As much as I would love for you to go to our store after you read this article and only buy exclusive beats from us, that isn’t in your best interest. Shopping around allows you to compare the best of the best. Remember you want professional beats with a commercial sound. I remember my early days when I used to rap and was in your shoes looking for beats. I would find a site and be blown away by what I heard. I would think, there is NO way there are better beats out there. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me and I continued to search. The more beat stores I visited, and the more beats I heard the pickier my ear and taste became – which is a good thing. Unless you’re just flippin’ loaded with cash (in that case, can you adopt me, please?) then you’ll want to be very picky with your hard-earned paycheck! Read on to sharpen your skills at picking the best beats online and make sure you only buy professional beats that have the highest commercial value.
Can this beat be used to make pop music?
If you’re serious about your career, then you need to be concerned about the commercial value and marketability of beats that you are interested in. If the first thought isn’t, “this sounds like it would be on the radio,” then move on. But here’s a problem, you might think a beat is lit when other people don’t. So, what should you do? Send links of a few beats or beat sites that you’re looking at to some friends or post up the links on Facebook. But remember, don’t tell your friends which your favorites are. Get their feedback without inserting your bias. The best option would be to create a poll. The only problem with this tactic would be if you have other rappers or singers in your network that might think, “hmm, that beat IS awesome and I’m going to buy it first” Assuming that is not a concern of yours, the tactic of getting people’s advice is called market research and a practice you need to get familiar with if you want to better your craft of songwriting and achieve mass appeal.
Also, be aware that a cool website, and images of flashy cars and lifestyle could be making you think a beat is better than it is. I’m a counselor by trade and know a lot about psychology. The site is using great marketing strategies, but this isn’t helpful for you in finding the best beats. I share this to help you be aware and make the most informed decision you can. I’m not desperate for sales and I know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I want to help, where I can 😉 – Have questions, or comments then share them below!
Does a beat make the cut, is it commercial enough?
Before you start setting trends you need to know what the trends are. So, when thinking about the commercial value of beats, the first step is to figure out if the beat is within the range or ballpark of what is already famous and popular. So, when you’re listening to beats you want to ask is the music similar to what’s already popular?
I can hear someone saying, “no, I don’t want to blend in I want to be unique.” So, there are differences between copying other artists sounds and styles, blending in, and following trends and eventually trying to influence them. (If you reacted negatively to the statement, making “music similar to what’s already popular” – ask yourself, why? Articulate what specifically bothers you about that idea and feel free to express yourself below!)
Often the phrase making music similar to what is already popular can be seen as a negative, like, dude, I want to be 100% original. I get it, I want to sound very unique with my music too. But, the challenge is that if you deviate too far from what is already familiar, it can be very hard to gain a following. People generally connect with music, movies, stories that are familiar and that they can relate with. If you go too far into the world of creativity, you could very well make some amazing music, but have you ever heard people mention that an artist was ahead of their time? Well, that’s generally where too much deviation leads.
So back to the original question, are the beats you’re listening to similar * enough * to what’s already popular.
You’re trying to find a balance to where the music is * in the ball park * of what is already famous and getting millions of plays. Look for beats that follow the current pop style and yet have a few unique turns and twists. This is the fun part, this is where as a pop artist or pop rapper you’re able to engage your creativity. Stay in the ballpark so that you’re still in the range of pop music, but then find something with some splash that represents your brand. (more on brand coming soon). The idea here is that you want to find a balance between sounding similar and yet differentiating – that’s a fancy word for having your own unique sound and fingerprint, it’s what makes you stand out – this is what allows you to be more than a one hit wonder and be a long-lasting artist like Drake, Rihanna, or Katy Perry. They stay within the popular trends but also influence them.
Now, if sounding different *is* your brand, then by all means go for independent, hard to classify music (No, I’m not being sarcastic). However, I am writing this article for people who are generally trying to get on the radio. Remember, mass appeal equals popular which equals more fans which equals more money 💰💰💰. As a side note, I’m not obsessed with money, and don’t suggest you be obsessed with it either. But for the undiscovered artist trying to make a living, money is the most important factor at first. You need sales and you need people to show up to your concert. Even when you’re performing a lot and getting paid money can be tight because, well, you’re often paying for hotels and lodging as your touring, unless you’re the most popular person in the world that has friends in every city you tour in.
Commercial Value: Variety and Getting the Attention of Record labels
Do you want to know another reason it’s good to sound similar to the pop trends and yet distinct? A&R scouts want to know that you are marketable. Record labels do not like to take risks. They want to sign people that they know are already selling tons of units and have a high demand. There is not nearly as much money in the music industry as there used to be.
People dog the whole “downloading music is illegal” concept but, guess what? As an artist this directly affects you. There are countless more people trying to get a piece of a pie that has become increasingly smaller but that’s captured in this article.
