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http://theproaudiofiles.com // http://mixthru.co // http://mixinghiphop.com // A response to DJ Pain 1’s videos on whether producers should be giving away beats for free.
DJ Pain 1’s videos: https://youtu.be/YyV3qtsdrhQ + https://youtu.be/32bpLdgrj9I
This is going to be off the beaten path a bit. It’s a response to DJ Pain 1’s videos on whether or not you should be giving away your music for free as a Hip Hop producer. I’m doing this at a little bit of risk to myself, because I’m trying to un-pidgeonhole myself from the world of Hip Hop.
Not that I don’t love Hip Hop, but simply because I love everything else too. But I’m going to talk about Hip Hop because it is a culture that I’m very much immersed in.
I watched DJ Pain’s video, and what he said initially was you shouldn’t give away, as a producer, your music for free, and then in a second video, he qualified that to say, “free meaning of no benefit to you.” Meaning not just in terms of money, but there are other forms of payment, and you should be getting something out of any deal that you are making.
This is the message that he’s putting out. So I’m going to second that, and I’m going to hopefully do it in a way where even if I sound a little pedantic and preachy, that I hope that you see this as me trying to be empowering, because that’s really what I’m aiming to do here.
So giving away stuff with no benefit to yourself is not a business plan. If you think it is, it’s a bad business plan. It happens. There are very few people who are successful in the music business who have not gotten a lousy deal or who have not given something away for free or to no benefit of their own, either on purpose or just through somebody scamming them or something like that. It happens.
But, you should never be striving to do it. Just giving away your music as much as possible to anybody that you think deserves it for whatever reason – that’s not really the way to go and the reasoning is this: It has a reverse economic ladder effect.
Think of the pool of Hip Hop producers as a pyramid, where you’ve got Dr. Dre and Timbaland up at the top. They’re making the most money, they’re putting out hit records left and right, and then you’ve got sort of this middle-class of producers underneath them that make a good living doing what they’re doing, and they’re trying to negotiate the idea between putting out a really good product, but also not being as readily recognized as say, Dr. Dre, and then beneath that, you have this larger pool of producers who are making music, and are aspiring to go up the ladder. Right?
If you’re in that middle-class of producers, it’s very understandable to say, “Well, I make really great music, but people are not going to pay me the same way they would pay Dr. Dre, so I’m going to have to charge a little bit less in order for myself to get those payments that I need, and hopefully some things pop off, and I can keep moving up that economic ladder, but right now, I got to do what I can do to attract as much business as possible. No, maybe I’m not going to be the one that they go to for that quintessential hit on the album, but maybe they’ll come to me for another three cuts that are just really good outside of the name merit.”Something like that. So there’s an economic plan in terms of moving your pricing down and negotiating from there.
However, if you keep going down that scale, you eventually get to the point where you have a producer who just simply cannot get people to buy their stuff, and that happens because why would somebody buy from you if there’s somebody else that’s going to get it for free who’s on an equal tier? There’s only two ways to reconcile that, right?Either give away your stuff for free as well, or move yourself up in terms of what your tier is. I really, really highly recommend doing the latter! If you give yourself away for free, it creates two things.
First, it creates a baseline value for yourself, which is nothing. Second, it creates an excuse to not improve your own quality, or your own network.
So, if your beats are not selling, you might need to make better production. I hate to say that, and I know people don’t want to admit that, because everybody wants to think everything they lay down the first time they open up an MPC or Fruity Loops or whatever is fire, but the reality is most of the time it’s not. It’s only fire to you because you made it.
That happens. The first like, hundred beats I made was like that too, where I was like, “This is great,” and they all sucked except for like, one.