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Death of the Beat CD

18 Jun

A recent Twitter post from super producer Illmind got me thinking about how the “beat cd” has truly become obsolete. In 2009, I designed the MPC2000XL & SP-1200 Flash Drives with hip hop producers in mind. My original intention was to design a product that producers could use for beat shopping that would ultimately grab the attention of A&R’s, Managers, Rappers, etc. We live in a hyper competitive beat shopping market where A&R’s, Managers, and Artists get thousands of beat emails bombarded at them. Everyone has access to email and everyone has access to everyone’s email address. Competition is stiff. Prior to email submissions being the norm, producers and beat makers had to submit their beats via CD (Mail, Hand to Hand, etc.) and alot of people still do this.

However, Beat CD’s are obsolete for a few reasons:

  1. No one uses CD’s anymore. Industry leaders like Apple are phasing out optical drives (forward thinking…), consumers download their music & rip their music to iTunes (MP3 format), we stream our music via iPods to our car audio systems, etc.
  2. The process of getting beats off of a CD is slow and tedious. Ripping a CD is annoying. Pluging in a USB Drive, dragging and dropping, is a efficient & fluid process.
  3. CD’s are boring to look at & lack dual purpose functionality. A custom shaped USB drive is sure to grab the attention of anyone and as Illmind puts it… “cats like me need USB Drives”

Truthfully I could go on and on about why shopping your beats via CD’s is obsolete and a bad idea, but I think you get the idea. When it comes to shopping your music you generally only get one chance to make an enormous impression. Up and coming producers and beatmakers need to think outside the box… just a little, and invest some money into branding themselves. Presenting your music on a dope flash drive vs. a bland burned CD might be the foot in the door that lands you a sale. This is basic marketing 101.

For anyone interested in purchasing some dope USB Flash Drives to shop their music, I’ve set up a promo code (“25FLASH”) for for $24.99 Flash Drives. Thats $15 off the regular price. These things aren’t cheap to make or buy, but I guarantee they’ll get you plenty of attention and people will love carrying them around. Invest in yourself and your career!



Illmind & Yamaha NS-10M USB Drives

2 Jun

Shout out to Illmind for showing some love to the new Yamaha NS-10M USB drives available from

Marketing your music… A word on budgets

2 Jun

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a prior client of mine (via Facebook) about his budget for a music video. First off, in my opinion, Facebook is not the best way to reach out to a service provider (insert service here) about working together. Anyway, let me summarize the conversation… the client didn’t want to spend X amount of dollars on a music video for his artists Mixtape because “I’m not making any money off of it”. My video services were out of his budget (which was low). I charge X dollars to shoot and edit a music video, and won’t go below my established pricing. Its not worth my time or energy.

First off, the artist (“label owner”) had a flawed approach to his artists project/mixtape. Its 2012 and your music, videos, albums, and mixtapes should be viewed as advertising and promotion for your brand. Establishing a brand is extremely important and how you sell your brand and monetize it, an entirely different topic altogether, is up to you. However, artists and labels shouldn’t look at the ROI (return on investment) of a music video, mixing, and mastering in terms of forgone album sales. To say, “I’m not making any money off this project” is admitting failure before you even release your project. Just because you are giving away a mixtape or album for free doesn’t mean you can’t profit from it. Simply view the costs associated with producing a project or shooting a video as advertising and marketing dollars for your established brand vs. dollars invested that need to be recouped directly from the project.

Lets look at this a little differently. The label owner could get his merchandise game up and print up some really dope T-Shirts for his label/brand. He could also spend the extra money and get a quality, well shot music video for the Mixtape and do some simple product placement (his awesome new T-Shirts appear on everyone in the video). At the end of the video he could use a simple call to action, i.e. “Diggin the video and Brand X T-shirts? Visit our online shop to download the Mixtape Free and order a Brand X Shirt”. By viewing the mixtape and music video as advertising for his brand T-Shirts he has all of a sudden created a way to profit from what was otherwise expensive promotion for a FREE project.

