Made It
Mike Will Made It

Beat tags are audio snippets that producers use to ‘fingerprint’ their work. You have probably heard songs that start with “Murda On Tha Beat” or “Mike Will Made It.”

There are two reasons why a producer tags his music.

  1. Branding (to let people know that you’re the beatmaker)
  2. Security (Avoid people stealing your music and using it unrightfully).

What are Tracked Out files?

Tracked out files are all the separate (un-mastered) files of a beat. They are used for mixing and arrangement purposes. Once you’ve created a beat, you export these tracks to sell them along with a more expensive license.

Licensing and pricing

Once you’ve got your audio files ready, you need to set up your non-exclusive licenses. This can be complex for some people. But it doesn’t have to be!

When you’re selling beats online, you offer different licenses with different prices.

Now you have 3 options:

  1. Create your own licenses and determine which rights you want to give the artists.
  2. Use the standard licensing templates from beat store providers (we’ll get to that in a second)
  3. Use our licensing templates which you can download below. (recommended)

It’s entirely up to you which user-rights you sell to your customers. It’s your music and you’re in charge.

We do recommend to stay within the standards. That’s why we’ve created these licensing templates which you can use for free.

Pricing your beats

I recommend creating 3 or 4 non-exclusive licenses, with different prices. Set the prices anywhere between $20 - $200.

Sell your exclusive rights for no less than $400 USD.

Here’s an example:

License packages tables

Beat Store Providers

This software makes it incredibly easy to sell beats online.

So, what is a Beat Store Provider? Exactly what it says, and more.

They provide you with practically everything you need to start selling your beats online:

Here’s a complete list of Beat Store Providers:

No doubt, the two major players in the game are BeatStars and Airbit.

I would recommend either Soundee, BeatStars or Airbit. Not because the other ones aren’t good enough. Simply because I don’t know enough about them to have an opinion.

BeatStars and Airbit practically offer the same services. I suggest trying out different beat store providers and make a decision. If it works, it works—don’t spend too much time here.

Why do you need a beat store provider to sell beats?

Well, the alternative would be to build your own beat store from scratch. That’s gonna cost you a lot of money and frequent headaches. Not even thinking about maintaining all that custom code on your website.

Beat Store Providers help you get paid (instantly). They also make sure your customers can access their files without hassle.

All you need to do is upload your beats and create your licenses. Then set your prices and connect your PayPal account.

They offer different subscription plans. Usually, the free plans come with a commission fee for the beat store provider. I recommend getting on a paid plan where you can keep all your revenue.

Here’s an overview of their plans.

Beatstars versus Airbit comparison

The Email List

Oh man… The email list.

Whether you decide to use it right away or not. You can’t start soon enough with collecting email addresses.

An email list of customers or prospects is a gold mine if treated well.

With an email list, you can:

Imagine, you upload a new beat to your beat store. The first people you want to reach out to are the ones that already showed interest in your music.

Email is still one of the best ways to connect with your followers. Compared to social media posts, emails are way more effective.

On social media, you're always competing for a spot in someone's timeline.

With email, you decide when you want to show up in someone's inbox.

Selling beats on YouTube

YouTube has become the number one place for selling beats. Most artists search YouTube to find beats for their music projects.

Why? Because they’re comfortable using the platform. It’s where they spend a lot of time already.

That means that you’ve got to be up there too. Period!

A downside of YouTube is that it’s very hard to claim a spot in the search results.

Selling beats on YouTube is not easy. It takes consistency, dedication and patience. To be frank, it will not give you a lot of sales at first (if any at all).

But the producers that are winning on YouTube, are making 6-figures from selling beats. On top of that, they earn thousands of dollars from monetizing their YouTube videos.

Using SoundCloud to sell beats

Another way to get your music in front of potential customers is SoundCloud.

It’s the perfect hang-out for artists, which makes it a good marketplace for your beats.

A downside of SoundCloud is that there’s not an easy way to get your beats heard by artists.

Unlike YouTube, there is no SEO (Search engine optimization) game that can be played. In other words, It’s more a social community, rather than a place where people search for specific things.

Of course, there will always be people that search for terms related to buying beats online. But this is relatively small compared to YouTube.

To get noticed on SoundCloud, you need somewhat of a different approach.

Hit that like-button, repost songs and post genuine comments. Showing interest in music from artists that you appreciate goes a long way.

