Mantra Explains How Producers Can Be Successful On BeatStars
Mantra has been topping the BeatStars charts and Billboard charts for some time now and it’s very rare he gives an in-depth interview like the one he gave us.
DJ Pain 1 had the pleasure to speak with Mantra about his online beat-selling business, and all the hard work that went into building his brand.
Mantra also gives some valuable tips and suggestions that can help the producer community 🙏
DJ Pain 1: You’re regarded as one of the top, if not the top-selling producer within the global online production marketplace. Is that an accolade you acknowledge?
Mantra: It feels great knowing my music resonates with a lot of artists, but I don’t like to think of myself as being one of the top sellers, I think that could be a bit distracting.
DJ Pain 1: How did you get involved with music and what early influences pushed you towards pursuing music in adulthood?
Mantra: I started pretty late, I think I was 19 or 20. One night I was hanging out with my cousin, and his friend who was a DJ played us one of his mixes. I (mistakenly) thought he produced all those songs, which blew my mind. I’m pretty sure I went home that night, did some research and downloaded FL Studio.
DJ Pain 1: There must have been a moment where online beat sales became a substantial source of income. When was that moment and what actions on your part lead up to it?
Mantra: In 2015 I had a job at a restaurant living paycheck to paycheck. That same year I found out about BeatStars, it wasn’t too well known at the time but I loved all the features so I uploaded everything I had. I started uploading my beats onto YouTube around the same time. The combination of YouTube and BeatStars is what made all the difference, once I earned enough of a consistent income I decided to put in my 2 weeks notice at the restaurant.
DJ Pain 1: How did joining Beatstars affect the way you licensed beats online?
Mantra: After I joined BeatStars I had more time to spend making music because it was all automated. I didn’t have to worry about sending beats and license agreements after each sale. They also let me offer my customers bulk package deals and discount codes which has made a huge difference. These are just a few of the many ways BeatStars enhanced my business.
DJ Pain 1: Explain how you were able to build your brand online selling beats. What was the release schedule like, what were your goals when you started, and how did they change over time?
Mantra: Early on I didn’t really have a schedule, I’d just upload beats as soon as I finished them, which was about 3 or 4 times a week. After a while, I realized just a small percentage of my catalog was generating most of my income, so I started to focus on quality rather than quantity. The growth of my YouTube channel took a hit for that actually, since YouTube rewards channels that upload more frequently, so there is a downside to that.
DJ Pain 1: If you weren’t an established producer and you were just starting to upload beats online, what would your beat marketing strategy entail?
Mantra: My advice for those just starting out is to upload every day or every other day until you’ve got a good foundation (i.e. 20,000 subscribers), then focus on the quality, and become more meticulous with your work. Artists that appreciate the details are the ones that spend money, so target them.
DJ Pain 1: Another notable song you produced was Future and Rihanna’s “Selfish.” How did you connect with Major Seven and Detail, the two co-producers of the song, to create this work?
Mantra: A dope artist I was working with called Prohaize introduced me to Major Seven, I sent Major a bunch of beats, he worked on them and sent them over to Detail who was working with Future at the time. Major’s like my brother now, we still send each other ideas regularly.
DJ Pain 1: As the top-selling online producer, you were making a living for yourself without restrictions or third-party involvement. When you started working with major labels, did you experience any culture shock given that they operate differently than the average unsigned artist who licenses a beat online?
Mantra: I wouldn’t say I was shocked by that. They’re two different business models, both have their pros and cons. But I like being in control of when I work, what I work on and how I put it out. I also prefer working in solitude, so I still focus on beat licensing for the most part.
DJ Pain 1: You have focused largely on the world beats/pop/crossover EDM “type beat” market. How important is it for a producer licensing beats online to have a specific niche?
Mantra: It’s really important if you wanna stand out, but I think if producers just focus on making the kind of music they personally love, then people will notice and they’ll attract customers. I’d also recommend using platforms like Spotify or SoundCloud as your main source for inspiration. A lot of online producers get inspired by listening to other “type beats” on YouTube, but I think that hurts them in the long run. I don’t think sounding like your competition is a good thing.
DJ Pain 1: Was there ever a time you wanted to quit or doubted you would be successful? If so, how did you overcome those feelings? If not, what has helped you keep a positive state of mind, even if everything wasn’t perfect?
Mantra: Definitely, I almost quit a few times, for about 6 years I struggled to pay rent with the money I made, which was stressful and made producing unenjoyable. Getting that job at the restaurant allowed me to go back to making music for the love of it, and that’s when the money started showing up.
I also still experience doubt for other reasons, having to be creative on a daily basis isn’t easy. But I try and combat that by studying and enjoying new (and old) music regularly.
DJ Pain 1: How important is it to manage your money correctly, and use portions of your profits to invest back into your business? Any tips to producers on budgeting and what you feel is important to invest in?
Mantra: I think managing your money correctly is super important. A lot of producers take their hard earned money for granted, my advice would be to save most of you what earn, and invest it. Putting some of that money back into your business and spending it on advertising could also be a good thing, especially if you’re able to track sales conversion rates.
DJ Pain 1: Where do you envision the Mantra brand in 5 years?
Mantra: I’m not sure, hopefully, I’ll still be making music people enjoy listening to!