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Updates2022-04-05T23:53:05-07:00

The New Frontier For Independent Artists: Non-Exclusive Features

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Changing The Music Game Forever

As an independent rapper or singer, you’re probably familiar with the concept of leasing beats.  Beat leasing has been around for more than a decade, with websites like SoundClick and more recently Beatstars bringing the idea mainstream and giving upcoming artists access to high quality instrumentals at a reasonable price like never before.

The set up works like this: the producer gets to keep ownership of their beat while selling non-exclusive licenses to artists for a small fraction of what it would normally cost to buy exclusive rights.  

This allows producers to continuously sell leases of the same beat, providing them with a steady stream of instant income without having to chase placements and wait for inconsistent industry payouts.  Artists benefit by getting instant access to professional beats that can be monetized on streaming platforms without having to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for exclusive ownership of the instrumental in question.  Everybody wins.

Non-exclusive beat licensing has changed the music game forever.  Hit songs like Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road are now emerging from $30 MP3 leases and even major labels are starting to browse the Beatstars Marketplace for tracks for their artists.

The Birth Of The Non-Exclusive Feature

But now a new concept is materializing.  One that has the power to improve the lives of independent artists and disrupt the industry once again: the non-exclusive feature.

Until recently, the thought of an unknown SoundCloud rapper securing a feature from a big-name industry artist was nothing more than a pipe dream.  An established rapper like Rick Ross, for instance, charges upwards of $80,000 for a single verse.  But these top tier acts are starting to partner with production powerhouses like Legion Beats and recording hooks and verses to be sold off non-exclusively to newer artists with much smaller budgets, just like producers did with their beats.  

In the same way that you can get affordable access to world class production thanks to platforms like Beatstars, you can now get features from household names – even if you have no following, clout or major label-type budget.

What’s most exciting about this is that non-exclusive features have the potential to transform the careers of artists on a level beyond what beat leasing has done.  The name recognition of a major artist alone will add tons of ears to independent musicians’ songs and provide their careers with added credibility in the eyes of their fans, followers and perhaps even music industry insiders.

While some may scoff at the thought of other artists out there having access to the exact same verses from these big names, the reality is that at the end of the day, the best music will always rise to the top.  It’s up to you as the artist to release the highest quality tracks that will cut through the noise.  It’s not the tools at your disposal that make the difference, it’s how you’re able to use them.  

Blazing the trail for this new opportunity are the music production juggernauts Legion Beats and Anno Domini.  Their Icons Packs, a series of bundles that include unreleased beats with commercial rights and features from big name artists, have begun to put non-exclusive features in the spotlight.

Their latest installment of the series, Icons 3, includes 30 unreleased beats with commercial rights and verses from Rick Ross, Rich The Kid and Dizzy Wright that artists can incorporate into their own songs and then release onto streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for only $197.

Icons 3 allows rappers and singers to tap into this brand new opportunity before the general public becomes aware of it, providing a distinct advantage to artists who take decisive action and jump at the chance to invest in their music career.

The Future Of Non-Exclusive Features

Where the non-exclusive feature space goes from here is still up in the air, but chances are it will become a main staple for independent artists looking to get ahead.  And best believe, Legion Beats and Anno Domini will be leading the charge, as they always have.

So don't sleep.  Begin exploring non-exclusive features before the cat is completely out of the bag.

Legion Beat Vault Szn 7 Ep12

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Zero To Business Owner – The Power Of The Sales Funnel

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Building a business around a passion is something that many people dream of but very few achieve.  It’s not that they lack ambition, talent or even work ethic necessarily.  It’s just that most people haven’t learned the specific knowledge needed to successfully monetize their creativity.

If that’s you, don’t worry.  You are not alone.  I was in your exact position at one point, but then I stumbled on a proven framework that can quickly take you from ground zero to full scale-business owner.  It’s a strategy that most people still don’t know about called “Funnels” and I’ve used it to build 2 different 7-figure businesses from scratch – Legion Beats and Midi Money.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a music producer like me, or you’re into fitness, fashion or anything else.  Whatever your passion is, the Funnel framework can help you build a winning business around it.  And I’m about to show you how to get started…

First off, what exactly is a Funnel?

