So the question comes up a lot about mastering beats or preparing beats to sell. There seems to be a lot of confusion on what you should provide to potential clients as far as the quality of a beat, which format, and so on. So today we want to cover some of those topics and give you some insight into what type of files you should be creating, the different variations of that you should provide, and how you should approach the mix and master before giving it to an artist.
So should you master a beat?
So first of all let me get this disclaimer out-of-the-way. Typically your beats should not be mastered at all unless they are intended to be strictly an instrumental. When we sit down and compose a beat we typically have the intentions of preparing an instrumental that will then be sent to an artist to record vocals on top. In the normal audio production process the mixing and mastering stages don’t occur until everything is completely and finished being recorded or composed. Now this is one of those things just like anything else that always runs together. This is because typically you are doing some type of mixing when tracking and composing a beat. Here is a sound on sound article explaining why you should consider mastering at home.
A lot of beginners finish the production of their beat and don’t touch it. They then go up to their rendering options and render the file with the default rendering settings. They are not checking any levels and they are basically doing very subtle mixing without any type of loudness enhancement or maximization. Essentially just a straight export just as it was composed. Now this is may be the type of sound you’re going for and if it is that’s fine but if you have the intentions to sell a beat or make a potential hit song than you want to present it in it’s best possible form. So to contradict what we said in our earlier disclaimer you may want to master or increase the loudness of the final production before you put it out there to potential clients and artists.
Why should you master a beat
So lets go back to we said earlier. You’re probably thinking, what, why would I want to master a track before it has the vocals on it? We need to approach it with the point of view similar to any other company marketing a product. When you see a commercial for a fast food restaurant you see that food displayed in the best possible form and sometimes they even enhance it with plastic products instead of the real thing to make it look more appealing in the commercials. It’s essentially the same thing when trying to market your beats and music. You want to present it in the best form possible to entice clients and artists to purchase or use your music.
Why should you add hooks and tags to your beats
This is another reason why you see a lot of producers adding hooks to their beats as well as beat tags that match the beat similar to a hook. All of these things are showing a potential artist the potential of track. You know it almost applies to anything you would ever market or sell.If you’re selling cars you going to wash the car, if you’re selling candy you’re going to put in the shiny wrapper that entices people to pick it up. Treat your beats and music the same way. You want to gain attention and put them out in the best format possible to make them enjoyable to the listener.
Providing beats that are not mastered
So what do we do to get the highest quality instrumental in front of the artist and still provide them a non mastered product for them to layer vocals on top of it. Actually let’s Back up a little bit. The reason that we want to give the artist the non mastered version of the beat is because we want to leave room for the vocals. Once you master something it takes up all the headroom and it’s hard to get the vocals to set in with the mastered beat. It’s also similar to the reason that a lot of artists want the tracked out version of the beat opposed to the single wave or MP3 file. They want to be able to mix the elements once the vocals are recorded to the beat.
Providing a mastered and a non mastered beat
So let’s start with some recommendations here. First I recommend that you always present your beats at the highest quality when you put them on the Internet or sites that you want to showcase your work. Then when you send them to an artist you provide them the non mastered version along with the version that you had loaded on your website that they originally heard and enticed them into getting that beat from you. This way you give them the non mastered version that they can go back and layer vocals on top of and then master it when they complete the song. You also provide them with what they heard on the website so that there are no questions on what you provided them. Just let them know that when you send it to them so they know they have a non mastered version and a mastered version. Depending on the artist they may want a tracked out beat as well which will do a future post on.