Art of Selling Beats Facebook Group Cover

Social Media Marketing

Social media is the perfect crossover between a marketplace and a social community. But this is where it immediately goes wrong for a lot of producers…

Social media isn’t a place where people come to buy. They come to interact with friends, family or to find interesting stuff.

A lot of producers forget that it’s a social community.

And they start spamming their followers with meaningless posts like these:

“Just uploaded a new beat. Buy it here!”

“Download my new beat for free!”

“Check out my beats at xyz.com! I got that heat”

They also slide in your DM’s 24/7 with the same messages.

Social media is about telling your story and engaging with your followers and fans. Giving them a peek into “the-life-off” and building relationships.

People want to learn more about you, who you are, what you do and how you do it. It’s supposed to be fun and light content. Think of it as establishing more trust with your audience.

The opposite of pushing people to a sale.

So, instead of saying “Check out my beats at xyz.com! I got that heat!”

Post something like:

“I’ve been up all night creating this new beat. My first attempt at creating a Trap Soul type beat. What do you think of it and who do you hear on this?”

This will lead to more engagement. It will make people curious about the content you’re posting. That will result in getting more comments and likes.

If the beat is dope, someone will ask in the comments where they can get it. That’s when you pitch your beat store (see image below). 😉

Click here to follow me on Instagram so you can see how I market my beats up there almost daily.

Instagram comments

And here's another image where you can see that this Instagram post converted into a $140 sale! 🚀

Instagram notifications on iPhone
Instagram engagement turns into sale!

Building customer relationships

No customers means no business. It’s as simple as that.

Selling beats won’t make you go from 0 to $10k in your first months. To be honest, getting your first customers can be challenging.

But I want you to think about it like this:

Your customers are worth gold. And you should treat them like that too. Building relationships is crucial for your beat selling business.

I have invested a lot of time and energy in the latter and it paid off in the long run.

Average Order Value

In 2019, I hit my all-time high record with an average order value of $85.23. (Meaning that for every order from my beat store I earned an average of $85.23)

Average order value (AOV) tracks the average dollar amount spent each time a customer makes a purchase from your beat store. AOV = Total Revenue / Amount of orders

That same year, about 40% of my sales came from returning customers. Which increases the lifetime value of a customer.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures the profit your business makes from any given customer. CLV = AOV / (1 - Returning Customer Rate)

For every new customer in the future, theoretically speaking, I would earn about $83.

$85,23 / (1 - 0.3) = $142.05

I admit I’m a bit nerdy when it comes to this stuff. 🤓 But if you’re serious about selling beats online, then caring about numbers is important.

They tell you a lot about whether you are actually doing the right thing. And if you’re treating your customers the right way.

Key takeaways of part 2

Part 3: How to become the type of producer that makes 5-figures a month from selling beats online.

You don’t need to (immediately) quit your job to start a beat selling business. You also don’t need fancy papers or degrees. You just need beats, a marketing plan, and the right mindset.

The latter is probably the most important.

If you’ve read every single word of this guide up until now, that says a lot about your willingness to learn.

If you’ve scrolled right to part 4, it says a lot about how bad you want to get that money.

I’m not judging...

Just keep in mind; There’s no get-rich-quick method. If anyone tells you any different, they’re most likely trying to rip you off. There’s always a catch.

So, how do you become the type of producer that makes 5-figures a month selling beats?

The 3 fundamental M’s of a beat selling business

  1. Music
  2. Marketing
  3. Mindset

Finding the right balance between those three can be challenging.

How do you sustain (or improve) the quality of your music, while developing a profitable marketing plan? And along the way, stay motivated and patient enough to ultimately generate your first $1,000 or $10,000? Even if it takes a month, 6 months or an entire year?

The answer to that question explains the difference between a “Wantrepreneur” and an “Entrepreneur.”

Something that I’ve picked up from an entrepreneur I’ve been following for years.

Wantrepreneur

Entrepreneur

The quality of your music influences how much money people are willing to pay for it.

Have you ever listened back to the music you created years ago? I know I did. It’s embarrassing.

If you’ve been producing music for a while, I’m sure you can relate.

Back then, I sold exclusive rights for $300 USD. Now, I’m selling exclusive rights for no less than $1,000.