A Funnel, or Sales Funnel, is the process of taking a potential customer from being totally unaware of your brand and turning them into a loyal, paying customer. 

Today, some of the most effective funnels come in the form of a series of web pages that move visitors closer and closer to becoming customers.

What's the difference between a Funnel and a normal online store?

One the surface, a Funnel might sound like a typical online e-commerce type store, but there is a key difference.  On a normal website, visitors are free to navigate around at will to any page want.  They might browse product pages, check out the About section or read a blog post.  The visitor’s experience contains lot of choices without a clear direction.

On the other hand, a Funnel is set up as a series of web pages that makes traffic flow linearly from one point to another, and then another, all leading to a very specific goal or action.  Everything is designed to lead potential customers in a single direction through the customer journey.  Funnels are built to lessen distractions and have visitors focus on a very specific offer and objective.

Funnel Steps Explained

In the context of an online Funnel, there are a few main steps on the customer journey that I’ll go over here:

The Free Offer 

Everybody loves free stuff right?  Providing potential customers with free value right off the bat not only helps to get their attention, but it also lets you collect some important information from them that you can use to move them further down your Funnel.  For music producers, this could be as simple as offering artists 5 free beats in exchange for the potential customer’s email address or phone number.  

Your Free Offer is housed on what’s called an Optin Page, a simple web page with only one obvious call to action (IE “enter your name and email address to get your free beats”).

This is the exact first step I teach producers to use in my Producer Funnel Secrets course that has generated some of my students 5, 6 and even 7 figures in revenue (not to mention I used it myself to build my own businesses).

Collecting an email address might not seem like much, but it’s actually a huge win.

Once someone’s on your list, they’re on your list for good (unless they decide to opt out at some point, but if your follow up game is on point, that’s unlikely).  This means that you can continuously engage with them via email to build a relationship, offer more value and ultimately sell them on future paid offers.

The Irresistible Offer

Once someone opts into your Free Offer, they’re immediately taken to a Sales Page where you can present them with your Irresistible Offer.  This is a paid offer, packed with value and priced to feel like an absolute no-brainer.  

Sticking with the music producer example, an Irresistible Offer could be something like 50 untagged beats with unlimited usage rights PLUS free mixes and masters of any song they make with the beats PLUS an in-depth PDF guide on how to get Spotify playlist placements all for $27.  Sounds like a ridiculously good deal right?  That’s the whole point!

If you set this up right, some people will purchase your Irresistible Offer right after opting into your Free Offer, but the vast majority of people won’t buy right away.  And that’s totally fine because you’ve already captured their email address and/or phone number.

Over the course of the next few days/weeks, you can follow up with those people who didn’t buy and continue to build rapport, value and trust through high-quality follow up emails and text messages.  Over time, more and more people from your email list will end up converting into paying customers.

The Upsell

Think of the Upsell as an optional upgrade to your Irresistible Offer.  For instance, in the case of this hypothetical beat pack, your base Offer could include MP3 files of the beats but you could give your customers the option to upgrade to WAV files or even track outs for slightly higher prices.

The Upsell is a great way to increase your Average Order Value, or AOV for short.  Pretty much every business on Earth uses some form of Upsell.  You see them everywhere even if you don’t realize it.  It’s why retail stores stock their checkout lines with knickknacks or why restaurant servers always ask if you have room for dessert.

The One Time Offer

The One Time Offer is usually the very next screen a customer sees after they enter their payment info to purchase your Irresistible Offer.  This is another form of add-on or Upsell that you can use to raise your AOV.  The best One Time Offers introduce a higher level of scarcity in the mind of the customer.  This can be done by limiting the quantity or the timeframe that the Offer is available for (IE “Act now before it’s too late.”)

Putting Your New Funnel Knowledge Into Practice

There’s tons more to learn about Funnels; we’re really just scratching the surface here, but if you’re ready to go deeper, I have a pretty crazy opportunity to tell you about…

It all starts with my dawg Russ.