Its not rocket science! Loyal fans will buy your music and merchandise, but they need to know you exist! Advertising and marketing your brand via music and video is one method of creating a buzz or awareness. Take it a step further, have a product or service available to your fans, don’t just create awareness or a buzz. Its a dead end road. Be prepared to spend money and invest in your music and understand that you won’t always recoup the investment through album sales and downloads. Build a fanbase, do paid shows, sell merchandise and albums, etc.


Interview with Founder & CEO Abe Batshon

20 Mar

1. Take a moment to introduce yourself to the readers.

Hi my name is Abe Batshon, CEO and Founder of BeatStars.

 Alkota: Over the last 10+ years I have been producing and selling beats, I have seen numerous beat selling sites come and go. It honestly feels like there is a new site every month trying to tap into the beat brokerage market.

2. What sets apart from the competition? How is it different than any other beat brokerage website on the internet?

I think BeatStars’ main focus has and always will be to support the thirst of an independent music community looking for professional high quality music compositions to create their next song. I think what sets us apart from anyone else out there in the space is that we are trying to build a creative resource that will be the cornerstone to the careers of the producer and songwriter

Alkota: has a legit roster of producers, some with some notable Indie and Major Label placements. Illmind and Vinny Idol both come to mind.

3. Why is so attractive to producers who already have Major Placement and sources of revenue?

We attract both the aspiring producer as well as established composers because of one common theme, – transparency and state of the art technology. We are in the middle of a digital music revolution where every content owner has so many options to distribute, monetize and share their work. We believe BeatStars provides any serious producer with all the tools they need to manage their business.


Digital Digging – Why I Quit Sampling Vinyl

26 Jan

I want to preface this quick article by saying, I will never quit sampling entirely. It is absolutely crucial to my sound and the way I make beats. However, the time has come in my career and musical journey to change direction. Since I began making beats, I’ve been diggin in the crates for samples to flip. During the last 2 years, I have been digging in other places for samples, specifically digitally. I know some die hard vinyl junkies and beat makers won’t understand my reasoning and truthfully i’m not here to debate my departure from getting my fingers dusty. This is meant to be an insight into a new way of doing things and hopefully my readers can gain something from my insight.

Sync Licensing –

During the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to license my music for Television and Media (Sync Licensing) and capitialize on a new revenue stream aside from selling beats to independent artists and labels. The problem (and I hesitate to say “problem”) with sync licensing is that original and sample free music is a requirement to license. If your music contains samples, it must be pre-cleared, meaning you fork over the sample clearing fees in hopes that your song will generate a revenue stream. Considering the price of sample clearance fees, it makes more sense to avoid sampling entirely and create sample free music. It takes time to create sample free music using live instrumentation and synths. Time spent learning new instruments, time spent engineering sounds to have the essence of vinyl, and time spent breaking free of the constraints of sampling. This equates to less time for diggin in the crates.

Digital Digging –

Let’s face it… everyone is digging in the crates for samples. The inherent problem with diggin for vinyl is that everyone is sampling the same material and diggin in the same spots. In order to get unique samples, you have to dig hard (in other countries) and spend money (trade shows, rare vinyl, etc.). If you are like me, geographically displaced (I live in Alaska) finding rare samples and vinyl isn’t easy or possible. Again, less time spent making music and more time searching for samples. If you thoroughly enjoy digging for vinyl and are passionate, it makes sense to continue diggin in the crates. However, there is a whole new world of music waiting to be chopped up.

Its 2012 and the Internet has opened up a whole new way to access samples for making beats. Digital digging. Spotify, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, and many other digital domains have become my modern day equivelent to the “milk crate”. There is tons of new music and genres to dig in and it is much easier to access digitally. Electronic, indie rock, new soul, etc. I’m big on workflow and efficiency, so it makes sense to spend less time finding samples while finding samples that less people are using.