And I get away with it easily. People aren’t stupid and they recognize quality music when they hear it.

It took me years to get to this level, but I stayed consistent and kept improving my craft and production skills.

Let’s say you sell 10 exclusives a year;

10 x (poor quality) $300 = $3,000

10 x (great quality) $1,000 = $10,000

That’s an extra $7,000 a year!

To get in a position where you can charge more for your beats and get away with it. You need to constantly improve your skills as a beatmaker or producer.

Selling beats using Online Marketing Strategies

Selling beats online is 80% marketing and 20% music production. I still stand by this, because this is how I’ve worked my way up through the years.

Here are some of the online marketing strategies I use.

There are two approaches when you market your beats:

  1. Respect-based marketing
  2. Aggressive marketing

The difference between the two is of significant importance. While aggressive marketing seems to be more short-term. Respect-based marketing is a long-term strategy.

The truth is, the balance between the two is important. But ultimately the fundamental tenet should be respect-based marketing.

Here’s an example of respect-based marketing with a pinch of aggressive marketing.

Respect-Based

Aggressive

The fact is, you need to utilize both. But sustain the right balance to create long-term business relationships. If you do this properly, the revenue generated from that 20% will easily make up for the remaining 80%.

The Mindset of A Music Entrepreneur

Mindset is everything. The difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset is perfectly explained in the visual below.

Growth mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Still, this is the part where many producers fail.

If you came here looking to learn how to sell beats online, you might have got overwhelmed by information. And you’ve learned that there’s more to this than simply making music.

Maybe it discouraged you and you’re now less excited about it.

Perhaps, the opposite? You’re super excited to start, but you’re not quite sure where to begin?

Both are common responses I get when I explain to people how to build a beat selling business.

But how do you overcome the common struggles of:

In the next section, we’re going to dismantle these seemingly massive barriers, one by one.

Struggle #1: I’m ‘too busy’ to start a beat selling business

Let’s say you’re working a full-time job, go to school 5 days a week or have kids that you need to take care off. It might seem impossible to start a business next to your daily routines.

I totally get that.

I started my business when I was working a full-time job whilst going to school two nights a week. Right now I probably got even more on my plate.

There were times I got so frustrated about not having enough time to grow my business.

But I never gave up.

On the other hand, I did give up many other things.

Tell me... How much time do you spend on this every week?

8 hours? 16 hours? 24 hours?

When people say: “I don’t have time to start my own business.”. That means they’re not yet willing to let go of things that don’t matter.

Instead, they think about their plans with friends this weekend. Playing video games and watching TV three nights a week. And don’t get me wrong, that’s totally fine. As long as you’re honest with yourself.

But until you can step out of the day-to-day and take control of your time. You’ll always be reacting to the rest of the world’s demands, on your time.

In other words. You could go another 5 years going out with your friends every weekend. Playing video games and watching Netflix. And still not have your own business running.

What’s the alternative?

You can add 8, 16 or 24 hours to your weekly calendar. And take control of your time.

There’s also something to be said for momentum.

When you can’t run a mile, run around your house. When you can’t run around your house, take a few steps. When you don’t have inspiration for a beat, just create a drum loop.

What I’m trying to say is, all you need is a simple start.

Besides that, when selling beats online, you can basically automate your entire business!

In 2015, I was still working a 40-hour job and went to school 2 nights a week. I spent my Friday nights on marketing and my Saturdays on music production. I put in about 20 hours a week and still generated an extra $30,000 from selling beats.

Struggle #2: I don’t know how and when to start selling my beats online

Entrepreneurs are easily overwhelmed. They’ve got a ton of ideas going through their minds, constantly. And they take immediate action.

The latter is what most people often struggle with; Taking action.

In my life, I’ve come across so many talented people. Songwriters, artists, musicians, producers. Even people that had great business ideas, that were not related to music at all.

Most of these people failed. Talented people that I thought would become successful.

They failed because they were unable to take action. An idea is just an idea until you decide to do something about it.

If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.

- Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox

In your case, there are two things to consider here.

  1. How many beats do you currently have?
  2. How much time are you able/willing to spend on your business?

If you have more than 15 beats, you can instantly start selling them. And spend the majority of your (free) time on marketing. You’re already sitting on a pile of gold!

Time is your most valuable asset. But your time to start taking action is always NOW.