The Funnel concept itself isn’t new, but in the modern, digital world, nobody has refined this process better than Russell Brunson.  Russell is the founder of Clickfunnels, an online Funnel-building platform that helps people just like you grow their businesses without a huge upfront investment and I’m lucky enough to call him a mentor and a friend.  

Russell has actually invited me to give a presentation in front of hundreds of thousands of people and to stand together with some of the VIPs and giants in the online business world including Grant Cardone, Dean Graziosi, Daymond John, Brendon Burchard, Kristine Mirelle and more.

My presentation is part of a bigger 5-Day event called ‘Your First Funnel’ Challenge where Me, Russell and 20+ World Renowned entrepreneurs will show you how we built our own businesses with the Funnel framework.

This event is completely FREE and if you’re looking to get started, I invite you to come join me and take advantage of the gems from this event.

There's no business experience or tech skills needed to learn from this event, so it’s the perfect place to get started if you’re ready to begin your journey.

Again, this awesome event is where you'll learn how I built my own businesses so I give you my word that this is absolutely worth your time.

This is how I escaped the 9 to 5 grind and do what I love as a music producer and work with the community I love the most – The Legion Beats family – which gave me that sense of purpose in life AND that freedom of not worrying about answering to anyone…

Does this feel like it's worth investing your time in?

If so… and if you're ready to take the challenge with me and build that dream business, come join me at ‘Your First Funnel’ Challenge.

– Legion Gabe

Legion Beat Vault Szn 7 Ep11

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How To Win A Song Contest: The Ultimate 4 Step Guide To Successful Self-Recording

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Winning a song contest comes down to one thing: your ability to make a great, professional-sounding song.  Making a great song is easier said than done, especially if you have to self-record.  But as this article will show, it’s 100% possible to make an absolute banger without a huge budget or top of the line studio equipment.  In fact, you don’t even need to leave your bedroom.  We’re about to break down everything you need to create a first place-worthy track.  Let’s get it. 

Step 1: Song Contest Considerations

The first thing you gotta remember when submitting your work to a contest is to understand who the judges are and what they’ll be looking for.  Not every song contest is created equal, so get familiar with the criteria you’ll be graded on. Do a little research on who’s going to be judging the contest to give yourself a bit of an edge. If they’ve run song contests before, listen to previous winners. This is kinda like a cheat code because you’ll know exactly what they tend to like.

Having said that, there are some general things to keep in mind, regardless of the contest specifics:  

Be Creative.  Don’t just copy trends or try to sound like your favorite artist.  You’re just gonna end up blending in with everyone else.  Bring your own unique sound and flavor to your song.  

Commercial Appeal – At the same time, be sure to consider things like song structure, arrangement and having a catchy hook.  It doesn’t hurt to follow at least the basic skeleton of today’s hit records. Don't be weird for weird’s sake. The trick is to take pieces of what’s relevant now and flip that in your own unique way.

Step 2: Gear

While you don’t need a state of the art recording studio to make a great song, you’ll need some basic gear to get the best result.  We’ll list the bare essentials here:

A Reliable Computer – The first piece of equipment you’ll need is a reliable computer.  You’ll be running a DAW (digital audio workstation) to record your song, so you’ll need something with a decent amount of computing power to make sure your creative flow isn’t thrown off by lag or other technical difficulties.  This can be a desktop or a laptop, but a laptop may be ideal so you can always cook up on the go.

A Digital Audio Workstation – A digital audio workstation, or DAW for short, is a piece of software used to produce and record music.  There are many professional-grade DAWs on the market today including FL Studio, Logic and Ableton.  The best lowest-cost option is Garageband, which is basically Logic-lite.  It’s included totally for free in all Mac computers.  It’s super easy to use so it can be a great place to start if you’re new to the game.  Audacity is another free alternative that works on both Mac and Windows.

A Beat – Unless you’re recording some kind of spoken word poetry, you’re going to need an instrumental to sing or rap over. If you’re making a song for a contest, make sure you’re following their rules for which beats you can use. Some may have no limitations, but others may ask you to make a new song from a specific beat or beat pack. 

