Hip-Hop producer PoetiCS shared some thoughts about how to approach producers online if you are an artist in need of beats.
If you want to be taken seriously in the music industry it is recommended you act professionally and learn to read situations. Different producers have different workflows. Some artists do not want to work professionally and then get upset when producers do not want to work with them. Recently, I have had an influx of artists reaching out to me wanting to do work because of tracks I have produced for KJ-52, Doxamillion, Plain James, and more. I figured now is as good a time as ever to give some tips to new artists wanting to reach out to a producer.
Do not assume you will get something for free
Producing is not a hobby for producers. A quality producer has spent a lot of money to get the equipment they have. Omnisphere 2 is $480, Nexus is $249, Serum is $190, and Massive is $150. These are just virtual synths, these do not include mixing software, special effects, etc.
Most producers have invested hundreds and hundreds of dollars on sounds and will take it as a personal hit on their work if you assume that they will do anything for free. Some producers (me included) will give discount rates to close friends or special circumstances, but if you are just now reaching out to a producer and assume something in regards to price it is likely you will be left on seen.
Have links to music that prove you have QUALITY
Every producer sees every beat they make as a baby. We raise them from nothing, and we make something we are proud of. We want to know when someone is taking our baby from us that they will treat them right. It’s not just about having a big name, (unlike most rappers assume,) it is about knowing a good song will come out of the beat.
When you reach out to a producer make sure you have at least a MINIMUM of two or three songs recorded. These cannot be demos you recorded on your phone, or God bless your soul if you send me a video of you freestyling. Also, know the styles of the producers. If you are hitting me up for a beat and the tracks you send me are boom-bap then it is obvious that you have not invested in actually listening to any of my music, you have just heard my name. There are plenty of quality boom-bap artists to fit the style.
Every producer has had that one message they do not even leave on seen, instead they do not even open it. You see “one new message,” click on your Instagram DMs and see the little snippet for the message “Yo, wuttup bruh, I herd ya stuff, ya boy.” I can not stress enough how much this will hurt your career. 98% of producers WILL NOT open these messages. However, if your message starts with “I heard your work, your sound is different,” that is a lot more likely to be received. Another part of being professional is being about your business. Have money prepared, have links prepared, be ready to work. Producers can sense the hunger in a young artist. We can tell who is going to blow soon, and who can grind harder than other artists.
Do not expect instant replies
Producers are very busy people. We are creative but we also have analytical minds which means we often take on way too many projects at once. Like I said early with my recent workload and songs I have produced being dropped, I have had a huge influx of people messaging me. If I could respond to every instrumental quickly I would, but then I would get no songs produced! Now imagine what it’s like for even bigger producers!
Do not spam
Nothing is more annoying than a copy and pasted message. “Hello! I am a young Christian rapper from…” (with an attached link). Even if I do click your link my one play will not make you famous. When you message someone you are putting a brand on yourself. Do you want to brand yourself as the artist that will do anything to get one listen, or do you want to brand yourself as an artist who is wanting to build and learn from people, and someone who is going to be in the music industry for the long haul. Work harder for a listen. You can do great things, and spam just shows that you’re trying to take the easy way out when it comes to networking.
Do not ask me to abuse my connections
Just because a producer has produced a song for an artist does not mean they are willing to risk abusing their friendship with an artist to get you on a song with them. Most big-time artists are very touchy because EVERYBODY tries to use them. If you spend enough time building with a producer you will likely be connected with the artists they work with. Once again it comes down to branding yourself. Do you want to be the artist that is in it for the long haul or the artist that just uses people to get to the bigger people they want to work with?
Do not take critiques negatively
Producers are picky when it comes to sound because they create sound. They are very critical of sound. If you hit up a producer asking to work, and they ask you to show them your music, and then they critique your work do not take it personally. Producers are way more analytical than the average listener. Most likely the producer is just being picky, but if you respond to their critiques negatively they are way less likely to end up working for you. If you respond negatively to one person than imagine how you would respond if you release a song and the masses don’t like it. Keep it professional. You have to have thick skin in the music industry.
Mixing, Mastering, Remixing, etc, are not free because you purchased
Would you message an engineer and say “I bought a beat by another producer, would you engineer the song for free?” Would you message a person who mows lawns and says “I know you mow lawns, but if I pay you to mow my lawn could you also paint my house.” Producing is very different from mixing and mastering. All these things take a lot of time and money. They are both very important and you can’t have one without the other, but they are not exclusive to each other.
Do not use faith to haggle
It shows a bad representation of character to assume just because you are a Christian you can cheat another Christian out of their hard work. Producers work extremely hard and their instrumentals have their blood and sweat, and the fact that some artists would choose to abuse the beliefs of another person for personal gain shows once again that they are willing to cut corners and do anything to be famous. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Remember: Be Humble, Sit Down
Kendrick said it best. Be humble, sit down. Remember you are reaching out to a producer because you want something from them. Being humble means do not act like you are above them. You are on the same level. CHH rappers and CHH producers have the exact same mentality, and that mentality is to spread the gospel through music. The interaction between a producer and rapper can be mutually beneficial.1st Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”