7 Best BeatStars Alternatives To Buy And Sell Beats Online

7 best beatstars alternatives to buy and sell beats online

7 best beatstars alternatives to buy and sell beats online

BeatStars is the current market leader for transactions online of digital audio beats (or instrumentals). Through their players over 100M dollars has transacted – a huge accomplishment for Abe Batshon who launched the company in 2008.

As it stands now, the landscape of buying and selling beats is fundamentally unchanged since the early days of Soundclick and Roc Battle. But what is on the horizon and who are the other players in this arena? What is the best platform to use as a producer and what should artists consider when looking to buy beats online?

In this in depth article we’re going to cover the 7 best BeatStars alternatives to buy and sell beats online. BeatStars is well known and certainly has its benefits, but it’s not the only option as more and more platforms try to capitalize on the growing independent beat buying and selling business.

For each option we’ll cover both what to consider as a producer and what to consider as an artist to give an accurate picture from both sides. Let’s dive in.

#1 Selling Beats From Your Own Website

Getting a domain is easy. Selling beats all on your own is hard. Let’s go over what to consider as a producer and as an artist if you choose to buy or sell beats from a personal domain.

For Producers To Consider:

Once you’ve purchased a domain and are ready to get started selling beats, you’ll want to consider your approach. There are a few different ways to sell beats from your own website. We’ll break down 4 most popular ways below.

Shopify

Some producers use shopify to host, configure, and sell their beats. With this option, you’ll have to spend some time configuring the page and possibly even get into some advanced custom HTML (coding).

There are shopify apps on their app store that can help with some of the features you may want like the audio player and playlisting, but in general you’ll probably be restricted to what shopify offers natively or what you can code. You can follow this guide to set up your digital downloads and get your store going on Shopify.

Note that you will have to import and provide your own contracts for leasing as shopify does not have built in licensing. In addition, shopify is at a minimum $29/month which can add up over time if you aren’t making sales.

One benefit to using shopify is that you’re keeping everything in house meaning other producer’s beats aren’t showing up on your page. Using a third party site to host your beats means you’re competing with everyone else on that site, but with your own domain and shopify, this isn’t the case.

Music Maker Theme

Music maker has been around for years and has put together an impressive wordpress theme to assist producers with selling beats. The only requirement to use the music maker theme is a domain name, wordpress installation, and the ability to install the music maker theme onto your wordpress instance.

With music makers you can sell digital products, host a blog, showcase testimonials, integrate your socials, and much more. Their template looks great and the audio player works smoothly. You will have to provide your own contracts, but the support page has lots of FAQs and helpful articles on getting started and using the template.

The template has a one time cost of $55 which includes 12 months of updates. We assume that after 12 months you might have to pay a maintenance or renewal fee so it could be that much per year. Either way, the pricing is competitive with other offerings.

Gumroad

Using gumroad to sell music is not new, but it is a lesser known way to sell beats. Artists like Ryan Leslie and Mikky Ekko sell directly to fans through gumroad so why not consider it as an option to sell beats?

They do offer custom domains so you can connect your own domain directly to gumroad. With their tools, you can upload files up to 12GB so hosting stems or even full sessions is easy. Also, gumroad supports pre-orders which could be an interesting tool to build hype. Pricing starts at $10/month plus 3.5% of each transaction.

After you sign up for an account, you’re dropped into your products page. Adding products is a manual process – it would be nice if there was a way to bulk upload beats, but unfortunately you will have to upload them one by one.

It’s a bit tricky to figure out how to include a preview of the audio. And that’s because they don’t support audio previews. This is a huge drawback to using gumroad to sell beats since artists won’t be able to hear the beat on gumroad. You’ll have to link them to another site to listen.

Basically this means you’ll probably just use gumroad to facilitate a transaction, but use another platform or service to host the actual auditioning of beats. One idea is to use an audio player directly on your website and then direct people to gumroad when they want to purchase.

Sellfy

Sellfy is an ecommerce platform where hundreds of producers, sound designers, and beat makers sell their products. While you can technically embed your sellfy store on your own website, most producers opt to host with sellfy.

A Sellfy account is super easy to create, only taking 3 clicks and some basic information. Once you get logged in, adding products (your beats) is the next step. As with gumroad, sellfy itself doesn’t support previews, but they do offer an option to link a preview from another site. Most producers opt for a soundcloud or YouTube link to preview the beats they are selling.