The point is, you’re not only performing for your fans, you are also releasing songs that are mini-advertisements for A&R scouts who may be interested discussing signing you to a record deal – if you impress them. So, it’s in your best interest to only release the best songs that also have a variety of styles – within the pop music ballpark, as discussed earlier in the article. What kind of variety should you look for? Read on!
You’re looking for variety in a few facets
Use different songwriters, beat makers, and music producers. This is not a hard-fast rule, IF a songwriter has a wide range of songs. If they can make songs sound like they’re from a completely different writer – that’s fantastic – that’s just very rare, and most people cannot do that. It can also be a good tactic if you find a songwriter or beat maker who you like and whose music compliments you well to do 6-8 songs on an album from the same person and then branch out with 3-4 different people for the remaining songs (totaling 12 songs for an album).
Different styles of beats: slow, fast, dance, general pop, beats that have guitars and not just synth, make up songs, break up songs etc. If every song sounds the same, why would someone buy the next one? If you can only make one type of song a record label will not see you as marketable. You need to show that you are versatile. If this is not a strength of yours, you need to start working on expanding your abilities – you can do it!
Another way to accomplish this is to feature other artists who have strengths where you lack them. This can also be great for crossing over to other audiences and expanding your fanbase as well.
More to come…
A diverse sound is good not only for your audience, but also for A&R and record labels to hear. Very few beat stores have a wide range of sounds within a genre, so it’s good to find beats that sound like they’re made by someone else. Well, some do, but very few do different styles well. Be picky, there are over 100,000 beat stores online. Take your time.
Ok, now I’m going to give you homework. It’s going to be a lot of work, but being famous and a recognized artist for years, instead of being a one-hit wonder, takes time. No one has ever become a long-lasting artist without a LOT of hard work. So, if you’re willing to do hard work, that is a good sign!
Pop Music Formulas
There are formulas to pop music. Wait what? If there are formulas what are they and why aren’t they all over the internet? Good question, yes and they are. The formulas are in every pop song you listen to. There are certain formulas within pop music – rappers don’t be put off by the term pop music. Pop = popular = money. Some of them include:
BPM (beats per minute) range
For rap this is usually 80-115 BPM
For pop dance this is usually 118-135
Do you notice something important about those numbers? 120 BPM is a sweet spot for rap and dance music which is a great form of pop music because it appeals to a large audience.
Bridges, when to have them and how long
Choruses, when to have them, how long and how many repeats
And so much more but I’ll be writing an article on this later
One aspect of the pop music formula that no one has down is the changing trends within pop music. This is something that people speculate and can sometimes get it right. It takes a tremendous amount of studying, talent, creativity, influence and a pinch of luck. Speaking of work, read below to see suggested homework so that you can get better at buying the best beats, and learn how to make your music as marketable and commercial as possible.
TLDR; Full Summery
Understand pop music trends past, current and future. Then, shop around for beats be able to develop a critical ear. Being picky and being able to identify why a song doesn’t have mass appeal shows that you’re on the right track. Look for beats that are within the ballpark of what’s already popular. Your goal as an aspiring full-time artist is to make music with mass appeal so that you can make a living quickly. Remember, your songs are for your artists but also act like mini-advertisements for A&R scouts. Your songs should include wide variety of beats – you do NOT want every song sounding the same. You want break up songs, slow, fast, dance, reflective, etc. Take your time when buy beats there are millions of them out there and over 100,000 beat sellers. Be picky and have high standards you and your wallet deserver it!
Ok, now that you’ve read about the need to learn about pop music, it’s time for some homework.
WTF, Homework? People get famous without doing homework and working relentlessly hard.
False. You’re only going to be able to be a one hit wonder (at best) if you don’t know what you’re doing, or why it’s working. So, if you’re a serious artist keep reading.
Look up Billboard’s top 100 songs. Look up Spotify’s top 100 songs. Find the top ten songs for 2018 and then 2017. Study them:
What do they sound like? How do they transition? What are similar sounds or themes that you hear throughout the songs. After you’re able to take notes and compare the 20 songs (ten from each source) then keep doing this over the last 10 years. It’s good to get an idea of where music is going, and sometimes you can get a feel for where it is going or better yet where it COULD go – and that’s where you not only get to exercise your creativity, but you also can be a major selling artist if you determine the next evolution of pop music.
1. Find 5 beat stores that you’re interested in – but don’t buy anything yet!!
2. Study pop music as mentioned in the homework section
3. Think about how you’re going to make music that is within the ballpark of other pop songs, yet takes creative liberty
4. Study some more
5. Now look at those same 5 beat stores with your knowledge and better trained ear
a. Do they make the cut? Do you want to look around some more?
6. Keep reading this guide
Consider us as one of your 5 beat stores to consider 😉 buy exclusive beats
Can I say, that if you’ve read the whole article and not just the TLDR parts you're on the right track for doing the hard work. This is a LONG article and you should pat yourself on the back.
Leave a comment, tell us what you think, what you learned, and how this article can be written better, to better help you.
Before you leave don’t forget to listen to our beats, do you think we could work with you in your project? Then contact us today!