If you’re free to use any beat you want, then the good news is there’s no shortage of beats for sale online and tons of music producers offer free versions of their beats to be used for non-profit purposes.  Keep in mind though, if you plan on posting your song to Spotify and other streaming services and want an instrumental that’s free of tags, you’re probably going to have to shell out some bread to buy or lease a beat with for-profit, commercial usage rights.

Be sure to check the beat leasing policy of the producer you’re getting your beats from, otherwise you may end up in a situation where you’re limited in how much and where you can sell, perform, and distribute your songs. Legion Beats is a great option for a well established production team that has a huge catalog of industry quality beats that you can buy or lease for less than most producers. Actually you can get every single beat they release through The Legion Beat Club, which includes 30 beats/month. And right now, you can try it out for just $5 at legionbeatclub.com/join

An Audio Interface – An audio interface is a device that converts the audio frequencies from a microphone or instrument into a format that works with your computer.  It also allows sound to route from your DAW to your speakers or headphones.  There’s a bunch of audio interfaces to choose from but a great option for beginners on a budget is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 which will run you about $120.

A Microphone – One of the most essential pieces of the recording puzzle is a quality microphone.  Luckily, once again, you don’t need to break the bank to to get professional sounding vocals.  The Shure SM58 is a great mic to consider if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck.  Amazon offers bundles that include the mic itself, a stand, the necessary cables and the all-important pop filter for under $200.

Studio Monitors or Headphones – You’re going to need to know how your song actually sounds so you can make adjustments to your mix and your computer’s built-in speakers just won’t cut it.  In a perfect world, you would have both a set of studio monitors (speakers) and a nice pair of mixing headphones, so you can hear your song on multiple devices to get the clearest picture of your mix, but starting with just one of these options is enough to get things rolling.  The KRK Rokit 5s are some great low-cost studio monitors to consider and the beyerdynamic DT 1770 PROs are some of the best mixing headphones on the market and priced cheaper than most competitors.

Step 3: The Recording Process

There’s no exact science to the recording process itself but there are some commonly used vocal elements you should know about.  Most professional songs use several audio layers to deliver the most polished result.  These layers include:

The Base Track – The base track is your initial vocal recording of the rhythm section that serves as the foundation to your vocals.  The base track is done before any overdubbing is recorded.

The Harmony – You can think of harmonies as countermelodies that you use to add emphasis and variety to the various parts of your song.  The most common place for these harmonies to appear is in your song’s chorus, but they can also be used in verses and bridges.

Background Vocals and Fills – These vocal layers are usually one of the last to be recorded and serve as your chance to fill in pockets of dead space with adlibs, melodies and doubles to give your vocals more character and dimension.

Step 4: Mixing And Mastering

Once you’ve laid down the vocals for your song, the mixing and mastering process begins.  This is one of the most important parts of recording and can determine whether you’re going to end up sounding like Jay-Z or a struggling SoundCloud rapper with 3 plays.

Mixing – Mixing is the process of blending each individual audio layer (both the beat and vocals) to make sure every part of your song sounds cohesive.  Common mixing techniques include leveling and panning each layer appropriately, EQing out harsh or clashing frequencies, and applying effects like reverb and delay.  Every DAW comes with stock tools to help you do this without having to invest any extra money IF you’re willing to lock in and learn the best practices for each mixing technique.  YouTube has lots of free resources on every little detail of mixing.  It’s a good idea to follow along with a tutorial video or two as you go through this process with your new song.

Mastering – Mastering is all about putting the finishing touches on your song and adding that final bit of polish before it’s time to export your banger and share it with the world.  Common steps in mastering include applying compression for added perceived volume, applying a stereo widener for a fuller, more dynamic sound and maybe adding some last EQs to cut out any muddy low frequencies or sharp high frequencies.  While it’s best to learn and master these techniques for yourself, there are services available like Bandlab which uses AI technology to automatically master your song for free.  Manually mastering will definitely provide the best results but these types of services work well in a pinch.

Final Thoughts:

So there you go.  While nothing’s going to beat working with an engineer in a real studio, applying these tips will give you a much better shot at recording something you’re proud of and upping your chances of winning a song contest.  Now get out there and start cooking that heat. 

– luke4pres

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