Simply determine how many hours a week you can spend on your business.

Pick a number, schedule it in your calendar and stay consistent to work on those hours.

Struggle #3: But I don’t have the right tools and equipment.

Every producer struggles with their gear. We are always looking to get better sounds and more expensive equipment. Frankly, it’s never good enough.

This includes me.

In my early years of selling beats online, I blamed my equipment for the lack of sales and slow growth. Thinking that I needed to invest more in studio equipment so I can make better beats.

The biggest mistake I made. 😑

The lack of sales had nothing to do with my equipment. And I had to learn that the hard way.

In 2015, I spent roughly $20,000 on equipment. Most of that was invested in expensive audio interfaces, two sets of studio monitors, three (hardware) synthesizers and a $4,000 iMac.

I also went from a 200ft² studio to a 1100ft² studio.

Robin Wesley's old studio and new studio

But sales didn’t sky-rocket. Looking back now, I realise that I could practically make the same amount of revenue from selling beats if I was working from a smaller studio.

Because let’s be honest. We’re not running a recording studio. We’re not recording bands or doing a lot of live recordings. We’re beatmakers.

And what do beatmakers really need?

There are producers out there that make a massive amount of money every month from selling beats. Beats that are made on a ten-year-old computer with free drum samples. Created in a 200ft² bedroom studio.

Again, it comes back to marketing and conversion rate.

If you got money to spend, spend it on marketing tools and information.

Key takeaways of part 3

Part 4: Toolbox. All the tools I use in my beat-selling business

Building a profitable business from selling beats already takes a lot of time. That’s why I use web-apps that help me speed up my workflow. And to help me stay focused on the things that matter.

Please understand. To sell beats online, you don’t need to install all these applications.

The apps from what I think are “must-haves” are marked with a star*.

Google Drive*

Backup & File management

Google Drive dashboard

I use Google Drive to backup files and business documents. Audio files, images, video’s, sales reports, legal documents. I also use it to share files when I’m collaborating with another producer. I prefer Google Drive over Dropbox, but it works the same.

Google Drive is free up to 15GB of file storage. You can upgrade to 1TB for about $10/month.

ActiveCampaign*

Email marketing

ActiveCampaign dashboard

There are a lot of different mailing list providers and I’ve used a bunch of them over the years. I’m currently with ActiveCampaign but I don’t recommend it if you’re just starting out with email marketing. MailChimp or MailerLite would be better options. Why? ActiveCampaign is a lot more advanced and more expensive.

MailChimp is free up to 2,000 contacts and MailerLite is free up to 1,000 contacts.

Trello*

Project management

Trello Dashboard Robin Wesley

Trello is a project management app. It allows you to create so-called ‘Boards’ where you add tasks to. Think of it like digital memo’s. Since selling beats online is not only about creating them and you’re probably running the business on your own. You have a lot of stuff on your list that you don’t always have time for right away. With Trello, you can create memo’s and make sure they won’t be forgotten.

Trello is free to use.

ManyChat

Messenger Marketing

ManyChat Follow Up Flow

Just recently I started doing Facebook Messenger marketing next to email marketing. ManyChat is an app that allows you to send auto-messages through Facebook Messenger. It’s a very advanced application and I wouldn’t recommend using it if you’re just starting out with selling beats.

ManyChat is currently $10/month but prices will probably increase soon.

Slack

Team collaboration and communication

Urban Masterclass's Slack Workspace

Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration app. I use Slack to communicate with other producers about active projects. Or to share information about topics related to selling beats online. Everything that we discuss on there is business-related. If we want to chit-chat about random stuff, we move the conversation to Facebook Messenger.

Slack is free to use.

Notion

Business management & operations

Notion is an all-in-one workspace where you can create workspaces to manage your business operations. I use it to save important business information. Instructional guides, YouTube videos and ‘must-read’ blog posts. I have a content calendar for new beat uploads in there. And I also use it to create instructions for interns and employees. A very complete application that helps you organize your business operations.

Notion is $4/month per user

1Password*

Password vault

1Password Vault

This app and chrome extension lets you store passwords and other sensitive information. You safely store it in a virtual vault that is locked with a master password. 1Password is a very helpful tool when you have a dozen sites where you log in to every day. With a simple keyboard command, you can auto-fill your username and password. Without having to think about which one you used.

