Updated: Sep 30
By: Lawrence Oliver III 'trespeace'
I was 16 when I first started producing.
We may share that in common, or you might be just starting.
Wherever you are on your journey, there's always room to grow.
Although it's easier today to become a successful music producer, the competition is more fierce, and the road ahead is rigid.
When successful producers come together to share their insights, it helps us all out as a whole. I've incorporated bits of advice from successful producers around the world in hopes that you may get some inspiration to push forward.
So let's dive in.
What Makes a Great Beat?
With millions of beats available online, it's essential now more than ever that you understand the formula that makes a beat worth listening to and recording over.
Lefteris, aka h808beats from Greece explains, "Music is subjective, and every person has a different taste, however, in my opinion, trap beats are characterized by the heavy 808 bass, fast hi-hat rolls, and snare rolls with a kind of repetitive melody so to leave space for the artist to drop the lines!"
According to Beatstars, the highest-selling beats in today's online- producer marketplace, are Trap, Hip-Hop, and R&B, so this section emphasizes the elements that make-up these type-beats.
Bryan Ellis, aka 'Kush Beats' from Pittsburgh, talks about his specific creative process. "When I know the instruments, samples, and tempo of the track, the beat forms rather quickly after that."
While it's easy for producers to get lost in their creative processes, it's necessary not to overcomplicate the beat.
Eli Sebastiao, aka 'Eli Beatz' from Angola agrees, "to be great a beat needs to be simple yet catchy" And Zameer from Malaysia emphasizes that the simplicity" leaves space for the artist or rapper to do their thing."
Making a beat is a delicate balance. It should be simple yet have some unique arrangement.
Bryan Ellis adds, "The arrangement if it's a loop I'll change the drum pattern every 4 bars to kill the monotony...If I'm creating an original piece of work, I'll have 3 chord changes or 3 to 4 different sequence flips in a song."
MJ Ordillano, aka 'MJ' has an interesting perspective, "just like in writing, a beat needs an introduction, body, and conclusion."
Joshua Okoh aka, 'JoshKid on the Track' from Nigeria notes that the last piece of a great beat is proper mixing.
Now that we've touched on the basics to a great beat let's go into specific obstacles music producers have and how to overcome them.
You and I both know the top challenge as a music producer comes from consistently selling beats. Plenty of music producers are incredibly talented yet lack the business components to thrive in the digital marketplace.
To continuously sell beats, it's critical to take time to craft what makes you unique. What is your unique selling point?
To do this, take time learning from top-selling producers, learn what they've done differently, and then as time goes on, find what you have to offer that nobody else does.
It might merely be your process of working with other artists, or maybe it's a sound that nobody else has. Find what sets you apart and use that as your selling point.
Another obstacle that goes hand in hand with selling is how to market yourself properly. When you are focusing on making your beats great, it's difficult to attend to marketing, but if you don't, you'll have a hard time selling beats.
h808beats says, " I found myself struggling for almost 3 years ... I've reached out to many already successful producers for help! Most of them asked for a fee, and I couldn't afford that at that time, so I started searching for myself. From youtube videos and ebooks to learn the basics, then I started saving money from my job to invest in paid courses and promotion and advertising!"
Some books I recommend are Music Success in 9 Weeks, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, and recommended from Bryan Ellis, The War of Art.
Harmonious relationships with like-minded artists are crucial, yet sometimes more difficult to find. Rahul Sastry, aka 'Bro3886' from Bangalore said that was his greatest challenge.
I recommend seeking out artists through Facebook groups like New Wave of Musicians, Beatstars World, Musicians Worldwide , & Producerprenur. While networking, always make sure to be genuine in your interactions.
Here is a compilation of the best advice received by producers around the world.
Be consistent! Try to post a beat or 4 a day -Darius Mobley, aka 'Big Cheese' from Georgia
chase after greatness sonically and not after money -Rahul Sastry
Never be afraid to show your talent and skills -Zameer
Invest, Learn Teach -Bryan Ellis
Becoming a successful music producer takes time, consistency, and patience, but it is a gratifying profession and a lot more difficult than some give us credit for.
I'd like to hear from you. What piece of advice stood out to you the most?
If you have a tip that wasn't mentioned, please comment below.
Until next time,
Looking for more?
Check out: Best Resources for Producers & Artists in 2020 (5 minute read)