Distrokid Or TuneCore?
There are several well-known digital music distributors, including CD Baby and Tunecore, which are arguably the most established. Then… there is DistroKid! DistroKid maybe one of the newest kids in town, but it is fast becoming the most popular distribution service around. DistroKid, with its low prices, and a la carte business model, is the easiest way for musicians to get their music onto streaming services. Their cost effective, innovative and artist-friendly features have won over thousands of musicians and labels around the world since its inception. In this review, you’ll get a better insight about DistroKid. In addition, we will examine what features they offer, pricing, comparison with main competitors and more!
What Is DistroKid?
DistroKid is a digital distributor. This means that the platform sends your music, cover art and data to streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Pandora, Amazon, YouTube, Tidal and more. Once released, listeners can find you and your music on these platforms.
DistroKid was founded in 2013, and was launched almost a decade after established competitors like TuneCore and CD Baby. For a new start up, they hit the ground running and they were able to compete right away with the champions of digital music distribution. They quickly became one of music’s favourite distribution companies within a short period of time. Competitors such as CD Baby also offer physical distribution, and Tunecore offers social media promotional tools and other services. But DistroKid’s main selling point is its ability to share an immeasurable amount of music quickly and more cheaply than its competition.
Interestingly, some of DistroKid’s biggest fans are former founders of rival companies like TuneCore and CD Baby. In 2018, TuneCore’s founder Jeff Price said “As the founder of TuneCore I hate to say it but DistroKid is the single best music distribution company in the world. Light years ahead of CD Baby and TuneCore and far less expensive.” In addition, CD Baby’s founder, Derek Sivers said DistroKid is “amazing”. He publicly said that he would direct all his musician friends to the platform – which is a very commendatory endorsement of DistroKid as a great music distribution service!
What’s Great (And Not So Great) About DistroKid?
DistroKid has many positive attributes, and we will highlight some of the platform’s features shortly. Firstly, let’s take a look at what’s great about DistroKid.
DistroKid is the only music distribution service that lets you upload unlimited music to stores for one low price, so that is a massive plus point. It saves you money, and it is convenient. Plus, all of your royalties are going straight into your pocket.
Another huge bonus is that DistroKid is faster than its competitors with regards to getting your music onto streaming platforms. DistroKid claims that with them as your distributor, your music will be in stores 10-20x faster than any other service. You can also see your daily stats, including tons of features along with a simple interface. The range of streaming services offered is fantastic, with the list looking like this:
Now, for the cons of the platform.
If truth be told, DistroKid is not the most visually appealing of the distributors. The interface is a little dated looking and simplistic. It also doesn’t have the additional features and services as some other distributors. DistroKid does offer some additional options for releases (such as additional stores, monetisation etc). However, they are charged on top of the annual amount. In regards to what actual services DistroKid offers, it is only really distribution that’s up for grabs, compared to other platforms which offer more (we will dive into some more in-depth comparisons later).
In terms of pricing and payment, if you are an artist that isn’t releasing regularly, it might be better for you to choose a distributor with whom you pay per release. One final roadblock, also, is that artists can’t choose a specific release date for their music unless they have a ‘Musician Plus’ or ‘Label’ plan. Therefore, the basic $19.99 annual cost doesn’t allow access to this – and your music will be harder to promote without a specific release date.
Now, let’s take a look at some of DistroKid’s stand out features that separate it from other distributors.
HyperFollow Pre-Save Page
DistroKid has a great feature ‘Hyperfollow’, which creates your own personalised page where fans can pre-save your upcoming music. This gives artists a landing page to send fans to, with an easy link to put in their bio. Once a fan has pre-saved, the song will automatically be saved to their Spotify library upon release. Additionally, they will automatically follow your artist page on Spotify. Finally, when fans enter their email address to pre-save the track, the artist is notified and supplied with their email. This is great for building mailing lists and tracking audience engagement!
This is a paid, opt-in feature – but is definitely worth highlighting. DistroKid offers a service to make money when your music is used on YouTube. It works like this: when YouTube detects your music in a video, monetisation (ads) will be turned on for that video. If there is a text or banner ad on the video with your music in, and the viewer clicks on the text or banner, or if there is a commercial before or after the video and the watcher watches up to 30 seconds or the entire commercial, ad revenue is collected. The ad revenue (minus 20%) will go to you, instead of the person who uploaded the video. Simple!
Instant Spotify For Artists Access & Verified Checkmark
Spotify for Artists is Spotify’s app that gives artists access to stats, control over your profile, access to Spotify’s Artist Support team, and the sought-after blue verified checkmark on your artist page. Normally, to get access, there is an application process with Spotify, which can include a long wait, and may be rejected. As a DistroKid user, artists will be instantly verified and given access to their Spotify For Artists.
