BeatMakingTips.com Interview (Anno Domini)
Anno Domini Beats are one of the biggest soundclick producer teams out there. They are fully established through selling beats alone, and other means of making money with audio and sound design. I was very privileged to get a few answers out of CEO of Anno Domini Beats, Adrian Boeckeler! So, let’s get into this!
How long have you been making beats for?
I started making beats in 2004, so 9 years now.
Were you selling beats as an individual before you started Anno Domini? If so, how long were you going solo before creating Anno Domini?
I’ve always made beats under the name “Anno Domini Beats” but it wasn’t until 2006 or so that I added more producers to the team. Today our team goes by Anno Domini Nation and there are 9 of us in total.
For a new producer, would you recommend a beat team to start off, or go as an individual. I understand producing as an individual is a lot of work to get started, and as a team you have a couple people marketing the business/team. What are your thoughts?
I would say joining a team is always a smart move, especially if you are not able to dedicate yourself to producing music full time. It means marketing, sales and production duties can be shared and you’re always able to put out fresh material and keep your listeners engaged.
How much work is put into running a beat making team? Obviously once started up, most things in life are easier, it’s the starting out that is the hard part, but what all goes into running a team? (Paying out earnings monthly, do you pay for their advertising, meet their requests when asked, have to find new producers to take under your arm?).
If you’re in charge of a whole team of producers, like myself, it can be quite challenging. I rarely find time to make music any more as I am constantly answering emails, updating websites, marketing, setting up deals and uploading beats. Of course I have to keep track of the finances too. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, so fulfilling a range of roles in the business suits me and I firmly believe that if you want to be successful with your own business you have to understand all of the different components of it.
I noticed AD does not collab with other producers as what has been a popular marketing scheme lately. Is this because you collaborate together within your own beatmaking team, or because you set yourselves apart by doing your own thing?
Actually I collaborate with other producers all of the time, especially now that I have less time for production, a collaboration is a great way to share the workload and also to get fresh ideas and inspiration. Besides, a collaboration beat can be posted on both producers’ websites so potentially you are reaching new customers and fans.
Are royalties something to strive for in your beatmaking contracts. Does this all depend on who the artist is, how well their album sales are, and how well they are known? Does AD make more money off royalties from major artists than beat sales?
Unless you are making beats for Rihanna, royalties are only ever going to be a side income. Your main income is going to come from the up-front licensing. Most Hip Hop producers work largely for independent, unsigned artists and the royalties that are paid out for a few thousand radio spins or album sales aren’t all that significant. Of course it’s still worth registering with a performance rights organisation like BMI or ASCAP to get your royalties paid out to you, especially if you are selling sync licenses for things like TV usage as this can amount to a decent sum. How do royalties work with a beat making team? Does the individual get their right to royalties, or are they split evenly between team members?
The individual producer receives the royalties that is due to him/her. Do you think working with major artists is better than less-known artists? Are there pros and cons to both?
With major artists, the problem is that they get sent hundreds of free beats from producers every day, so they are often not willing to pay you for your work unless you are already an established producer. In my experience all the time and effort it takes to land a placement with a major artist is rarely worth it, as they will keep you waiting for months with a decision and out of the hundreds of tracks they record only a select few even make it on to their commercial releases. Of course there is something to be said of the marketing appeal of having a “credit” with a major artist and it can be a good launching pad for your career, but my advice would be to not focus all of your attention solely on working with the majors.
When trying to get placements in the beginning, what was all involved in your efforts. (Constant emails, mail CD’s to record labels.. were rejected phone calls involved?).
In the past I have secured placements through networking, especially messaging A&Rs, managers and artists directly via email or sites like MySpace (before it died a horrible death), Facebook or LinkedIN. Mailing CDs has only rarely worked out for me, if you do that be sure to follow up your submission with a phone call or email to ask if your CD was received.
What about now. Does AD strive to reach other major artists that they have not yet worked with by these ways of communication? Or, with the benefits of being established, do you these artists now contact you?
The artists now often approach us, as with most things it’s all about word of mouth. Anno Domini Beats has been around for a while and fortunately we have been able to establish ourselves to the extent that a lot of people recognise our brand and the quality of production it stands for.
To finish off, I know Anno Domini is all about Hip-Hop. Real, authentic Hip-Hop Beats. Do you think this is the reason for having such a name in the beatmaking and soundclick community? For staying true to what kind of music you enjoy to make, rather than being swaded to what’s in style (trap, electro, etc).
I think so. It’s good to experiment and evolve as a musician, but if you are constantly changing your style and your image you will lose touch with your fans. Anno Domini Beats has always stood for Hip Hop and though we experiment with other genres from time to time, this is what people know and love us for. A lot of producers seem to think that you can only stay relevant by adopting the latest musical trends but the truth is you stay relevant by having your own niche and being original. Say Originally posted at: http://beatmakingtips.com/anno-domini-beats-interview/
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