Airbit vs Beatstars vs GoBuyBeats…what’s the difference?
Want to sell beats full-time and quit your day job?
Maybe you just want to make some side hustle money?
Either way you slice it selling beats online can be a very lucrative business model.
How do you build a music production business that converts?
Can a music producer or beatmaker do it as a one-person team? Or do you need additional help?
To answer these questions, let’s highlight what a successful music production business looks like.
Being successful selling beats online requires:
- High-quality beats and instrumentals
- A music marketplace where you can promote your beats
- Patience and determination
Do you possess all three? Awesome!
If not, don’t worry. This article will help you figure things out.
Let’s first start off by breaking down why each item is important to becoming a top seller.
Making High-Quality Beats and Instrumentals
You don’t need a multi-million dollar production studio to become a beatmaker or producer.
On the contrary, many producers build their empires in their bedrooms using music production software such as FL Studio, Splice, and Soundtrap.
However, the software doesn’t produce quality music; you do!
Here are a few suggestions to consider when producing music:
Install a better soundcard
Install a high-quality soundcard in your computer.
Mac users won’t usually have a problem (Mac sound quality is fantastic!), but Windows users may need to shelve out some cash to purchase a better soundcard.
ASIO soundcards are usually supported in all major beat-making software, but visit your local pro audio retailer to get more information.
Better soundcards are able to output more pristine audio at higher bit rates.
Buy an instrument-rich DAW or sampler
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) are software applications that allow producers to sample, sequence, and produce music all in one place.
DAWs can have a hefty price tag, but they are essential to music producers and beatmakers. Some of the top DAWs for music production are:
All of the above software range in features and price so choose the right one based on its features and your budget.
For beginners, FL Studio or Studio One (which is available on Splice as a subscription), is usually the preferred choice.
To further enrich your sounds, you could also purchase sound kits, loops, and samples online. Just Google “buy royalty-free samples” or “buy loops”.
Sell beats as final mixes and track-outs
Generally, producers sell beats as either a final mix or as a set of track-outs.
A final mix is a WAV or MP3 file containing just the beat with all instruments combined into one mono or stereo audio track.
ile is a ZIP containing a set of WAV or MP3 files. Each file represents one instrument track (i.e. file 1 is drums, file 2 is violin, file 3 is bass, etc).
Do you want to sell your beat or instrumental as a final mix or as a track-out?
The answer to this question usually depends on the following:
- the price of your beats
- The music marketplace platform on which you sell your beats
- The customer’s requirements
As a beginner producer, it’s suggested to create both final mixes and track-outs of all your beats.
Customers often request that instrumentals be “tracked out” so that they can manipulate the various instruments during the recording, mixing, and mastering process.
Sell beats in WAV or high-quality MP3 format
This is a tough one!
The decision to sell beats in WAV or MP3 format will again depend on the customer’s requirements.
WAV (wave) files are uncompressed audio files that retain most, if not all, of the original quality of audio. In simplest terms, WAV files usually provide the MOST pristine audio quality, but as a trade-off, have a larger file size.
MP3 files are compressed audio files. File compression involves encoding files at various bit rates to reduce file size. MP3s are the preferred file format for transferring audio files between computers and systems, and most music stores online sell downloads in MP3 format.
However, the lower the bitrate of the MP3 file, the lower the quality of the audio.
To get the best quality at a modest bitrate, encode your MP3 files with a bitrate between 192kbps and 320kbps.
How to Make Money Selling Beats Online
If you’re still reading this article, you’re more than likely interested in selling your music to make money. Dollar, dollar bill ya’ll!
According to several sources online, U.S. music producers earn between $35,000 – $60,000 annually.
These figures fall within the range of the average American salary! And the best thing is…your earnings potential is uncapped.
So, now you’re asking: “how can I get started with selling beats online?”.
There are generally two main ways to offer your beats for sale:
- Self-promotion of your own website
- Signing up for a music or beat shop/marketplace
While we believe strongly in the power of grassroots promotion of your own website (in fact, you could do this in tandem with other marketing initiatives), this article will expand on the opportunity provided by music marketplaces such as Airbit, Beatstars, and our very own, GoBuyBeats.
Airbit vs GoBuyBeats vs Beatstars
No matter which music marketplace you join, you will inevitably be getting exposure to musicians, artists, and fans looking for new beats to purchase.
Which one is best for you? Let’s discuss this…
Airbit is one of the world’s largest online beat marketplaces. It connects producers, artists, and songwriters together for networking opportunities.
Key Features of Airbit
- Automatic sending of beats and contracts upon ordering
- Keep 100% of your sales (except if sold via their Youtube Content Program)
- Keep 80% of your sales sold via the Youtube Content Program
- Connect to your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Beats can be tagged and untagged
- Beats are offered in various file formats
- Payments are accepted via PayPal Debit
Key Pitfalls of Airbit
- You are a small fish in a gigantic pond (LOTS of competition)
- Hard to gain front page exposure due to the platform’s huge user base
Beatstars is a platform on which music producers can lease beats to artists, songwriters, and other producers and beatmakers. Founded in 2008, Beatstars has achieved international acclaim by establishing connections with multi-platform and Grammy award-winning producers over the years.