When uploading music, DistroKid gives the option of paid add-ons. These include monetising your music on YouTube, Cover Song Licensing, Instagram and Facebook (for use in Stories), and so on. This could be a pro or con depending on how you look at it, as the platform is the cheapest available, so paid add-ons are understandable. Plus, it means that artists can cherry pick what features or services they want to take advantage of.
DistroKid Pricing & Payment
Although DistroKid doesn’t offer some of the other perks their competitors offer, for the annual price of $19.99, you can upload an unlimited amount of music through a sleek and uncluttered platform. The best part of this? You can upload as much as you want and keep 100% of your earnings. The big difference here is that other services make you pay every time you upload music, which ends up costing a lot more if you plan to release a lot. DistroKid do also offer multiple plans if you want more benefits from the platform, including a service for labels. There is the Musician plan ($19.99 per year), Musician Plus ($35.99 per year) and Label ($79.99 per year). Check out the full list of plans on DistroKid’s website.
Artists also have the option of entering ‘splits’, where you can fill in a percentage split between yourself and a co-writer, co-performer, producer and so on. Great news for artists, also – you will get paid your royalties on a monthly basis. This means no waiting around for quarterly payments.
What Is TuneCore?
TuneCore is a renowned music distribution platform that has been around for quite some time. It has been designed to revolutionize the process involved in selling artists’ music by making sure they have all the tools required to sell their music online.
TuneCore, since its debut, has been able to give so many artists a rare chance to get access to the online community and sell their music.
To use this amazing service, you only have to open an account with them with which you will use to upload your music whether you are a band or a solo artist.
What you will learn from every single TuneCore review is that the site is very professional in its dealings. This is not just a place where you plaster your music and wait for it to get sold to a number of interested people.
It also provides remarkable statistics and very crucial information that will enable you to grow your music in one way or the other. To make it even more interesting, you get to keep 100% of your royalties. This is because TuneCore does not charge a commission on any single or album you sell.
As an artist, you get to earn every single cent from the sale of your music, something that is both amazing and rare.
TuneCore also provides you with a conduit to gain access to some of the most incredible online music stores. These include Amazon Music, Google Play Music, Tidal, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube among many others.
These online stores are known to be hot cakes when it comes to providing rare access to the online community. Each of them boasts of a huge following, and so they are just exactly what you need to grow your fan base.
TuneCore, however, requires you to pay a subscription fee that is often much more than many other music distribution platforms such as Cd Baby. Despite the steep prices, most people still prefer TuneCore.
Key features of TuneCoreThe minute you sign up with this amazing online music distribution platform, you will be intrigued by the number of features it comes with.
You will find that every feature incorporated in TuneCore has a specific use to the artist, some will enable you to know more about your fans while others will provide you with a platform to get your music past your geographical borders by introducing your music to the whole world.
Below is a rich list of some of the most incredible features you will note while using the platform.
1. You get access to a number of social media toolsWhether you are a budding artist or a renowned musician, there is no better way to maintain your relevance in the industry than with the use of social media.
With that in mind, you will need TuneCore social or social pro a feature that is designed to give you an easy time while interacting with various social media platforms. The feature enables you to update your various social media platforms with news about your music.
This can be a new music alert, an upcoming collabo alert or even a new video alert. This means that you won’t have to access every individual social media platform to make a post.
All you have to do is use TuneCore to access to all.
Some other benefits that come with this feature include being able to access SoundCloud where you will be allowed to make two posts a month. Similar courtesy will be extended to MixCloud. With these two sites, people will be able to stream your music online thus opening a whole new market for you as an artist.
However, to access social pro and benefit from its offers, you will have to pay a subscription fee since it comes with much better inclusions that will see you make incredible strides musically just by the use of social media.
2. You get to access publishing administrationThe era of artists getting coned of their hard-earned cash is long gone. This platform has made sure that you are provided with TuneCore publishing administration.
This is where your music sales are monitored closely and keenly so that you get to earn every single cent you make after you sell your music online. This feature ensures that you collect 100% of your royalties whenever someone plays your music.
This used to be very difficult before TuneCore came in the picture, but now it is quite an easy process. TuneCore will, however, take 15% of whatever you make on publishing.
They also take 20% commission on any sync licensing you obtain. So be sure that once you make your music or album accessible to the online masses, no single sale or play will go unpaid. It is one important feature that puts TuneCore ahead of other platforms like Distrokid.
3. TuneCore has Sync and Master Licensing featureAt an additional cost, you will be able to access the most remarkable Sync and Master Licensing feature. This is usually a very prestigious feature that enables your music to be used in a number of TV commercials and ads.
