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How Beat Maker d.C. Makes Money Placing Beats on T.V. Shows

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Original interview by www.indiehiphop.net in connection with Tru-Urban.com

Beat maker, producer, d.C. has been on this blog a number of times in connection to projects he’s been involved with. But lately, he’s expanded his talents into the lucrative world of music licensing. Many beat makers know about it, but few know how to break in the break into the business. I interviewed d.C. so that he could share some of his knowledge and experience.

IHH: Where are you from?

d.C.: Los Angeles, CA

IHH: How did you get into making beats?

d.C.: I started in music as a DJ. I was more into battling / scratching than mixing so even from the beginning I was more passionate about making my own music as opposed to playing other people’s music. As more and more of my friends stopped DJing, I started gravitating more toward producing and here I am now.

IHH: Who have you gotten placements with?

d.C.: As my goals are predominantly driven by music / sync licensing, I stopped focusing my efforts on placing beats with artists. I’ve worked with Method Man, Gyptian, Dominique Larue, M Dot, Born I Music, Doey Rock, Gleams, J. Nolan, The Seed among a few others. With that said, I’ve had music placed Power, Madam Secretary, Ray Donovan, American Crime, The Challenger, Lullaby, Gimme Shelter and probably every US reality TV show under the sun.

IHH: What exactly is music licensing and how did you discover it as a source of income?

d.C.: In a nutshell music / sync licensing is the licensing of music for synchronization with moving pictures in a motion picture, television program, video, DVD, etc. All the music you hear on TV shows, movies, radio commercial, web ads, and video games are all forms of music / sync licensing.

I stumbled on music / sync licensing when I was attending a conference at SAE NY. The conference put together a panel on music / sync licensing and not knowing what it was, I decided to check it out. One of the panelists was from Pump Audio, a huge music library at the time. After the panel, I ran home, started doing extensive reach on Pump Audio and started creating a catalogue to submit to them.

IHH: What advice would you give to beat makers trying to duplicate your success?

d.C.: The cliche but truthful answer is have patience. It was very slow going at the start for me so it was discouraging at times but one day things just clicked and I reached a tipping point. Music supervisors and music libraries just started coming directly to me for tracks because they heard what I submitted in the past as well as my track record.

Also, there was a lot of learning and figuring out what music worked as well as the proper format / arrangement. For instance, tracks need to have movement. They need to grow and evolve. A typical 4 bar Hip-Hop loop won’t cut it. You have to remember that your music is helping set a pace to a scene so you have to be able to convey emotions through your music.

I think the biggest thing that held me back, though, was not challenging myself enough. For a couple of years, I was hellbent on churning out the same type of music over and over again and eventually the placements started declining. Who knows, if, from the get go, I focused on experimenting and creating a rich, full catalog, my circumstancing may be a little different now.

IHH: Have you ever gained any worthwhile opportunities by giving away free beats?

d.C.: A ton! I give away free beats all the time. I’ve built a community of artists that I constantly send free beats to that are used for their projects as well as music licensing opportunities. I learned a long time ago that selling beats, much like the music industry, is on a downward spiral. Why sell a beat for $25-200 dollars upfront when I could look long term, develop a relationship with the artist and make continual residual income for years to come.

IHH: What are you working on these days and what are you listening to?

d.C.: I’m constantly bouncing back and forth between working on instrumental cues and tracks for artists. I try to create all genres of music but I’m always putting my Hip-Hop touch to everything I make.

I listen to everything because I never know what’ll influence me. Currently, I have a Spotify playlist of about 3,000 songs that I need to listen to so I usually just pick a random spot and hit play. While writing this, I bounced from Dilla to Finish Ticket to Bonobo to Mogwai to Tinariwen.

IHH: Anything you want to plug?

d.C.: For anyone interested in music / sync licensing I put together over 3 years of research into a directory of over 200+ music libraries. The directory includes lifetime updates as well as a special email address that gives direct access to me for any questions, concerns, tips and tricks. Head over to soulplusmind.com for more info.

You can connect with d.C. at…

Twitter: @dcsoulplusmind
Instagram: @dcsoulplusmind
Website: soulplusmind.co

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