I will tell you something I've learned from a recent interaction with a brand new client of mine. He came to my studio to record a song that he basically got from free off Youtube, (that was lesson one). I listened to the beat and it was simple af, nothing amazing about the production whatsoever. I was thinking to myself...what is it about this beat that made this dude want to use it? So he proceeded to record his hooks and verses and needless to say, his style sounded no different than the Lil' Uzi Verts, Migos, Lil Yachtys, 21 Savages, etc. I asked him how far he was into the project and if he needed anymore beats for his tape? He said let me hear your beats so I proceeded to play him a few. He didn't like any of them and instead of hate and say that my tracks sounded better than the ones he liked, I took it as an opportunity to learn something.
The beats he liked were simple, had very little instrumentation and were basically designed to make the rapper stand out. My production tends to be highly orchestrated with lots of instrumentation, sounds, and changes. I thought this was the winning formula but when you look at what some of the hottest songs in the country are such as "Bad and Boozie", those songs are very simple in composition. This is the shit that most of the artists that we want to sell to are into so at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how skilled of a producer you are, if that isn't the stuff your clients are buying then you won't be selling beats.
Now the flip side to this story...just before he came, I was working on a beat. It was super simplistic, just had an 8 bar loop going at that point and was about to add more instruments to it and all of a sudden, dude's ears perked up and he asked me if that was my beat? I was like yeah and he said, it's perfect just like that, don't add nothing to it, keep it simple. Now at this point, I'm sitting there thinking...the fuggk does this dude know about making beats to tell me that? All of a sudden it made sense to me...KEEP IT SIMPLE. I'm not going to add anything to it except for a slight change up for the hook and sell him that beat. If you look at cats like Mantra or any of the other cats on Beat Stars that you've listed who are selling, the one thing they truly have in common is their ability to cater to the needs of their clients. They've perfected that ability. I'm sure any of them are capable of producing master pieces that are technical in composition, they may even be classically trained at playing an instrument but none of that really defined the true reason why they are successful at what they are doing.
Marketing means absolutely nothing if you are not marketing something that people would be willing to spend money on so, rather than thinking you beats are not good enough start just looking at your production and ask yourself is this something that people would want to buy? All you have to do is look at the Billboard top 100, listen to those songs from an analytical perspective and follow the blueprint. Yes, I truly wish that I could sell beats based on my own personal preference of what I feel good music is but at the end of the day, I got in this game to sell music to artists, not to myself and if I'm going to do that then I will have give my customers what they are asking for. I had a client approach me about doing production for them after they booked a studio session with me. These guys were African and were looking for Dancehall, Reggae and Soca music very similar to that of OGE. Now this is not my fortay by any means but since I can play, I went on youtube and I had them send me some examples of what they were looking for. I am now 3 exclusive beats deep sold to them on top of getting paid to record, mix and master their stuff. I listened to what was asked, learned how to put it together and the beats sold themselves. This shit is like the dope game, you don't gotta add nothing to the weed, it sells itself you just gotta be in the right place at the right time with the product.
Hope yall benefitted from this read.