How to make money selling beats.

With Hip-Hop and Rap firmly cemented as the most streamed genre on Spotify, it’s no surprise that the number of rappers and beat-makers has grown to match. Likewise, the sheer number of hungry rappers out there has enabled savvy producers to carve out a living selling beats. Meanwhile, Billboard Top 100 artists are always on the lookout for the freshest, most exciting new beats for their next single, meaning beat-makers can quickly rise to the very top of the game.

But how exactly does a producer turn dope beats into cold, hard, cash? We caught up with producer to the stars Jair The Shadow and picked his brains…

Jair The Shadow.

Jair is a prolific beatsmith from New York, who has crafted music for the likes of Lil B, Soulja Boy, Flesh and Lil Tracy. Adam Hignell spoke to him to get deeper insight into the mind and methods of a pro beat-merchant.


The beats.

  • How long have you been making beats, and how did you get into selling them?

    I’ve been making beats for about 15 years now. I got into selling beats after I had a few people on Soundcloud asking to buy them. I hadn’t even thought about selling until then really.

  • What makes a beat different to a track?

    For me it’s all about the sound selection and getting funky.

  • What makes your beats stand out from the crowd?

    With my beat’s I usually try and fuse sounds from other genres that usually might not go well together. Some people might listen just because I used a sound they know in an interesting way.

  • Do you usually make beats to order, or sell them ‘off the peg’?

    I usually make beats everyday and at the end of the week I’ll pick a few out of the bunch to sell and some will be sent to Artist’s I’m working with.

  • Do your beats all have the same basic structure/arrangement? If so, what is it? If not, how do you decide on the right structure?

    I try and change the arrangements of all my beats and the way I decide them are mostly random but I might be listening to music and I’ll try and take their timing and such on the arrangements and modify them a bit and use that.

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The business.

  • How do you find new clients?

    In the beginning most of my clients found me from my Youtube channel but thankful because of my channel I’ve been invited to different studio’s where i now just network in person.

  • How do you set a price for a beat, and has your pricing structure changed since you started selling?

    My goal was to keep it cheap for the artist and fair for me and came up with $25.As time went by I modified things a bit. Right now, I offer different leases where if you pay less you’ll be limited a bit but if you pay a bit more then you’ll be free to do anything you like.

  • Are all your beat sales for exclusive rights to the beat in question?

    Most of my sales come from leases with a few being exclusives.

  • Do you offer any additional services such as arranging, mixing or mastering?

    I offer mixing and mastering on my website to whoever needs it.

Jair Beatstars

The market.

  • How does social media affect your trade? Which platforms do you find best for generating sales?

    Youtube has to be the best platform to me. I once had two beats’ go viral and I started getting a sale about every 10 -30 mins for a few months.

  • Do you have your own website? If so, how important do you see that for your trade?

    A website is a must because it’s your hub for everything you’re doing and somewhat of a validation system to some people. I have a website myself made with Beatstars. It’s easy to use and people automatically get their music without needing me to email them files back and forth or send invoices. So again, I’d say some type of website is a must if you’re trying to sell music because you don’t want to burn yourself with so many things.

  • What platform(s) do you use for selling beats?

    I use Beatstars.

  • Where are most of your clients based?

    I’d have to say I have a lot of clients overseas. I’m in the United States but I often see a lot of Russians and French wanting to purchase music from me.

  • Any twitter post with words like ‘selling beats’ in on Twitter launches a thousand bots… is this a tactic you employ? (forgive me for asking!)

    I don’t use bots and I never will. I also never understood these bots and why they were being used. If anything, that would damage your brand.

  • Do you pay for advertising or marketing?

    I’ve never paid for advertising or marketing, but it would help if I did.

Beat making

The method.

  • Divide your time as a beat-maker into percentages ie 50% production, 40% marketing, 10% making coffee)

    50% production, 20% marketing, 30% watching YouTube videos of producers making beats.

  • What is the GOLDEN RULE of successfully selling beats?

    My Golden Rule is to be humble. That alone opens a lot of doors when selling music.

  • What are the main aspects of the trade that you have seen change over the years?

    I actually think most of things have been the same since I’ve started selling. Most people have the same pricing and same system. If anything, it’s the type of beats people are looking for that changes and even with that people still can make sales.

  • Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to enter the beat market in 2020?

    My advice would be just as my rule is. Stay humble and just work for what you want. Everything’s not going to be easy and fast but if you continue to put in work and time then you’ll be good.

Follow Jair The Shadow:

Jair The Shadow on Youtube

Jair The Shadow on Twitter

Jair The Shadow on Instagram

Jair the Shadow on Soundcloud

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