Sellfy is $19/month with no transaction fees. They support discount codes, have built in email marketing tools, and you can upload unlimited products (beats). You will have to provide your own contracts and terms for your beats.

As is the case for any tool you use on your own domain, it’s entirely up to you to bring clients to your store. This is a double edged sword since there won’t be any competition on your site, but there won’t be anyone else driving traffic to your beats either.

You won’t find beats through the platform itself though so as an independent artist who is looking for beats, using Sellfy isn’t a good choice. There’s not an aggregated playlist or section of the site which you can browse and there isn’t centralized customer service.

For Artists To Consider:

When you’re shopping for beats and come across a personal domain page with beats for sale, you probably don’t care if it’s hosted with wordpress or uses shopify. You just want to find a beat you like and have an easy experience purchasing it.

Unfortunately it’s hard to say how the experience will go from site to site since there are infinite ways to customize and structure personal websites, but in general, you can expect that interacting with shopify and the music maker theme specifically, is fairly easy.

As with most platforms, the contracts, prices, and quality will vary from site to site so there’s no way to know what to expect. Obviously, understanding the licensing terms is important so be sure to check the agreement before purchasing any tracks.

The main issue for artists buying beats on a personal domain is you have to be sent there from somewhere which means you either know the producer, clicked an ad, or found the site through the depths of a google search. There’s not an easy way to find these sites since all of the major platforms have the “buy beats online” keywords locked up.

You’re much more likely to find traktrain, airbit, beatstars, or one of the other major aggregators than a personal domain beatstore. This not only makes it hard for individual producers to compete, but requires artists to do some real digging if they want to find these sites.

But when you find a producer whose sound you like, them hosting their beats on their personal website isn’t a problem. The process is easy and so long as you understand the contract terms of the lease, grabbing a beat this way is a good experience.

#2 AirBit

AirBit is the second most popular online marketplace to buy and sell beats next to Beatstars. Let’s break down the most important aspects for artists and producers to consider about using AirBit.

For Producers To Consider:

Their pricing model is straightforward, offering monthly plans starting at $9.99 for 50 beats. They don’t take a cut of sales which is a slight difference from the lowest tier Beatstars plan which is free, but takes 30% of sales.

Technology wise, they are just as good as anything else out there. Offering automatic file delivery, standardized contract options, vocal tags, and integrations with email marketing software, social media, and other tools.

The look and feel of the player itself is high quality and sleek with some customization available to the producer. You can easily see the contract terms, add coupon discount codes, and browse tracks right from the player.

It’s also easy to embed the player in various pages across the internet. Having your player in as many places as possible is always a good idea since you never know where traffic might come from.

Finally, AirBit offers add ons that you can sell through your page besides beats. Sound kits, sample packs, and other digital goods are easily sold right from the same page as your beats which is a nice all-in-one feature.

For Artists To Consider:

The contracts on AirBit are pretty standard with most producers offering a basic lease and premium lease. Depending on the producer, you can get unlimited streams for anywhere between $30-$100. Most of the basic leases limit you to 10k streams or less.

Quality wise, the tracks on AirBit are just okay. As typical with most online beat sites, there are lots of low quality and badly mixed tracks to wade through. We did a blind test of 10 tracks with an objectively neutral group of 3 artists. Only 1 of the 10 tracks, and 2 of the 10 tracks this group said was decent enough quality to consider using.

Given that there is no barrier to entry on sites like AirBit, it’s not surprising that artists would have to spend tons of time wading through low quality tracks to find something relevant to their unique style.

The curation on AirBit is a little strange. It seems like the same producers are always on the first few pages which makes it hard to hear much variety. AirBit does offer paid promo for producers to get their tracks higher up in the rankings. This affects the listings that artists see therefore making it less relevant if you don’t resonate with the sound of the producers paying for promo.

#3 Traktrain 

Traktrain is an invitation only platform to buy and sell beats. Producers have to be accepted onto the platform in order to put their beats up for sale. Anyone can buy beats directly from the platform.

For Producers To Consider:

While traktrain does have a widget that you can embed, it’s clear that this was an afterthought as the main foundation of their site takes place on platform. Their embedded player is not as feature rich as Beatstars or AirBit so if having a player on your own site is important to you, this might not be the best option.

