Being Unique is Recession Proof
The music production game has changed quite drastically over the past decade. With music production gear being made easier to use and easier to purchase (or pirate), it seems as if there are new producers popping up almost daily. As a result, the supply of beats in general is massive compared to previous years. This is especially magnified with the addition of thriving online production marketplaces such as Soundclick. This over saturation of the production market can sometimes leave producers feeling as if they are being overlooked. As a solution, they assume that duplicating the sound and prices of the more successful producers in the game will yield them the same success. Unfortunately, that is not true. Your financial success as a producer is not about other producer’s prices or what sound other producers are doing. It all boils down to you having a unique selling proposition (USP).
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A USP is essentially what sets businesses in the same industry apart from each other. For music producers, a USP is a unique attribute of your production or brand that causes clients to desire it strongly. Desire is a powerful thing. Consumers will purchase what they desire rain, sleet, snow, or shine. Without having a strongly desirable product, your success will be a slave to other factors (pricing, what’s current, etc). This is why above all other factors, developing a USP for your business is imperative. There are multiple ways to be unique, but in this article I will focus strictly on two of the most powerful ways to create a USP: your sound and branding/marketing.
A producer should be as well rounded musically as possible. Don’t get trapped (no pun intended) in one style. Whatever styles you decide to flourish in, find a way to put a unique twist on them. Focus on throwing a special flavor on your intros, transitions, bridges, breakdowns, and endings to take the listener on a journey with every beat you create. Throw something new in every few bars. You have to keep the listener intrigued because humans have a very short attention span. Switch things up and keep pushing the envelope with your sound. Every time you sit down to create, aim to make music that is undeniable. Constantly develop, experiment, and enhance your craft. In doing this, overtime you will identify distinct characteristics that stick out. Work on strengthening those characteristics and you’ll most likely find your unique sound. It took me 6 years to find my sound.
Branding/marketing is a major area where producers drop the ball. Marketing is not simply telling people about your beats. Promoting just beats will only get you so far. It’s about marketing you as person. Your clients have to be sold on you as a person before they feel intrigued to buy anything from you, even if your beats are hot. Since you can’t most likely meet all your clients in person, you have to use tools like your website (your own domain not just Soundclick), logo, email list, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as extensions of who you are as a person. Make sure these tools are representative of your uniqueness! Get your logo designed in a way that just uniquely screams who you are. This way when people see your logo, there is an instant connection to your brand. Huge brands, like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have used logos for decades because the human brain makes connections with pictures much faster than words. For instance: Have you ever been on the interstate and noticed the signs that appear before the next exit? In representation of the gas stations and restaurants that will be found off of that exit, they place logos on the signs. Instead of having to read words while going 80 MPH, you can quickly identify each company by their logo. Your logo is very powerful so take it seriously. I highly suggest Bdunn at www.bdunngraphics.com for all your graphic needs. He created my logo.
If you’re selling beats online, your website should graphically be an extension of your logo. This further solidifies your brand in the eyes of the client. Keep the design clean, fast, convenient, and efficient. Make it unique, but simple. Don’t go overboard! Too much stuff on your website will confuse the visitor and distract them.
Use your email list, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter to communicate your uniqueness to your clients/potential clients. More specifically, Youtube is very powerful for this. Most humans are audio-visual learners so videos are very powerful for retention of information. Videos also give the client more of a personal feeling as they see and hear you communicating a message to them. Use this to your advantage by showcasing your uniqueness through beatmaking videos, video blogs, etc. Advertise your website at some point in these videos and spread them through your social media accounts and through your email list. If you don’t have an email list yet, you’re missing out on one of the main things that will allow you to set your self apart through constant communication. Check out companies like Aweber, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc.
Pricing is also a part of your marketing/brand. There are a lot of split opinions on prices amongst producers, but I’d say find what works best for you and do it. Your situation is going to be different than another producer’s situation so your price will be different as well. Make your own prices. In whatever you decide, I suggest taking a diversified approach. Have specific prices for specific markets (Online vs Offline, Lease vs Exclusives, etc). Find a way for everyone who strongly desires your brand to be able to access it in some price bracket. Even huge corporate brands have an alternative affordable solution for people who desire their brand but can’t afford the more expensive items. This ensures that you don’t overlook potential sources of income.
Business is supply and demand. You never want to be the person stuck in the sound that has more supply than demand. A mass amount of people may not catch on to your sound/brand at first, but I promise you, if what you have is undeniable, people will catch on. As word of mouth develops, it becomes a snowball effect. Your music will promote itself reaching places you couldn’t reach on your own. I’m talking from experience. From sales to listener responses, there is a huge difference between doing what’s popular (that everybody else can do) and operating in a niche market that you’ve established for yourself. In your uniqueness you build value and demand that lasts no matter what the market does. USP is the name of the game folks! God has already put everything you need inside of you. What flows naturally from your heart is your greatest asset as a producer. Do you.