Beat Marketplaces are a Waste of Time and Money; 7 Reasons WhySoundclick…BeatStars…TopBeats.

These are popular websites that music producers sign up for so that their music can be heard.  There is a membership fee involved to really take advantage of what they have to offer and you’ll have to pay for promotion to really get exposure on these sites.
Beat marketplaces are good for if you’ve just stared making beats and you want to see what people think about them but if you take your music production business seriously they should not be your main focus.   Putting all of your effort into these sites can hurt more than help in some cases.
Here are seven reason how:

1. The over-saturation is real

These sites have hundreds of other producers on them that you have to compete with. Competition is good but does a marketplace give you the tools to differentiate your brand with?
How much differently will your profile look than the next producer?  Your music could be really dope but in a marketplace you will not be able to charge what you are really worth.  You want to create an experience for artists beyond the music and sites like these do no allow that.

2. There is too much distraction

The good thing about a beat marketplace is that your music will be in a place where people are going to look for beats.  The problem is that if you send an artist to your profile they will most likely browse around to see how all of the other producers sound on the site.
It’s so easy for a potential buyer that’s browsing through your music to get distracted by a flashy advertisement banner or a “Top 10 selling producers” link.   That is essentially taking money out of your pocket.  Not good.

3. The ongoing price wars

As the saying goes, “There can only be one cheapest guy on the block”.  Online beats have gotten so cheap that artists pretty much expect to not pay more than $15 for a beat lease.  And that’s only because the market has allowed for that too happen.
In marketing, your price is only 15% of the reason why someone will buy from you.  So what does this tell you about the marketing of 80% of the producers online?  They don’t really know how to market themselves to demand higher prices.
But online beat marketplaces keep you trapped because you are not able to properly market yourself on them to really differentiate yourself.  Most likely your beats might not even be heard if you make your prices too high.
Your typical music ‘producer’ on these sites has a free beat making software and would be happy to make one sale so they don’t mind charging $10 for 100 beats.  If you are serious about your business, you should not be trying to compete for the same customers as them.

4. Site traffic is not your targeted audience

Some of these sites are very popular among up and coming producers and they generate ridiculous amounts of traffic.  The only problem is that at least half of it is from producers themselves logging in to their accounts, checking traffic, checking promo campaigns, networking etc.
If you’re paying for promotion you want to be sure that you are attracting artists that are ready to BUY, not ‘check out your beats’.  This is where online/offline marketing and having your own site is important.  You can control the traffic that you receive.

5.  Limited Branding Options

What makes an artist pay top dollar for music production?   Most likely its the quality of your previous work, the artists that you’ve worked with in the past and how professional your first impression is.  With the inability to integrate with your own blog or your other social media outlets like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube and Facebook, you are extremely limited to really showing off your personality on marketplace websites.
An artist/producer relationship is a personal one and the more personal you are when an artist first comes across your brand the more likely they will want to establish a business relationship with you….which goes into my sixth reason why these sites may be hurting your career.

6.  No personal relationship

As far as online business goes, your email list is your asset. [Tweet ” The bigger your email list of beat buying artists, the bigger your pockets will be.”]  This applies to offline and the goal would be to establish a personal relationship with your email list, to the point that you have all of your clients and potential clients’ phone numbers.
Creating a profile on beat marketplace websites is not the most efficient way of getting the emails and contact information of artists and potential clients because of all of the above reasons.  You would need to install what is called an opt-in form, where artists will ‘opt in’ to receive emails from you by putting in their email address.
I would suggest using an email autoresponder or CRM of some sort to keep track of all of your leads and paid clients. This way you can easily send an email to your list of artists when you have a new beat for them or if you just want to fill them in on anything new going on with your business.  You also set up a sequence of emails that go out once they first sign up to maybe get them acquainted with who you are.

7.  You can only sell beats?

As you and I both know, there is more to a music production company than selling beats.  If you make beats, you most likely mix and master your own so you may want to offer song mixing and mastering to artists.  If you are good at graphic design you may want to offer song and album cover art design to go with your beats.
You will frankly have a harder time cross selling any of your other services on a beat marketplace.   You will probably have an even harder time up-selling additional beats and services AFTER a beat sale is made.  It’s possible but with out the ability to integrate with an email autoresponder or CRM it takes a lot of work…..and essentially time away from making more beats.
Note: PMP Worldwide is an online marketplace that has a major foot in the music industry so there is an ‘offline’ aspect to it.  They actually host and are a part of a lot of industry events so you do have an opportunity to network with them to get placements.  Again, you are a drop in a bucket on the website and if you aren’t able to connect with them online your chances of getting placements aren’t worth the effort.

How can you utilize a beat marketplace that gets a lot of traffic?
Though I wouldn’t suggest focusing your time and marketing efforts on these types of sites, it sometimes doesn’t hurt to use a place like Soundclick to generate leads.
You’d want to invest in there VIP plan, get your page professionally designed and only upload your very best work in the music player.  If you do hooks, upload those so when artists listen to your beats they start to mentally picture how they would sound on them.
Instead of having a Paypal link or beat store on your profile, embed a link or sign up form to join your list.  Be sure to link to your personal website so that you can take advantage of your traffic.
Am I too negative about beat sites?  Do you feel like they are still viable sources of income for music producers?  Leave a comment below and let me know!  🙂


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Bryan McNeil-Walker

Bryan "Don Suave '" McNeil-Walker is a music producer of over 20 years with a passion for marketing. After immersing himself in digital marketing for four years he founded Alavon Enterprises to help provide entrepreneurs and creatives the tools and solutions to grow their business/brand in the new digital age. His belief is that the marketing of today and tomorrow is social, automated and mobile.
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