Landing such an arrangement is not as easy as it seems but with TuneCore, you will be amazed by how fast you can land such an incredible and reputable deal.
The platform has a way of making you visible to so many people who would be interested in using your music to come up with an outstanding commercial that will move masses. These people are also ready to dish out incredible cash for the feature, and so you should not get worried about TuneCore pricing on the same.
There are many times that artists get such remarkable deals but due to some misunderstanding with the parties involved you get to get to be paid only a portion of what the client is paying. This is not the same with TuneCore.
Every single cent that the client pays for a feature is fully credited to your account without any commissions deducted whatsoever. They also make sure that you get to earn a good amount of money from a deal and so all you have to do is subscribe for the feature and let TuneCore handle the rest.
Since its initialization, there is no day that there has been a complaint about unpaid royalties.
4. TuneCore provides music analysis on the reporting platformAny form of information about your music is very vital. This is because you get to know the next step to take as an artist. That is why TuneCore provides you with an analytic and reporting platform. This is where you will get to access all the relevant information about your music.
You will know which of your albums is the most streamed on SoundCloud as well as which single has received incredible likes on Spotify. You will also have a vivid view of which region or country you have most fans and which music is most disliked and why. All this information will be accessible on your analytics and reporting dashboard.
With this information, there are so many steps that you can take to make your music better and gain more fans worldwide. It can also help your manager to know the regions that you will get most attendance in case you want to set up a concert.
In terms of composing, you will be aware of what kind of music your fans prefer from the likes and dislikes you received on your previous music. This is just enough information to transform your music career and make you a much better artist.
It will also enable you to come up with the most trending music since you will know what your fans love and you will make sure you give them exactly that.
5. TuneCore provides artists with distribution creditsSince TuneCore pricing is known to be a little bit higher than other distribution platforms, anything that will enable you to minimize spending unwarranted amount of money is very important. TuneCore enables artists to pre-purchase distribution credits.
This is only necessary if you are planning to produce new music that will require distribution. Since you will be buying ahead of time and in bulk, you will tend to spend much lesser than you would have spent otherwise.
This is just the feature that you should make use of to avoid paying so much for every individual album you post on the platform.
6. You get to access your funds anytime thanks to the ultra-responsive featureThe one thing that motivates artists is the payout. This is when you have composed, recorded and distributed your music and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. TuneCore allows you to access your money through your TuneCore account.
Just initiate a withdrawal request to your PayPal, EFT or check and wait for the funds to be released. The process is much simpler and very fast than most similar platforms.
For bands, there is an option that allows you to send every individual member on the band his or her money.
What to expect from itAs soon as you sign up for a TuneCore account be ready for a life-changing experience.
You will be provided with an interactive platform where you will be able to distribute your music, remain active on different social media platforms and source useful information from relevant music stores and music streaming platforms.
You should also get ready to be paid your royalties in full without compromise.
How does it work?TuneCore is one incredible platform that enables individual artists or bands to sell their music online by linking them to some of the best online music stores where they will be able to access a huge market for their music. Every cent you make from the sales is credited to your account without any deductions.
The platform also enables you to access very crucial information about your music. In return, you are only required to pay some amount of money referred to as a subscription fee.
Price and plansTuneCore pricing and plans are a little bit expensive than most sites, but in return, you get incredible services.
You will sign up for free, but then you will be required to pay a subscription fee before accessing their services.
The distribution fee for a single song is $9.99. For an album that has more than two songs, you will be required to pay $29.99. They also charge an annual fee of $29.99 of an album and $9.99 for a single. For two years and beyond, you will be required to pay $49.99.
For Social pro, you will be required to pay $10.99 for a monthly subscription and $118.99 annually.
SoundCloud is the largest and most important online music community. They’ve disrupted the way we understand online music distribution. They give independent artists the space they need for DIY music promotion.
But they offer tons of other useful tools as well. Using them effectively will amplify your project and get SoundCloud plays from the SoundCloud followers that matter.
Here’s our 9 SoundCloud promotion tips to get your music heard:
Hot Tip: Read our Music Promotion Guide for more tips on self promotion and getting your music heard.
1. Tag for successHow can new fans find your music? Well, one of the best ways is to tag your music.
Tagging makes you discoverable when a listener is searching SoundCloud.
The better your tags, the easier you are to find.
The best way to tag is to be honest. If you made a drum & bass track, then set the main genre to Drum & Bass. Add moods and a location to your tags as well. It all helps.
Stick to one main genre to keep things clear. Adding a bunch of genres won’t make your track any more findable.
The more concise and accurate your tags are, the more easily your music will get discovered by the listeners that wanna hear it most.
