8 Things I Wish People Told Me Earlier About Being a Producer
Christian hip-hop producer PoetiCS has been making quite a name for himself in the community. The last two years has seen him work with almost everyone in the industry big and small. He took the time out to write an editorial on what it’s like to be a producer.
1.) Your best placements will come from genuine friendships
I have people hit me up all the time saying, “How did you get beats to this person? I have reached out to them so many times with no response.” Most artists want to work with somebody they know personally and get along with. Whether it was Canon, KJ-52, Surf Gvng, or any other major placement I made, I had built a friendship with them in person long before I made music with them. Do not take it personally if you send beats to an artist and they do not even open the email until you have become friends with them.
2.) Sometimes you’re not going to get your money
A lot of the time the music industry is a fight over pennies. It is not worth it to burn bridges with people over 50 bucks. There are artists you will work with who will never pay you. They have a following, they have respect in the industry, they have money, but they are not going to do a song produced by you if they have to pay you for it. In situations like this, I recommend making swaps. “I will give you a free beat if you do a verse for one of my songs.” Also, this shows genuine interest in the fact that you just want to work with them because you like their music.
3.) Build a brand for yourself
God has blessed me with a lot of big opportunities to produce songs for some big artists, but the most connections I’ve had with people are because of my solo music. I have released producers singles through 2018. A consistent sound and style have helped me build a following on Spotify. People message me for beats a lot of the time just cause they saw my name in a Spotify playlist, or they heard my tag on a song or playlist. These situations did not happen because I posted a beat on Beatstars or spammed a rapper’s email. Most of these situations were 50/50 collaborations with artists for singles.
4.) Music pays, but slowly…
With technology being so developed we get used to things being done very quickly, but that is just not how it works with music. If you are getting some good streams on a song on Spotify or Apple Music you can celebrate because you will definitely have money coming in, but be prepared to wait for it. The real money will come from consistency. Most songs take 5-7 months before distributors will start sending you the money you earned. This is why so many artists will drop songs consistently (even weekly in some cases) because the more monthly listeners you got, the more you can expect to get some inflow of cash. Couple this with how most Spotify playlists completely update weekly.
5.) Quit waiting to pay for things
Do not think I mean “be reckless with your finances.” That is not what I am saying at all. It is easy to think, “Wow, this promoter wants $150 for a Spotify playlist pitch. I can’t afford that.” Realistically $150 is very accessible. Many people eat out every day. They will spend 10-20 dollars a day on lunch, coffee, or dinner. If you are serious about your music career put money aside monthly just for promotion. There are good opportunities to be on Spotify playlists, on blogs, get on Instagram pages for 50-300 dollars. The quicker you pay for those things the quicker you will see your numbers start to go up!
6.) Find your own lane
Hip-Hop & R&B are everywhere. There are lanes for all different producers. What works for some producers is not the lane for all producers. My personal lane is the exclusive lane. When someone buys a Poetics beat I am selling them exclusive rights to the beat. They will never have to worry about someone else buying the beat. That is my niche and part of the reason is I am making 13-20 beats a week. That is not the lane for everybody though. There is room in hip-hop for Zaytoven and there is room for Dr. Dre. Hip-hop needs people that can make a fire beat in 20 minutes, and hip-hop needs room for people that can only make one beat a week because they are so focused on crafting the sound. Some people should focus on selling 25 dollar limited leases, some people should focus on selling $300 exclusive rights tracks. Both can make money. Other producers aren’t your competition.
7.) Wait until you are ready
It is easy to download FL Studio and get started making beats and think, “I am ready to produce a beat for someone really famous.” THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO. Nothing will tarnish you quicker than sending beats out before you are ready. There are people who still ignore my messages because two years ago I sent some trash beats to them. I recommend surrounding yourself with people who will give you honest feedback. Find a good 25-30 people who are willing to listen to your beats, send them a few, the people that tell you they are trash are your new people you will always send to. As you develop and get better eventually those people will tell you when you are ready to send them out.
8.) (For CHH) Know where God wants you. Strive toward that
When I was younger I was a rapper, or at least that’s what I would tell people. I was garbage. The music I would put out as a rapper was subpar. God was giving me every sign possible that I shouldn’t be a rapper, but I always felt the selfish desire to “stay true” to what I wanted to be. Eventually, I had the realization that God wanted me to be a producer and not a rapper, and after I made the decision to follow his plan for where he wanted me to be it has been nonstop blessings. Sometimes we are oblivious to the truth because we are in our own world. God is giving us sign after sign that we shouldn’t be a rapper but we don’t want to swallow that pill so we put our spin on it.
“The music I make isn’t for everybody.”
“The Industry sleeps on me.”
“Eventually they will realize how good my music is.”
I live by the belief that if you know God’s plan and you combine that with work ethic no matter what you will be successful, but if you don’t know God’s plan and have work ethic you could be working for something that was never meant to be. God is trying to make you the best engineer of all time, but NO you want to be a rapper. God is trying to make you a great manager for an artist, but NO you want to be focused on being a rapper. I recommend taking the time to stand back and take a subjective look at your career. Has God been giving you the signs of where to go? I recommend his plan, its been working for me.