Success comes in all shapes and forms. Most people tend to associate money with success, and while that may very well be a good fit, it's not the only type of success there is. If you're hitting the studio on a regular basis and you're working really hard on your beats, hoping to blow up and get some well earned recognition, then it takes hard work, and more hard work.
You can work as hard as you can in the studio, but it's also about promoting yourself, pushing your beats out to the world the right way, and just, well, being different.
1. Make Your Beats Unique
You must remember that there are tons of other producers and beat makers out there that are trying to do the exact same thing that you are, so what do you think you should do? Stand out and be unique. Not just with your beats, but with YOU. You have to make sure that you and your music make their mark and leave everyone nodding their heads to your music.
There are plenty of beats in this world, and 99.9% of them sound the same, if not similar. This is because even though there's an abundance of talent in the music industry, not everyone stands out. They tend to stay back and just do whatever they THINK should be done in order to get a record deal or to sell beats to a well known artist.
Why do you think that you only see someone blow up every once in awhile, rather than every day? Because those people stand out, plus their style and their music do too. Remember this.
2. Your Beats Must Sound Great
You can be as unique as you want and stand out from the pack, but none of that will matter if your music is hot garbage. Have you ever smelled garbage on a very hot summer day? It smells horrible, so you definitely don't want your music to be in that category.
Your music must sound really, really, really good in order for you to become a success. I've heard plenty of beats in my lifetime and most of them are good but not great. I can tell when someone has taken the time to add an extra sound into their mix, or has given their sound the polish that it needed, but I can also tell when someone hasn't.
Think about a game of basketball. You can see who's pushing themselves the hardest on the court, and who isn't. This is why they have a bench in basketball, and this is why there are bench players and starters. The starters have made their game great and have not held back one bit. Notice how I'm saying that they've made THEIR game great, not just played great. This needs to apply to you and your music because you want to make YOUR unique style stand out and sound great.
3. Do YOU
This now leads us to what type of beats you should be working on every day. It's simple - work on beats that you're good at! Some people will argue that you need to only make beats that appeal to the young crowd and get your music played at the clubs. They will say that by doing so, you will get your name out faster and you will make lots of money. Think about what I mentioned in the beginning - success isn't just about money.
What really matters is that you do YOU. Do the style of music that you love doing, not just what you know will sell. It's true that if you make a big hit of some club-type of track, you will probably blow up very quickly, money will rain from above, and women will be falling all over you. Then what happens? Nothing. You will be working on trying to make another track that will "blow up", in order to keep your current lifestyle and status intact.
Instead, if you were to focus on being an expert at the type of style that you do, that is when you will succeed. If your style is Top 40, then that's good for you. It's also good if your style is Old School. Fantastic. It doesn't matter what style you do, just do it great.
4. Promote Yourself, Not Just Your Beats
A common mistake made by producers and beat makers is that they always focus on their beats and nothing else. It's great if you hit up Twitter, Facebook, Google, and countless forums to promote your beats, but you must remember that people need to know who YOU are. You can argue that your beats are so good that they speak for themselves, which can be true, however, people still need to know who you are.
I'm saying this because you have to reference this to something like an album cover. How many times have you seen a new album that was released and you thought the cover was really dope? I can remember way back when albums like Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" dropped, then the GZA's "Liquid Swords", I immediately copped them. I knew they were Wu-Tang but I wasn't sure how the albums would be, but I actually based my purchase on those two album covers.
The reason why you should let people know who you are is because it can greatly help you succeed. When you're trying to network with other producers, beat makers, or any industry people, they will want to know who they're dealing with, and at that stage they've heard your music already, now they want to network and communicate with YOU, not your beats. If you promote yourself and promote your beats, it can greatly increase your chances of blowing up because now your name, face, and biography will be out there, not just your music.
5. Think Outside The Box
Following steps is easy, but doing the work is the hard part. Even after applying the steps that I've already given you, you have to still think outside the box. It could be something related to promotion, or it could be something to do with your actual music production.
Is it possible that maybe you should change some of your beats? For example, most of us will make beats that are at the same tempo throughout the whole track. Have you ever thought of having one or two breakdowns within that track, where the tempo goes slower or faster? Let's say you have a beat that is at 98 BPM. If you were to all of a sudden about two minutes into your beat, have a breakdown where the tempo goes down to 90 BPM for about one minute, that would change the entire beat!
If you were to do that, what would you be accomplishing?
- You would be doing something unique.
- It would make your beat sound much better, maybe great.
6. Step 6
I will leave Step 6 up to you. I've already outlined five steps that will help you succeed, and I suggest you give them a try and see how well you can do. You may not do well, but maybe you will. They key is to think outside the box. Take the first five steps, apply them, but then think for yourself and come up with something different. You're unique, your music is great, you're doing music that you're great at, you're promoting yourself, and you're thinking outside the box. What's next?
Further Reading Related to Beatmaking