Hot Tip: Tag and link to your collaborators SoundCloud in the track description. Use an ‘@’ before their SoundCloud name to link their profile. It’s great for cross-promotion and telling the story of your process.
2. Add a ‘Buy’ LinkGetting listens and likes is nice. But likes and listens won’t buy you that new mic you’ve been eyeing.
Luckily SoundCloud lets you add a ‘Buy’ link to your track upload. Just click on the ‘Metadata’ tab when you’re uploading.
Add the right links: Buy on iTunes, Beatport, Juno, Bandcamp or whatever else you use to sell your music online.
Hot Tip: If you have a pro account you can change the button text to anything you want.
Change it to Stream on Spotify and link to get some extra streaming juice. Or write ‘Donate’ and link to a Patreon or a PayPal. You’ll be surprised how many super-fans out there will support your music.
3. Tell A Story With Your Waveform. SoundCloud allows fans to comment on your waveform. But y’know who else should be commenting on the waveform? YOU!
Use the waveform comments to tell your fans and community about your process. Be transparent about how you made your track. Ask for feedback and mention specific sections.
For example: If you’re not sure about a section of your track, comment on the waveform where the part starts.
Something like: “Not sure about the bass here. Let me know what you think” is the perfect play for getting feedback from your community.
You don’t have to be completely done a track to publish it either. Publish drafts, get feedback, and make your music better.
4. Get your album art right. Album art matters. Especially on SoundCloud.
If your track gets embedded on a blog your artwork will be there. If you share your track to Facebook your album art goes there too.
Your album art or track artwork represents your music no matter where it goes. So it’s mega important.
Before anyone hits play the artwork attached to your track has to stand out. So make it count and choose something that represents your music and you.
Your album art or track artwork represents your music no matter where it goes.
For best results always use a JPG or a PNG that’s at least 800 x 800 pixels.
Hot Tip: Album art is a perfect reason to invest a bit of money into your project. If you can’t make the image you want yourself, then hire a designer or photographer that fits your budget.
5. Share tracks privately before your release. SoundCloud lets you share private links to your tracks.
It’s great for sharing unfinished tracks with collaborators, sending demos to labels or blogs, or contacting other outlets like radio stations with exclusives.
Sharing a private link gives your music the personal touch and a sense of exclusivity that is great for reaching out to tastemakers.
Sharing a private link gives your music the personal touch and a sense of exclusivity that is great for reaching out to tastemakers.
It’s super easy to do. Just upload a track and set it to private. Save it and go to your profile. Click the track you want to share privately and hit the ‘share’ button below the waveform.
you’ll see a private share URL that is unique to your track! You can even make a whole playlist private if you wanna share your entire new album.
Plus, you can reset the the private link at any time to make your private links time sensitive.
6. Publish your bestYour track is finally done. You worked long and hard on it. You’re finally happy with how it sounds and you think it’s ready for the world.
So you click share and sit back waiting for those plays. It’s a hit! The track gets some nice buzz and people seem to be liking it!
But a couple days later you realize that your song needs a minor tweak…
Maybe someone you admire commented and told you a hot tip on how to boost the bass.
Or maybe you mastered it and you want the mastered version on your SoundCloud. But if you take it down, you’ll lose all those plays, likes and important feedback…
7. Change the audio without losing Comments, likes and plays. Don’t fret. With a Pro subscription on SoundCloud you can swap out the audio on any SoundCloud upload at any time.
And the best part? You don’t lose all those plays, likes and comments from your fans.
It’s perfect for sharing unfinished songs to get feedback. Tweak your track based on the critiques and re-upload any time.
Hitting share doesn’t have to be final. Swap the audio and make sharing part of your production process.
8. Share with care. Don’t just post your own music. Re-post artists that you’re excited about or songs and mixes that you can’t stop listening to.
Sharing other artists and helping your audience discover new music builds trust and authority and is a really humble move. If you hear something, say something!
If you hear something, say something!
You SoundCloud is a community. So support it by sharing other artists in your feed. If you share other artist’s music there’s a better chance they’ll share yours!
Reposting another artist’s music is a great first step to starting a relationship as well. Relationships that lead to gigs, collaborations and helpful partnerships. All that good community stuff. So build the community you want to be a part of.
So build the community you want to be a part of.
9. Link to your SoundCloud. Sharing your new tracks to your SoundCloud community is great. But why stop there? Put your tracks out into the world!
Put your tracks out into the world!
Share them to all your promotion platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Once you upload a track share it to all your platforms under the ‘Share’ tab.
You can also auto-post your tracks to all your social platforms automatically by linking your accounts. Just head over to your Account Settings to manage your Connections.
Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are all connectable for auto-posting. Connect your accounts and get your tracks into all those ears!
Maintain Your MotionSoundCloud is a tool. You have to use it right to make it work.