Outsource your diggin –

Some people are going to disagree and even feel that it’s cheating, but I’ve outsourced my digging to some extent. I still want dusty samples! I want vinyl pop and crackle. I’ve been fortunate enough to run across a few diggers who send me samples to flip. It takes me 5 minutes to listen through the preview samplers and pick which tracks I want and bam… HQ Wav file is in my inbox 30 minutes later. You might call it cheating, I call it a competitive advantage. Again, less time physically digging for samples by taking advantage of a new workflow. I can knock out more beats and allocate more time to creating original music and honing in my mixing skills.

Love it or hate it, digital digging is acceptable and can change your workflow, creativity, and so much more if you are willing to embrace it.


iStandard Producers Scam? PMP Worldwide Hustle? Track Shopping Services

30 Nov

iStandard vs. PMP Worldwide vs…

Writing half way readable and reliavel blog posts requires a little research. Because of the topics overwhelming nature, I had to do a little extra investigating on this topic. During the last few weeks I conducted some research on various “production” forums such as Gear Slutz and Future Producers about track shopping services like iStandard Producers, PMP Worldwide, and Dynamic Producer. I came to the conclusion that there are still tons of skeptics of these track shopping services. Further, there are some serous misconceptions about what track shopping services should and could do for your career as a producer.


Diamond Media 360

14 Sep

Diamond Music Group Is Now Diamond Media 360, Inc.

Get at Matt Diamond & Diamond Media 360 for your next project! From Licensing, Production, Marketing, Consulting, and Digital Distribution, there is nothing that DM360 can’t handle in order to make your next project a success! Check out the official Diamond Media 360 Press Release Excerpt Below:

Diamond Media 360 is a one-stop, multi-dimensional marketing outfit designed to provide artists and indie labels with the tools to succeed in today’s music industry. By successfully adapting to the new media revolution, DM360 has calibrated a winning formula to help others thrive in this dramatically changing landscape. With major label experiencing an alarming decline in record sales, coupled with an oversaturation of music, artists must employ new strategies to get noticed. The internet, which plays host to countless social networks, lifestyle sites and blogs, have allowed artists to pave their own way. This is particularly true for independent music. Let’s face it, the same promotional tactics that got results five to ten years ago are simply outdated.  Navigating this enhanced marketplace is an effort that presents challenges, but by allowing DM360 to provide the proper consulting, new media technology, online marketing strategies and premium digital distribution services, artists and labels may begin to experience new thresholds of exposure, relevance and success. On behalf of DM360, we welcome you to review our detailed list of services and we look forward to working with you on your next campaign.

Visit the Diamond Media 360 Website for more information:


Exclusive Interview with The Arcitype – Original Beats and Relenteless Hustle

27 Jun

1. Introduce yourself to the readers who may not be familiar with The Arcitype

My name is The Arcitype, and I’m a hip hop producer based in Boston, MA. I’m originally from New York City but have lived in Massachusetts for 22 years now and have been in Boston for the last 8 of those roughly. I went to school out here and stayed after because I had found myself a nice place int he hip hop community out here and felt like it was a good place for me to set up shop. I run my own label, AR Classic Records, and produce for all the cats on there. I also my own full scale recording studio, The Bridge Sound & Stage in Cambridge, MA and have production credits with a number of artists including Kool G Rap, Edo G, Big Noyd, Ruste Juxx, Killa Sha & many more.

Alkota: I recently caught your beat making video on YouTube (via Crate Kings) . Pretty dope! You were making a sample free beat from scratch that sounded sampled.


2. Are all your beats sample free? Or do you dig in the crates too?

At this point I pretty much only make sample free work unless I’m specifically asked by an artist to sample. I used to sample all the time so I have plenty of beats that are sample based and I still have love for the whole process. I have THOUSANDS of records that I collected over numerous years and still love that feeling of finding something amazing of a record. But I will say that the feeling of making something completely from scratch that really hits hard is actually more gratifying for me. In the beginning I was making sampled and sample free work back and forth. I began to lean towards sample free because of clearance issues initially, and then it later built into publishing dollars for myself, my artists and my label so it was sample free from then on. My biggest goal in my sample free work is to try to make people think there is a sample in it, or for it to just be so hot it doesn’t matter haha. Nah but I really aim to give the music the feeling that sampling does without the legal issues. At this point I’d have to say I really do prefer making sample free work over sampled.