One major benefit of Traktrain is their community building. It’s clear they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about creating a community that is engaged and loyal. This means lots of artists only get their beats from traktrain, and subsequently, your music has a higher chance of being heard.

Plans start at $9/month with most features available at that level. You can upload up to 15 mp3s for free with 0% commission.

For Artists To Consider:

Contractually, their agreements don’t seem as solid as other platforms. Some major terms around publishing, splits, and master revenue aren’t clearly defined. Also, most contracts limit you to 5k streams for the basic non-exclusive license of $20. This means artists would end up paying $400 for every 100k streams on a song.

While traktrain does advertise the “exclusivity” of their platform, this doesn’t necessarily translate into quality. Many of the tracks on the site sound the same and aren’t mixed well. Further, it’s hard to navigate the site and find tracks quickly.

Getting “accepted” onto the platform doesn’t seem to be that hard for producers either. One of our producers tested this theory by sending (literally) the oldest beat on his hard drive in for the audition to be accepted. Within a few hours he had received an acceptance email.

Overall from an artist’s point of view, there’s much to be desired from Traktrain. Given the contract situation, if a serious artist knows they are going to stream well, it doesn’t make sense to buy a beat from Traktrain.

#4 Beat Brokerz

When it comes to having a huge catalog of beats, beat brokerz definitely checks that box. With almost 30k beats and counting from over 3300 producers, this marketplace curates a library of tracks into one place for artists to license.

For Producers To Consider:

Beat Brokerz works off of a membership plan similar to most other sites we’ve covered. For a free plan, you can upload up to 25 beats with Beat Brokerz taking a 10-29% commission. It’s not clearly defined how the commission they take varies which is strange. They should make it clear what the different percentage commissions mean.

BeatBrokerz also offers other services related to contracts, copyright protection, and collections to make producers feel comfortable selling on their site. For example, supposedly BeatBrokerz will go after artists to account for sales and payments if they are in violation of a contract.

With a paid plan you can get your own “Elite Brand Page” which is your own website and app to sell you beats. This is similar to AirBit and BeatStars player and embed options. However, this page and player don’t look or feel as modern and technically advanced as other sites.

In fact, BeatBrokez overall has a dated look and feel which makes sense as they’ve been around for almost a decade. It seems like they haven’t updated their site since they launched which makes it appear old and unattended to.

Their YouTube channel hasn’t had a video upload in over 2 years and their twitter has a pinned tweet from 2015. This doesn’t give a producer confidence that BeatBrokerz is interested in maintaining and providing continued value to sell their beats.

For what it’s worth, we tried signing up for an account and never received our activation email.

For Artists To Consider:

As mentioned above, the main issue with BeatBrokerz is their dated website and navigation. Compared to BeatStars and AirBit, browsing the charts and genres is painful. Even the so-called “Beat Brainz” searching which is supposed to be intelligent, returns 0 results for major artists like Chris Brown, DaBaby, or Young Thug. In fact no matter what you search for nothing happens – it’s flat out broken on the site.

Contractually, it’s unclear how an artist can stay compliant in a contract. The licensing page in the footer of the site is broken and the contract options when you go to purchase a track do not define streaming options. Most likely because this site was built before streaming was a thing.

There are premium and professional licensing options available as well but most have a time limit of 2 years or less. The contracts on BeatBrokerz in general are unfavorable to artists and hard to understand.

BeatBrokerz has more of a quality issue than any other site we’ve covered so far. Most, if not all, or the beats sound dated and aren’t mixed well. It’s as if this entire site was frozen in time from 2012 – from the look and feel of the site, to the beats, and the lack of updates.

The supposed #1 song on the charts (which has been there for weeks) is, to put it kindly, not good. There’s just no way a platform can consider this level of music up to par for serious artists that need production to compete in today’s industry.

If BeatBrokerz took some time to overhaul the site and actually give it some love, it could easily compete with other options. But overall as it stands now, artists can do better to look elsewhere for their beats.

#5 Soundee

Soundee is a lesser known, but powerful platform with some heavy hitters using it exclusively for their beat sales. Guys like Epik the dawn and Robin Wesley, both successful beat selling producers, use Soundee as their platform of choice. In fact, Robin is an advisor to the platform and helped build it out.

Soundee tries to differentiate on business integrations and tools to help producers with marketing and accounting. Soundee offers webhooks, email marketing integration, and various payment methods to make it easy to use and set up.

