Updated: Jul 20
I get a lot of dm's daily and one question that seems to come up in a lot of conversations with younger producers is "How can i get a Placement with a Major Artist as a Music Producer?"
I thought i start this Blog, so I can just send this Blog Article whenever the questions comes up.
The short answer is to make great music and send it out daily like your life depended on it.
The long answer is a little more nuanced. If you are just starting out and music isn't your full-time job yet, it's important to not waste any of your limited studio time. An effective process is key if you want to get major placements as an unknown producer just starting out.
1. Have Specific Goals
In order to achieve your goals, make them as specific as possible. I try not to formulate my goals like "I want two major placements" but rather "I want to work with Trippie Redd". Limiting your options is key to effective progress towards your goal. Once you singled out a few artist you would love to work you can use your studio time more intentional.
2. Study the Artists You Want to Work with
Once you chose the artist you want to work with, go to their Spotify and check their 10 most played tracks and pay close attention to the bpm ranges they choose. Usually artist have a range they seem to be gravitating toward (e.g. Tyga usually picks club tempos around 100 bpm, while Lil Baby beats usually range between 140-160bpm).
Then pay attention to the key of their songs. Usually artist have a range of 2-3 notes where their vocals sounds the strongest/most natural (e.g. between E and F#). Of course people can pitch your samples later on, but i try to make it as easy as possible for the people I work with. The less friction and steps between opening your email and having the artist record to it, the more likely it is, they'll choose your music.
Also play attention to the sounds they use or not use (some people love pads that are chaotic, others prefer simple and open guitar ideas).
Of course, you want to push the boundaries a bit and offer artist vibes they haven't heard a million times before, but it should be in the ballpark of where they feel most comfortable (google "most advanced yet acceptable" for a design principle that was used by the dude who made the iconic Coke bottles or the Air Force One logo).
3. Study their Insta-live Videos / Twitch Streams / Recent Studio Content
Artists like Tory Lanez often release records that have a specific sound. Tory released a "Alone at Prom" in 2021, a record that was heavily influenced by 80s music. If you notice that an artist is working on a 80s project, make sure to send music that falls somewhere in that genre. It doesn't make sense to send rage loops if you notice all of their Instagram livestreams had beats that sounded like prime Michael Jackson. While the tempos and keys might still be the same, the sound selection might change, so it's important to always send music that sounds exactly like the type of music the artists seem to be loving at that time.
4. Study their Credits on Genius.com
While some major artist still check their dm's and you can just ask them to send beats, most of them get so overwhelmed that it's impossible to reach out to them directly. So try to reach out to people in their team, either their producers, their songwriters, their engineers or their A&R's (i'll write a blog post on how to write a good first DM in the future, because that is another question i get asked frequently).
Generally, when you reach out to people make two things clear: how their career can profit from working with you, and what you bring to the table that makes you special. They have to feel confident that passing on what you sent them will make them look good.
Also make sure it's as easy to use as possible: sample for the producers should be in the right range of bpm's and keys; songs you send to A&R's should be mixed well (potentially have hooks) and be something that sounds like the artist would pick rn. Always include the bpm, the key and your producer name in the file name, the less friction, the better.
Label your projects and have them ready if anyone asks for stems, the less, friction the better.
This is my process and it helped produce Billboard #1 and platinum records. I can't promise you that these specific 4 steps will work in 10 years in an industry that changes as fast as the music industry. I'm confident, however, that the underlying principles will always work: have specific goals, network a lot and make sure you're always an asset to the people you work with by making their jobs easier and making them look good.
In order to increase the chances of people opening your emails and responding to you, it's important to work on your online brand, too. Grow your audience, have professional looking profiles, have some snippets online (so people know what you sound like) and most importantly have social proof: post about your successes e.g., past smaller indie placements or Timbaland using your samples in a livestream, etc.
When I started sending out samples my response rate was 2 out of 10, so i took another year to get really good and when I started sending out samples later, my response rate would shoot to 7 out of 10. So if people ignore your Dm's, your music might simply not be there yet.
I described how using this process lead me to having a song on a Trippie Redd record in this interview I did for Artistconnect (it's in German but has English subtitles):