These tips will help you get the most out of your SoundCloud and make it work for you wherever you’re sharing your music.
So share lots, share often and share smart.
How To Buy Beats Online
Before you spend your hard-earned money on rap beats online follow these 10 tips to ensure you’re getting the most value possible! I know it can be a daunting task filled with many questions such as where should I buy them? How much should I pay? What are leasing & exclusive rights? etc.. Don’t worry you’re not alone and I’ve got you covered! Let’s jump right in shall we?
1. How To Get FREE Rap BeatsThere are tons of producers out there but they’re not all on the same level. Some are making a full time living making rap beats, some are just starting out and others are somewhere in the middle. The ones that are just starting out or are somewhat in the middle are likely giving away some of their beats for free. They will likely want to keep their tag “recording saying their producer name or brand” in the beat or at the very least they may require you to either mention them in the song or give them credit for producing the beat wherever you upload the song on the internet.
A good place to start finding free rap beats is simply by searching YouTube, Google, and Soundcloud for “Free Rap Beats” or “Free Hip Hop Instrumentals”. Start making you a list of all the producers you like that are giving free beats and visit them often to see what’s new and show them love and support. If you release anything using their beats make sure you let them know and share your music link with them. You never know, if you do a really good job they may want to feature you on their website or start working with you exclusively!
2. How To Get Special DiscountsIf you’re finding it hard to find free rap beats that fit your style then it’s time to narrow your focus a little more. Most producers have their own website and usually will have a mailing list that you can sign up to. Many of them will offer special discounts exclusively to the people who are on their mailing list. They could run a special deal at any time and will often do discounts around Holidays.
So find producers that make rap beats that fit your style and sign up to their mailing list. Not only will you likely get special discounts but they will likely send you an e-mail whenever they upload new beats. How cool is that? You won’t even have to look for the new stuff because it will be sent directly to you! Also, I might add that many producers “even ones who are making a full time living” will give away a free rap beat as their way of saying thank you for signing up to their mailing list.
3. Finding Dope ProducersIf you’re on the hunt for dope producers and are also looking to get on their mailing lists for updates and discounts here’s an easy way to find where they’re lurking at on the internet. Even though serious producers typically will have their own website they will often upload their beats for sale on reputable 3rd party websites such as Airbit.com, Beatstars.com, 20dollarbeats.com, and Soundclick.com to name a few. These are like producer hubs where you can find a large majority if active producers on the internet.
Most of these sites rank their top-selling producers on a chart which will give you a quick idea of who’s bringing the heat! You can then click on a producer’s name and it should take you to their profile which will also have their personal website listed if they have one. Remember to go to their website and see if you can sign up to their mailing list. It’s also important to note that just because a producer is ranked high on the charts doesn’t mean the producers who are ranked lower aren’t just as good. It simply means they’re doing a good job promoting their beats so don’t be afraid to dig deep into those charts!
4. Using Trusted WebsitesWhile we’re still on the topic of websites it’s a good idea to purchase from reputable websites. What I mean by reputable is that the website is a legit business and you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off. For example all the sites I listed above are legitimate websites. But I can’t vouch for each and every producer’s personal websites. For example, if you purchase a beat from a producer’s personal website and the wrong beat is sent to you and you contact the producer about the issue but they won’t respond that’s not legit business!
Look for certain logos on their website that state things such as Pay Pal Verified or BBB Certification. Of course, anyone can grab a picture and throw it up on their website so if you still have doubts contact them personally and see if they respond back. Or do a google search on the site or producer to see if people are speaking positively about their experience with them. If you still have doubts then just purchase the rap beats you want from them on one of the 3rd party sites I listed above “if they’re on there”, if not then just keep it moving.
5. PricesDon’t pay ridiculously high prices for leases. It’s understandable if you’re buying exclusive rights to a rap beat. If you don’t know the difference between the two don’t worry I’ll cover them in the next two tips. For a lease, you should expect to pay around $10-$30 dollars per beat. For exclusives rights, it can cost anywhere between $300-$5,000 and up!
Shop around and compare what some of your favorite producers are charging for beats. If you fall in love with a rap beat that’s significantly more than $30 for a lease then hold off on purchasing it until you shop around a little more to see if you can get a better deal. If you can’t find anything cheaper that fits your needs you can always come back to it later.
6. What Are Leases?When you are purchasing a rap beat there are two main options, Leases & Exclusives. When you lease a beat aka purchase a license you’re simply paying the producer for permission to use the beat and remove the tag. It doesn’t mean that you own the beat. The producer still retains full ownership of the beat and can continue to lease the beat to other artists. It’s up to the producer what permissions he chooses to give you with the lease.