3. Are you a software or hardware beat maker/producer?

I mainly use Propellerhead’s Record and Reason. I do have an MPC 2500 and a 1000 that I did plenty of work on at one point, but at this point I really use Record the most. I did just recently pick up NI’s Maschine and have started to dabble in it here and there and it shows some promise, I just have to stack up some more VSTIs at this point. I prefer using Record at this point because it really gives me everything I need right at my fingertips and doesn’t get in the way of my thought/creative process. I have all my sounds right there, I’m always expanding and getting new sounds and I know the program so well I can just breeze through it. And now, with Record, anything that I want to add from outside of the program is easy because it allows audio recording straight into the software, so I’m able to add live guitars, basses, other keyboards, percussive elements, really anything I want or could imagine. the program doesn’t inhibit me at all. The sound quality is great, and and allows for me to really play with the tonal qualities of the parts. I can get everything from crystal clear to completely dirty, and the advantage of being able to bounce out all my stems in one click and bring them into Pro Tools only allows for more mixing and tweaking with little to no downtime at all.

4. Walk me through your workflow when you make a beat.

Well it’s never really the same. Sometimes I start on the keys or a synth, sometimes the drums, kinda depends. At times I will basically play around until I find something that catches my ear me and inspires something and then run with it while other times, I’ll sit down with a clear notion of what it is I’m going for and what I’m gonna do. All depends on the day. I will say that I pull inspiration from all sorts of places not just music, and that can often affect what comes out of the studio. I also listen to all kinds of music in my spare time so that will often play into what I sit down and try to capture. Like I said before, I really aim to make it the listener feel like there is a sample in the beat or that it’s on par with beats that are sampled, so I will play a lot of live instruments on my work to get that feeling, I will add live guitars, live bass, acoustic keys if need be. All depends on what the song is calling for and what I hear. I do have a couple little tricks that will stay with me in regards to making things sound more sampled, but the most important part for me is putting MUSIC into my work and not just hitting one note and laying some drums on top. I try to mix the beats to a place where they hit hard in Record knowing that I can take it further in Pro Tools. Depending on the beat I may put more time into it before shopping it, but often I can get them sounding nice enough out the box. At this point, I do always make my beats for an artist to work on. Doesn’t necessarily need to be a rapper, I have produced R&B joints as well, but I find that it’s important to not only give a voice to the tracks but to include a collaborative energy into a track so that I’m not the only one bringing something to the table. People like songs, and especially ones they can sing along with, so I need the aid of someone else with those talents for my products to be complete.

Alkota: Aside from making beats, I understand you own your own studio in Boston.

5. How did you come about owning your own recording studio?

Read the rest of the Interview by clicking here

Exclusive Interview with Matt Diamond: The Science Behind “Features”

20 Jun

1. Introduce yourself to the readers

My name’s Matt Diamond – I am a music entrepreneur that started the indie hip-hop label Coalmine Records back in 2005.  I’ve since launched Diamond Music Group – a full service marketing one stop that specializes in consulting, online marketing & pr, digital distribution, radio promo, production, graphic design and so forth.  I’m also the stateside rep for producer M-Phazes.

Alkota:  Let’s be honest, there is alot of music out there. Everyone is an artist in 2011. Getting an artist with some buzz on my record with me seems like a good way to get some buzz of my own.



1 Mar


Check out this interview with Alkota over at Audible Hype. If you aren’t familiar with Audible Hype, its time to GET FAMILIAR! Audible Hype is a premier DIY Marketing and Promotion Blog with Exclusive interviews with artists, producers, entrepreneurs, and label owners. The blog features a plethora of knowledge from successful entrepreneurs in the music business/industry. Check out Alkota’s Exclusive Interview Here.