For Producers To Consider:

Plans on Soundee start at $8/month (paid annually) to sell up to 50 beats. You can start for free, but only upload 10 beats and keep 70% of your royalties.

Setting up your profile is fairly easy. Once you sign up and choose your plan, you can add your contracts and customize them. The customizable contracts are a nice touch to make sure producer’s can offer the exact terms they want.

You can also customize your player, add integrations, sell soundkits, upload a voice tag, and setup coupons. There’s really nothing that Soundee hasn’t thought of for producers who want to sell beats online.

After you’ve uploaded your beats and set up your profile, you’ll probably want to know how to make it on the charts or have your beats show up on the home page. Problem is – it’s not clear how the charts and various genre pages are curated.

Soundee doesn’t seem to have a paid promo option for producers which is actually not a bad thing if you’re interested in letting the music speak for itself, but it would still be nice to know how the charts are curated.

For Artists To Consider:

Shopping for beats on Soundee is just as easy as other platforms. You can filter by genre and see the top charts, although as mentioned above, there’s no real information on how the charts are curated.

In fact, we found one entire genre was basically just one producer so it seems like there’s not much variety on the first pages of charts. This could mean it would take an artist a longer time to find something relevant to them if they don’t like the first few producer’s sounds.

You can add beats to a cart and even share the cart with a link which is a cool feature. Quality wise, the beats are above average compared to other sites.

One thing we noticed is the site doesn’t seem to be updated often and despite claims of business tools and a better artist experience, various sections of the site are completely empty like interviews, tips, tutorials, and the blog.

This could mean the founders are no longer as active or working on other projects, but it’s hard to say. Overall the site is clean, easy to use, and seems like a viable option for artists to consider if they’re looking to buy beats.

#6 Soundgine

Soundgine says they’ve been around since 2001, but they’ve really been a major player since 2014 offering a platform to not just sell beats, but anything that plays out of a speaker.

Their process allows artists, sound designers, and even movie scorers to sell audio via their technology. This is different from most other platforms we’ve covered simply because they aren’t just targeting producers selling beats.

Additionally, Soundgine helps connect providers with music on their platform. This means they use their connections to help supervisors, producers, and other project managers find music which helps their users sell more.

For Producers To Consider:

Pricing starts at $10 or $20 per month based on which plan you choose. At a minimum, you can upload 50 beats and keep 100% of your royalties. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a free plan so you’ll have to pay to use the platform.

They do have a demo music store so you can see what it looks like ahead of a purchase. The player is beautifully designed with animated cover backgrounds, audio visualizer, and all the metadata options you could ask for.

The backend is robust with tons of options for customization of themes, design, integrations and features to offer potential clients.

All beatstore sites nowadays offer most of the features all the other ones offer. Soundgine claims they have the best player from a technology perspective, but simply saying you’re the #1 beat store site doesn’t cut it anymore.

As a producer considering where to go to host your beats, you want a clear cut winner who can help you get sales. Is Soundgine that platform? It certainly could be, but there isn’t enough information available to tell.

In the marketplace where artists can buy beats, there’s an assortment of tracks in multiple genres. It’s not clear how the tracks are curated so if you want to get on the front page your guess is as good as ours on how that happens.

Further, the opportunities that Soundgine connects producers with should be more clearly described. It would be helpful to have real world testimonials of producers who have gotten placements via Soundgine, instead of saying they help you market your music with no proof.

Soundgine is a good option no doubt, but they don’t make it clear exactly what they do differently than other platforms.

For Artists To Consider:

If you’re looking for beats on Soundgine the marketplace is where you’ll start. Despite having a search option and charts, there’s not a clear way to filter down by genre which is surprising. Browse, discover, and home, all seem to be the same page of beats, so the curation leaves some features to be desired.

Further, the beat quality doesn’t seem as good as other platforms. Obviously any platform that sells to producers doesn’t have a quality filter so it’s hit or miss on pretty much every platform what level of quality you will get.

From a contract perspective, some of the beats for sale we noticed didn’t even have terms defined. It appears that Soundgine provides a standard contract template for producers, but if the producer doesn’t fill anything out, it leaves important sections blank with no details.

This means you won’t know what you can and can’t do with your song once you license a beat. Granted not all beats had this issue, but because pricing differs so much as well, the licensing process could potentially be frustrating.

