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In The Studio: Would You Ever Sell Out?

  1. Fade

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    The question of whether you would sell out or not is one that has often been asked in many Hip Hop circles. Being a beat maker or producer, it can often be tough to be heard and to meet the right people in order to have your career progress. The safe bet is to find a middle ground between selling out and keeping it real, but even that can be a very tough decision.

    What Is Selling Out?

    The term "selling out" in the Hip Hop world is usually when someone goes from the underground to Top 40. There's an unwritten rule that if you're an up-and-coming artist and you have that underground sound, that you should stay like that forever. However, some artists end up "selling out" in order to get fame and money, thus resulting in a big loss of fans, but at the same time they end up gaining many new fans. So is that selling out? Not necessarily.

    Selling out is when you don't stay true to yourself and your music. In other words, let's say you make underground-type beats and that's what you're known for. You're very good at what you do and you've gained a small, but loyal following, and you've maybe even defined a new genre of Hip Hop music. Now let's say that you are approached by a music industry person and they like your sound but they want you to work with one of their well known artists - should you do it?

    Here's where it can be tricky. Because you have your own distinct sound, people like that because it's new and different, so that's why you've been approached by someone in the music industry. They tell you that they want one of your beats on the next album of their artist, but they want you to change your beat a bit - should you do it?

    It's A Fine Line

    Obviously, working with an established artist is a great thing and that's basically what most beat makers strive for, but there's always that fine line between keeping it real and selling out. There will be a part of you that wants to keep your beat the same, but the other part of you will want to make the recommended changes because you want the fame and money. Everyone wants to get paid to do what they love doing, but should you change your music because some industry person asked you to?

    If you were to say no, then what would happen? I don't know, but it's very possible they might just part ways with you and never speak to you again. It's also possible that they might side with you and stick with the original beat because they like it so much. Basically, in this type of situation it's like as if you're calling their bluff.

    So What Do You Do?

    Of course, it all depends on the situation. If you could possibly get paid big money for your beat if you make the recommended changes, it's a tough call. What you have to ask yourself is, "Why did I start making beats in the first place?". I'm sure most beat makers will have the same answer, and that is, because they love it. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that they started making beats because they want to get paid lots of money, it actually doesn't even sound right!

    The Money Factor

    Money, however, is very enticing. Money can make or break a deal and if you're not careful, you could call their bluff and end up without a paycheck. I'm not here to tell you to solely keep it real and forget whatever money they offer you, but you have to really think about what your end result should be. Should you keep your beat the same? Or should you change it to whatever they want and get paid? It's a tough call but you have to always think outside the box.

    There's Other Options

    The way I see it is, if someone in the music industry that represents an established artist approaches you and wants your beat, that tells me a few things:
    1. The beat is dope.
    2. It has a sound that record labels are looking for.
    3. Other industry people are probably interested too.
    If they're interested in the beat, that means for sure that it's dope. There's something special with your sound and they can hear that in your beat. The fact that record labels are asking about it, means that you've reached a certain level of beat making. All of this means that there are probably other industry people interested in your beat as well, but even if the other labels have never heard it, now you will have enough confidence that YOU could approach THEM!

    The End Result

    Whatever it is you want to accomplish with your beats is up to you, but the end result should always be something that you are content with. Selling your beat just for the money is a good option, but not in this situation. Selling beats when you're first coming up is expected beat maker practice, but not at the industry level. Instead, you should weigh your options.

    If you can get to the industry level of beat making, then this automatically gives you power because now you can decide if you want to continue what you're doing, or just make music to make money. Money plays a big role in everything people do in life, but when it comes to anything creative, such as making music, you have to remember why you first started - most likely because you love it. The key is to find a nice balance between the two, because once you start making beats just to put money in your pocket, that is the day you start to sell out.

    So, would you ever sell out?

    Further Reading Related to Beat Making

     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    Bugsy and EsquireMusic111 like this.
  2. KDVS

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    Fantastic article!!
     
  3. Fade

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  4. Andrei Claudiu

    Andrei Claudiu

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    Great words !
     
  5. Fade

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  6. 2GooD Productions

    2GooD Productions

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    IMO selling out is taking the money while sacrificing one of a few things...
    Your originality, your morals, your self built image(if it doesnt fit the target demographic), and most importantly knowingly doing it.
    A couple examples of artists that really sold out...
    Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, LL Cool J("I Need Love"), PM Dawn, 50 Cent.
     
  7. EsquireMusic111

    EsquireMusic111

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    Originality is key. There are way too many flaws in the music industry to sell your soul and your sound for a dollar. We all enjoy this thing called music! We do it for the love and that is what counts! Great read!
     
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  8. Bugsy

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    That was a great read!
    But also keep in mind that we need progress, in order for us to do that we need to try something new, something out of our comfort zone.
    If I were in the same position, I would have to decide if that change would improve the track my knowledge and skills.

    Hiphop would not be alive today if it were not for progress.
     
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