The producer may offer several different leasing or licensing options depending on what you want to do with the beat. The more permissions the producer gives you with a lease the more it’s going to likely cost. Here’s what you can expect from a standard lease.
7. What Are ExclusivesExclusive rights are much more expensive because the producer is giving you exclusive permission to use the beat in a way no one else can. This means the producer has to take the beat down from his or her site and can no longer lease it to anyone else “if they were leasing the beat beforehand”. When you have exclusive rights you can basically do whatever you want. This means you can do bigger picture stuff like try and get your song that’s using the beat on the radio, featured in commercials, movies, video games, etc..
This also means that the producer will provide you with the whole rap beat tracked out also known as stems. This is all the individual tracks to the beat. For example, the kick, snare, hi-hat, strings, brass are all in separate high-quality WAV files so you can have a mixing engineer professionally mix your vocals with all of the elements of the instrumental.
Since the producer made the beat they will likely include in the contract that they are entitled to a certain percentage of royalties (usually half). Songwriting isn’t just writing lyrics it’s also writing/producing music and the producer is entitled to their fair share for their contribution to the song. Some producers will actually work personally with the artists that purchase exclusive rights from them to ensure that the song comes out as professional as possible. Remember the producer wants the song to be a success not only for you but also because they’re entitled to their fair share of the royalties.
Just a few more side notes. Sometimes producers will put in their exclusive contract that you’re not allowed to sell the beat to anyone else. This is smart on their part because they need to be connected to the new owner “you” of the music because the two of you are both contributing to the song. If you were to sell the beat to someone else things can get really complicated rather quickly.
Also if you are trying to get your music placed somewhere commercially (this is where you can now license your song out to others) check and see if the producer is already signed to a publishing company. If they are it can make things really difficult when dealing with licensing companies and they may choose not to work with you because of the complications. Also, make sure that it’s stated in the contact that you have full permission to license the music without the co-writers “producers” permission. Once again this makes dealing with licensing companies much easier because they don’t have to go back and forth with anyone other than yourself.
8. SamplesSamples can bite you in the butt if you aren’t careful. This isn’t as big of an issue if your leasing rap beats for promotional purposes such as singles, mixtapes, and demos. But if you’re wanting to purchase exclusive rights you need to know if the music contains any samples. Samples are audio clips that have been taken from other recordings. If you want to get super technical just about every sound that’s on a keyboard or virtual instrument is a sample unless it’s being digitally produced using a synthesizer. These aren’t the kind of samples I’m talking about.
I’m referring to samples of actual songs not samples of sounds. For example, if someone sampled a 4-second clip from an old vinyl record you’ve never heard and is being used in the hook section of your song you need to know about it. Because later down the line if your song becomes a big hit and you start making some serious money the owners of the music that was sampled will likely hunt you down and sue you if you can’t come to an agreement outside of court.
This can really eat into your profits and cause you a lot of headaches. Samples aren’t as much of a big deal for labels who have the connections and money to “clear” aka “license” the samples but most independent artists don’t have that kind of loot or clout so unless you’re the exception tread lightly. Again this mainly applies to commercial use applications where you would need to obtain exclusive rights to the rap beat.
9. Professionally MixedThis one is very important! If you’re going to be spending your hard-earned money on a rap beat you need to make sure the quality is on point! Not just the production quality such as instrument selection, arrangement, and musicianship but also THE MIX!! In short, mixing is when someone uses tools such as equalizers, compressors, volume faders, and pan nobs to ensure that the music is evenly balanced and everything has its own space.
Leasing a beat that’s poorly mixed is a terrible mistake! There’s only so much a mixing engineer can do if you bring him a horribly mixed beat that you’re about to drop your vocals on top of. If you bring him a turd all he can do is hand you back a polished turd.
But how the heck are you supposed to know if the track has been professionally mixed? Good question! Simply load up a beat you know has been professionally mixed such as a mainstream beat off YouTube. Adjust the volume of the two beats so they’re at the same level and now compare the quality of the sound. Carefully listen to the mainstream beat for a moment then pause it and now play the beat you’re thinking about purchasing. Go back and forth a few times and you should be able to tell if the beat is poorly mixed or not.
One more test is to turn both the beats down really low but still keep them at the same volume. Nothing should really stick out too much at this volume on the mainstream beat. However, if you hear things sticking out quite a bit on the beat you’re wanting to purchase it’s a sign that everything hasn’t been balanced properly through mixing it correctly.
10. Tempo & KeyMy last and final tip is just as important as the rest. Have you ever been in a clothing store and see something you thought looked dope but when you tried it own you realized it didn’t look right on you or you didn’t like the way it fits you? The same applies to music. Just because you think a rap beat sounds dope doesn’t mean it will fit you as an artist.