Key Features of Beatstars
- Producers can lease beats to multiple artists to maximize earning potential
- Collaboration feature to build a team (i.e. songwriter, artist, producer) and split the sales earnings between everyone
- In-app social feature for connecting with other artists and producers
- An embeddable music player that can be added to any website or blog
- Build widgets that can be embedded on any website or blog
- Create your own membership subscriptions and charge customers monthly
- Keep 80% of your sales
- Payments are accepted via PayPal, credit card, or Stripe
Key Pitfalls of Beatstars
- Again, small fish, BIG pond
- A free subscription plan is limited to 10 beat uploads
Our very own site, GoBuyBeats.com, when compared to Airbit and Beatstars, is rather new. It was founded in 2020 and has a very simplistic approach to selling and leasing beats online.
Despite its age, GoBuyBeats’ user base is growing steadily. While some might prefer Airbit’s and Beatstars’ rich feature set, most GoBuyBeats users prefer the low competition environment.
Key Features of GoBuyBeats
- Upload beats and instrumentals for exclusive purchase or lease
- Keep 80% of your beat sales
- Sell beats to other producers, fans, and artists in a short checkout process
- New beats are automatically promoted on GoBuyBeats Twitter account
- Payments are processed via Stripe (PayPal coming soon)
- Completely free to join – no subscription plans!
Key Pitfalls of GoBuyBeats
- Not as advanced as Airbit and Beatstars
- No PayPal support
- Best suited for beginner and intermediate producers
So, I signed up for these sites. What’s next?
Signing up for a digital beat marketplace is just the first step to becoming a world-renowned music producer.
The next step is to devise a pricing strategy.
Depending on the marketplace you joined (we suggest signing up for all three), you’ll need to figure out pricing based on several factors:
- Your current popularity
- Prior sales history
- Demand for your beats
- On-site competition
- Beat quality
Let’s break each point down a little further…
Your current popularity
Do you already have a buzz? If you do, you can usually increase your pricing by 20-40% safely because people see value in your work.
Prior sales history
Even if you aren’t very popular, your sales history can help! When artists and songwriters see the number of plays, downloads, and other key metrics, they are more prone to purchase from you.
Hence, it is expected that the more you sell, the easier you’ll sell.
Be careful about raising your prices at this stage. We recommend only increasing your prices by $0.50 to $1.00 at a time – unless you have INSANE growth!
Demand for your beats
More and more sales will come (almost effortlessly) once you start to build a brand. Demand increases as sales increase.
As sales continue to grow, try finding the sweet spot for your pricing. If you notice sales slow down after a price increase, try to confirm that the slowdown indeed is a result of the price increase. Then, adjust accordingly.
Does the marketplace offer poor visibility to your producer page?
Do your competitors get noticed first every time you sign in or reload the page?
If the answer to both questions is “yes”, then you’ll need to do some extra work to get noticed.
Consider uploading more eye-catching artwork, offering free downloads, and sharing your beats on social media.
Once you gain traction from free downloads, social shares, and awesome artwork, upload your best beats and set your prices 10% lower than your competitors.
Why 10%? Because a 10% gap in price is usually a safe place to be in case your competitor reacts by lowering their prices. Chances are that your competitor won’t drop prices more than 10% UNLESS they’re struggling to make sales.
PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
Here are several ideas for promoting your music further to maximize outreach and earnings:
This one could have been the first on the list, but it isn’t because it’s normally what most producers assume is the reason why no one’s buying their instrumentals.
If you’re still not making sales after “fixing” the other items above, take a step back.
Everything will be OK…
Great! Now let’s focus on beat quality. The best way to describe this is by using a metaphor.
Imagine going into a used car to purchase a vehicle. You first see a gorgeous Chevy Camaro (throwback!) with a great sounding engine, powerful engine, and all the bells and whistles.
The car salesman keeps trying to sell you a 2000 Hyundai Elantra, with the same mileage as the Camaro.
And to top things off…the Hyundai Elantra is ONLY 10% lower in price compared to the Camaro.
Be honest…which one would you buy?
Well, that might not be the BEST example, but what we’re trying to explain is…
Sometimes price is not the only determining factor that drives people’s buying intent.
As a top-notch producer, it is your duty to ensure that all beats are of the best possible quality. Try to avoid doing the following:
- Encoding MP3 files in bitrates less than 192kbps
- Stealing or plagiarizing someone else’s work
- Using only loops in all your beats – get more creative!
- Only selling beats in MP3 or WAV format – sell in both formats!
Hone your craft. Listen to other producers and what they’re doing to be successful. Don’t copy them, just study their art.
Most importantly, look at their pricing structure. If they are priced lower than you, but their beats sound higher-quality, try lowering your rates or running special campaign offers.
Some Final Words
As a beatmaker or producer, you have to grind with consistency and persistence. Leave no stones unturned, and keep promoting your beats to the masses.
Remember to build your toolset with the right kind of DAW. Keep your sound fresh by acquiring sound kits, loops, samples, and new digital VSTs. Throw in a few live instruments as well!
Finally, utilize the power of the internet to build your brand. Sign up for GoBuyBeats, Airbit, AND Beatstars to gain more exposure to your beat library. Don’t assume that customers will come flocking to your beat shop or page; constantly promote your page on social media, Google Ads, and other popular media.
To sign up for a free GoBuyBeats account, click here to get started.