The good news is that there are tons of tracks available on the platform. So if you love digging through crates to find that perfect beat, Soundgine definitely has a large catalog.

#7 Sounds Sphere

Sounds Sphere is an upscale boutique marketplace helping artists and songwriters create better songs faster and with less cost. Their model is different from most other platforms as they focus on providing the best possible experience for artists as opposed to selling technology to producers.

For Producers To Consider:

Despite being focused on artists, the site makes it easy for producers to use and has some benefits that other platforms don’t have when it comes to hosting beats. Sounds Sphere has 5 main genre playlists which are public so as a producer, this is where you want your beats.

The playlists are curated though so you can’t just sign up and start uploading beats. Everything Sounds Sphere does is focused on quality so there’s a submission process to get your tracks on playlists.

Even if you don’t make it on the playlists, Sounds Sphere still allows you to upload whatever you want to your own personal beat store page at no cost. In fact, Sounds Sphere never charges producers for anything so you don’t have to worry about a subscription fee or paying for a certain number of uploads.

 

7 best beatstars alternatives to buy and sell beats online

Your personal page is a private link you can share and use with your customers, and keep 100% of any “one off” sales made through the page. If your tracks are on the public playlists and an artist buys one, you still get paid out 50% of the licensing fee.

In addition to licensing fees, Sounds Sphere takes it a step further for producers by protecting their back end royalty rights to the songs and writer’s publishing. All licenses require artists to share writer’s publishing at a rate of 50% with the producer. The producer is also entitled to 10% of any master royalties as well.

Finally, a huge benefit to producers using Sounds Sphere is that they bring potential clients to your beats for you. Because Sounds Sphere is focused on attracting artists, your beats are marketed and have ears on them without you, the producer, having to do the manual leg work.

If there’s one downside to Sounds Sphere as a producer, it’s the player. Right now the player works fine, but doesn’t have the customization or features that some other players have. Because Sounds Sphere isn’t focused on selling player technology to producers this makes sense, but it’s something to consider if you’re used to a fancy player with all the bells and whistles.

Producers should consider Sounds Sphere if they’re interested in focusing on the music and letting someone else handle the logistics, track uploads, and day to day work bringing clients to their beats.

For Artists To Consider:

As an artist looking for beats online there are a number of factors to consider. Price, quality, song rights and time are some of the biggest and Sounds Sphere hits a home run on all 4.

As mentioned above, every track on Sounds Sphere is curated for quality so you won’t have to waste time wading through low quality tracks or badly mixed beats. This significantly cuts down on the time it takes you to find a track you like that’s relevant to your style.

Because Sounds Sphere has a standardized non-exclusive contract, you can feel confident knowing what you can and can’t do with any track you license from the site.

No more worrying about different contracts from different producers with restrictive terms. Sounds Sphere’s contract is favorable to artists allowing up to 100k streams AND sync rights with their basic license. They have options for exclusivity as well if you want to buy out the full rights without restrictions.

The pricing on Sounds Sphere is competitive with other sites, but they have a slightly different structure than most places. Sounds Sphere offers membership options, both monthly and annual, for artists wanting a deeper relationship with a trusted partner.

Annual members get unlimited beat downloads all year which is an incredible deal for the price point of $599. Monthly members can download 1 track per month for $39 with both plans also getting free mastering on their songs and free consultation on things like distribution and promotion. You can also buy a “one off” license if you don’t want a membership.

Sounds Sphere also has a featured artist program to help with exposure for their members. Featured artists are promoted by Sounds Sphere on the website and social media which is a nice extra perk for artists especially when they release new music.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the site is the personalized playlist that every artist receives. After signing up for a free account or a membership plan, you are dropped into your profile where you can configure your genre preferences and start hearing relevant tracks to your style right away. Think of this as Netflix but for beats – a personalized experience based on what you listen to and how you rate the songs on a 1-5 star scale.

Sounds Sphere has an impressive platform despite being an early stage startup. It’s clear they’ve prioritized the artist experience to make finding a track, licensing it, and releasing songs a whole lot easier.

Conclusion

These days independent creators are more empowered than ever before and with an abundance of tools, taking your career into your own hands has never been easier.

Whether you use Beatstars or one of the alternatives mentioned above, we hope this article was helpful in narrowing down the features to look for as a producer and experience to expect as an artist.