When picking the perfect rap beat to flow on you first need to take into consideration the tempo of the song. Rappers who like to rap fast typically pick slower tempo beats around 65-75 BPM because there’s more room within each bar to fit more syllables. Rappers who prefer a mid-speed that’s not too fast or too slow typically enjoy a tempo around 85-95 BPM. And if you’re shooting for a more upbeat party or dance track you will likely find what you looking for around 120-140 BPM.
If you figure out which tempo fits you best it can help you narrow down your search on sites that I listed above because they often allow you to search for rap beats based on tempo.
Another important piece of information to factor in is what key the rap beat is in. If you’re going to do any type of singing or harmonizing you will need to know the key to the song. Also if you plan to use any pitch based effects such as Autotune knowing the key can help you dial your settings in quickly. When most artists are trying to develop their own sound it’s important to understand which keys fit your vocals the best. Again this will help you narrow down which rap beats are right for you and some of the sites I listed above will also let you search for beats based on the key.
But be careful when leaning too heavily on the beat websites search engines for information such as Tempo and Key. Not all producers correctly fill out this information when uploading their beats but it will still help you narrow down your search. If you would like to easily detect the tempo yourself use getsongbpm.com and for detecting the key of a song I recommend using another free online tool called audiokeychain
Apple Music For Artists vs. Spotify For Artists
Apple Music For Artist
Apple Music For Artists has long lagged behind Spotify and Pandora with the tools and analytics that it offers artists. That changed overnight with the public launch of a toolkit that insiders have been playing with for months.
Apple Music For Artists now offers all musicians and their team a robust set of analytics and notifications, as well as some limited tools to control your image on the platform.
Two Key Features
Apple Music For Artists launches with iOS app as well as a web version. That should please artists and teams on the go – if they own an Apple device. Also, Shazam, which Apple acquired last year, is front and center, adding an important source of data often used to measure early spikes in interest.
The usual stats can be found in a dashboard format including overall plays, iTunes downloads, and spins on Apple Music editorial and algorithmic stations. In an interesting twist, badges are awarded for hitting milestones and personal bests.
Global geotargeted data on a city level is available both as a heat map and as a list.
Spotify still offers artists more control of their image and messaging on the platform and an impressive set of How To Guides. But neither Spotify or Apple Music offers any direct ability to message their fans for free. Only Pandora offers several tools to communicate with fans and potential fans alongside its own Next Big Sound powered analytics.
Spotify For Artist
With Spotify for Artists, you can see who’s listening to your music and take control of your artist profile. As part of the Spotify for Artists community, you'll also be the first to know when we create new tools and features for artists. Just click Claim Your Profile in the top-right of this page. Once we confirm who you are and give you access, you’re in charge.
Becoming a verified artist.Getting verified on Spotify lets your fans know that your artist profile belongs to you. When you get access to Spotify for Artists, you’re automatically verified on Spotify and your profile gets a blue verification check mark.
If you use one of our preferred artist distributors to upload your music to Spotify, you get instant access to Spotify for Artists. Log in to your account with one of those distributors to get started, and you’ll have a blue check mark in minutes.
Access Spotify for Artists on the go.
Access Spotify for Artists wherever you are by downloading the app. iOS users can find it by visiting the App Store, while Android users can find it in the Play Store. The app is designed to help you get ready, manage and track your new release.
With the Spotify for Artists app, you can:
Get your profile new-release ready. Update your bio, share your playlists, promote your music, and control how listeners see you on Spotify.
Follow your release as it grows, all in real time. See who's tuning in and get live updates on your new release, whether you’re on the road or in the studio.
Learn about your listeners. Understand who's listening and where to book gigs—whether you're playing a few shows or planning a full tour.
See who’s listening.With access to Spotify for Artists, you’ll be able to track which of your songs are performing best and learn how fans are discovering and listening to your music around the world. Your stats can help you run promotional campaigns, pick new singles, or even route your next tour.
Take control of your profile.
Your artist profile on Spotify is where all of your music and content lives. It’s also where fans can discover more about what’s happening with you—hear your newest releases, dig deeper with one of your playlists, find out where you’re touring, even buy your latest merch.
Spotify for Artists puts you in charge of your profile—so you can update your image to reflect your latest look and tell fans about the music you’re into right now.
Look great on Spotify.
Fans on Spotify see your profile image whenever they search for you or visit your profile on any device. While default images are pulled from Rovi’s database, Spotify for Artists makes it easy to upload a new image anytime you want—so your profile always reflects your unique identity.
How to edit your artist bio on Spotify.