A password is only as strong as its weakest link. Make sure your stuff is secure, you're not the first one who gets hacked. Seriously, invest in security.

1Password is $2.99/month

Adobe After Effects and PhotoShop*

Creative development

Adobe Creative Cloud

I use the Adobe bundle to create artwork for new beat uploads and videos for YouTube. Adobe apps are more advanced and expensive compared to some free apps that do the job as well. Alternatives for After Effects are iMovie (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker (Windows)

The complete Adobe bundle costs about $70/month.

Flywheel

My WordPress website is the bread and butter of my business. This is where artists purchase my beats, get on my email list and where most of the marketing activities point towards. Flywheel delivers blazing fast speeds, solid performance, and support needed to keep your WordPress site running smoothly. Cheap hosting is—in my opinion— a short term play, you're usually sharing your server with others, the performance is minimal and there's an increased security risk. I never had major downtime with Flywheel, and their support is 24/7/365.

TubeBuddy*

YouTube marketing

TubeBuddy is a must-have YouTube extension. It lets you see channel statistics and video statistics from your competitors. It also has several useful tools to help find the right keywords to add to your videos. A similar alternative is VidIQ which is just as good. All the producers that are successful in selling beats online use it.

TubeBuddy costs $9/month or $19/month. Depending on which plan you choose.

Grammarly and Hemingway*

Copywriting

Grammarly editor

Grammarly is an application and chrome extension that does spell-checks and auto-corrections. Hemingway is an online application that helps you write bold and clear. It’s a very helpful tool when writing sales copy for email or articles on your website.

Both are free to use.

Rocket Typist

Type assist

This is an absolute timesaver. The more popular you get as a producer, the more emails and messages you’re going to receive. But most of the time you’re getting the same questions asked. You don’t want to spend hours on giving answers over and over again. Rocket Typist lets you pre-write text snippets. When typing a keyboard command, it will automatically insert that snippet. For example, you type in “TTYS” and Rocket Typist turns it into “Talk to you soon”.

Rocket Typist comes with the SetApp bundle which includes a lot of other useful apps as well. The bundle costs $9.99/month.

Station

Application management

Station is a smart desktop app that lets you manage all your web-based applications in a single app. Instead of opening Messenger, FB Business Manager, WhatsApp and Google Drive separately. You can use Station and manage all these apps from a single desktop application. It’s perfect for speeding up your workflow.

Paperform

(Marketing and customer relationship management)

Paperform is an online platform that enables you to create online forms. I use it to collect information from customers and prospects. Once someone fills in your form, you will get an email with a summary of their answers. You can also choose to send those answers to a Google spreadsheet. Then you can feed the data to Google Data Studio (see next app).

Paperform costs $15/month for a single user.

Google Data Studio

Sales and analytics

Even though Data Studio is still in beta, this google app is super powerful. You can turn data into a visual dashboard by feeding data from a Google spreadsheet. I use it to turn my sales reports into bar charts, tables and pie charts. It lets me keep a summarized overview of the number of sales I’m making each month. My top selling beats, the amount of returning customers and most popular licenses. I also use it to summarize the data I collect from my customers through paper forms (see image).

It’s an advanced application and you need to put in some time to understand how it works. I do not recommend it if you’re just starting to sell beats online.

This app is free to use with your Google account.

Final word

I promised to pull back the curtains on my business and show you the ins and outs of selling beats online. It took me 2 months to write this guide. I rewrote it a bunch of times and I kept adding new content to it. Even now, there’s so much more I would like to share with you.

With that being said. I genuinely hope that this guide will inspire and motivate at least one person. That’s the goal for now.

All though there are many (controversial) opinions about selling beats. I hope I’ve been transparent enough to show you the possibilities. I can honestly say that this business has taken me on an incredible journey so far.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s been tough. I’ve had ups and downs. Bad sales months and I’ve been broke several times over the years.

But if you love making music as much as I do. And if you’re dedicated to turning your love for music into a profitable business. You’ll find a way to get back up.

Before you leave…

Make sure you download the checklist and licensing templates that I prepared for you. It will help you get set up quickly and makes sure you won’t forget anything.

I also created a Facebook group for producers called The Art of Selling Beats. I and a few other successful producers are in there to help you with any questions you have.

Last but not least. Either slide in my DMs to connect with me or leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on this guide.

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