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One Hit Wonders And The "Scalable Music Artist"

20 Nov 2016

One Hit Wonders And The “Scalable Music Artist”

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Ever wonder why your favorite music artist never went big?


Yea you can say the business of Holly-Weird might’ve got to them.That the drug called Fame helped spin them out of control. Or that the artist was just riding a trendy-wave and new sound. But what about those artists that didn’t fall for that oky-doke? The ones who were straight-edge, had personal issues or lived private lives and just faded away?


What happened?




Music is a commodity and music artists are a “dime a dozen”. The internet gave us more opportunities for music exposure at the expense of low production and value. 1000’s of websites and radio shows with hundreds of 1000’s more artists and personalities to cover and talk about.


Everybody’s a “music artist” now, but not everyone knows how to actually do it and be successful.


If you’ve been in the music business and game long enough, than you already know this. But it’s because of this very thing, the over-saturated and cluttered music market, that we have so many one hit wonder artists.


And it can mean more money in YOUR artist pockets if you know how to cut through the B.S.


Here’s how…(scaling)




If you’ve ever watched boxing or Olympic sports that included weight classes, this is the best way I’ve been able to learn how to make money with your audio business or career. You’ve got to “scale your craft” in business terms, or in other words offer multiple prices for a product based on your audience.


When you’re a weight class athlete, you are giving the options of staying in your weight class or moving to other ones. You can earn different championships and rewards, all based on how much you weigh.


Different weight classes gives opportunities for boxers to develop new skills, and boxing fans get to see more exciting bouts because of the quality of boxers. A Win-Win for boxing promoters and venues.



But the real trick, is that the boxing agencies make money from offering different weight class matches that appeal to those specific fans of those matches. Just like how record companies offer different shows based on genres of music (instead of weight classes).


And if you’re a boxer with one good punch or an artist with one hit song, you’re playing yourself. You leave yourself open for someone else to come in and take your spot, and offer a better show than you. All because of leaning on that “one hit”.


And at that point it’s like going a whole boxing match and only THROWING one punch you know hits…but throwing nothing else.


So how do you scale and make money?




One of the best ways I’ve been using to make money with my music, beats in this example, has been to offer 3 prices for the same beat (scaling).


Based on your budget and what you are willing to spend, you can buy a beat with a Leasing, Standard or Exclusive license at $20, $50 and $100. Each license gives you particular rights for using the beat in your music like royalties, production credits and the length of the license.


And it increased sales out of no where. Why?


Because the artist really wants your production. But they also want a deal because most artists are broke or on a tight budget. But that’s not every artist.


There are artists who invest and those who cut corners, and there are 3 types of investing artists

  • The Cheap Artist (opportunity artists) – the artist that always looks for shortcuts and deals, free beats, and will fight tooth and nail with you on paying even $20
  • The Serious/DIY Artist (artist on a tight-budget) – the artist that has no problem investing into their career, does the majority of the work themselves and is juggling between things
  • The “Drop A Stack On It” Artist (large investment artist) – the artist that will “overspend” on a product because they believe the quality is worth it to them


So as a music producer I can now offer the same product to 3 different types of artists with different budgets. It also serves as a way to get people to stop haggling you on your price (for the most part). Now you can say “I sell beats for $20, $50 & $100…pick one”.


Obviously your sales pitch should be better than that, and there’s even the question of “should I deal with cheap minded artists?”, but you get the point I’m making. There are numerous ways to scale your craft or business, but you only need one scale model to work. Try this as an example



  • Tagged beat MP3/WAV
  • non-commerical use (promotion use only)
  • must give producer credit


  • untagged beat MP3/WAV
  • 2 commercial uses (i.e. 1 song, 1 video)
  • must give producer credit


  • untagged beat MP3/WAV + track stems
  • unlimited commercial uses
  • must give producer credit




The bottom line, is no one wants to have a one hit wonder career when you have so much more to offer. The real problem is getting artists to see themselves as an artist that can get bigger, and not “I’m already big” mentality. If you were already big, you’d be selling your music no problem because people KNOW you and WANT to pay for something they KNOW.


Did you find this helpful? Are you still struggling with scaling your music products and climbing over that next hill? Leave a comment below

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