Your artist bio is your story—in your own words. With Spotify for Artists, you can write a bio, save it to your profile, and update it anytime you want. With 1500 characters to share with your fans, you can update this to whatever makes sense for you—whether that’s sharing your story as an artist or the inspiration behind your latest release.
Your bio can include links to any artists, songs, albums, or playlists on Spotify. And you can throw in a link to your Wikipedia page for fans who want to dig deeper.
Featuring music you love.
Artist’s pick gives you control over the music at the top of your artist profile. It’s a great way to tell fans about a track you’re featured on, announce your upcoming tour, showcase a new playlist, or shout out an album you’ve got on repeat.
Pick something you love — any track, album, podcast, or playlist — then add a cool behind-the-scenes image and short message about why you love it. Your artist’s pick lives at the top of your profile for two weeks (or if you pick a tour, until the day after the last show) and you can change it anytime you want.
Connecting with your fans.
By featuring playlists on your artist profile, you can give your fans an inside look at the music you love and the songs that inspire you. Artists like Diplo have built huge playlist followings, which they use to promote their own music, share the songs they’re playing on tour, and champion the new artists they discover.
Promoting your shows.
You want Spotify listeners to know whenever you’re in town. That’s why we work with Ticketmaster, Songkick, Eventbrite, and AXS to feature tour dates on your profile. We also recommend your nearby shows to your followers and frequent listeners over email and inside the Spotify app. We do whatever we can to help spread the word.
How To Get More Spotify Plays
These are easy tips and tricks to help you gain more streams on Spotify, gain new followers and get more plays. I have complied these from running over 7,000 campaigns via Playlist Push and working with thousands of artists of all genres of music over the past three years.
Desperate for those streams? I got you.
(1) Catalogue Consistency.Most artists sit on songs and only release several or in a lot of cases one record per year. On Spotify, it is in your benefit to get all of your songs onto the platform. Why? Because when you do have that one record that pops off potential listeners will be able to listen to other records/stream more of your music. For listeners, it’s very easy for someone to lose interest when you only have one song on the platform. Also, the more records you release the more chances you have to get on bigger playlists. Stick to the following formula:
(3) The shorter the better.
Are songs getting shorter? Some are, but mainly in the Hip Hop/Pop genres. If you are an instrumental artist, you don’t need to cut down a 6 minute masterpiece to 1:30. If you are a Hip Hop artist and still putting out songs that are over four minutes long you should rethink your process.
Additionally, for a Hip Hop artist the shorter the song the less writing and production, this enables you to crank out more songs. Examples of very short song would be Kodak Black — If I’m Lyin, I’m Flyin (2:10), Trippie Redd — Taking A Walk (2:01). The opposite would be the 12 minute song that starts off my Burning Man playlist, it makes sense and is a great intro track for the playlist. When it comes to song length, remember context and audience is key!
(4) Spotify for ArtistsSpotify for Artists GifThis one is by far the most UNDER UTILIZED tools that is FREE. I have seen artist with over 30,000 followers not submit their song to S4A. That is 30,000 Discover Weekly/Release Radar placements down the drain. Submitting your song 2 weeks prior to release is the most important box to check when releasing a new record on Spotify. Access Spotify for Artists
(5) Your distribution company is your best friendComplaining about your distributor on twitter, being an asshole over email is the quikest way to end up on the shitlist. Furthermore you will never gain access to the numerous marketing opportunities that come through DSP’s like Apple Music and Spotify. Services like Spotify are always reaching out to their network of distributors for certain types of songs for playlist placements or on platform marketing opportunities. Be nice to your distributor they are likely your greatest ally in the struggle to get heard!
(6) Use the “Splice” method.This one was pioneered by my friend and former artist manager Alex Mitchell-Hardt. The method is very simple.
Example of Kota the Friend using the Splice method.
(8) Cover art, Cover Art, COVER ART!Cover art, album covers whatever you want to call them were one of the biggest deciding factors of buying a new CD when I was a kid. Now it seems to be the most overlooked piece of a sucessful rollout. Intriguing artwork will not only draw in potential listeners you have a better shot of getting picked up by playlists. The better the artwork the more you look like an established arist.
(9) Forget about junk playlists.There are plenty of people out there running junk playists, some are named after soundtracks which means its mostly passive listeners. Even worse they are playlists with fake streams. When it comes to playlists keep the following in mind:
If you have a solid following on Twitter or Instagram, use these channels to not only notify your followers you dropped a new song but share playlists you have picked up along the way.
(11) Promotion.Do you take your music career seriously? If you do you need to consider Playlist Push. We have ran over 7,000 campaigns and have spent the past two years building our genre matching system to ensure your song is only going to the correct curators. Not only that setting up a campaign is as easy as the following.
This blog is dedicated to promoting recording artists. Submit at our Free Music Promotion page.
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