Notable beats sourced from BeatStars:
Lil Nas X – “Old Town Road” (Billboard #1 Single)
Flipp Dinero – “Leave Me Alone” (RIAA-certified Platinum)
“The music situation improved in October, when Hill stumbled upon the beat for ‘Old Town Road’ while trawling the site BeatStars, which allows aspiring artists to purchase or lease instrumentals. The track was made by Young Kio, a teen in the Netherlands. Kio marked the ‘Old Town Road’ instrumental as a ‘Future type beat,’ and Hill found it intoxicating.” – Rolling Stone
“Lil Nas X, however, says it’s all due to a combination of hard work and knowing how to use the tools of the internet to create something that would click with the masses. ‘Old Town Road,’ after all, started with a track he found on BeatStars, a site launched in 2008 for aspiring musicians to upload their instrumentals, that was created by YoungKio, a fellow teen from the Netherlands. Lil Nas X bought the track for $30 and wrote lyrics inspired by his anxieties over his parents’ disapproval of him dropping out of college.” – Vulture
“So, out of a combination of ingenuity and desperation, [BeatStars founder Abe Batshon] came up with an unprecedented idea. He hit up a producer in a chatroom, asking to use a beat. He offered to pay something, but less than the sale price—under the condition that the producer could still sell the beat to someone else. Thus the concept of a non-exclusive license for a beat was born. Batshon wouldn’t turn his idea into a full-fledged business until 2008, when he started Beatstars, an online marketplace for beats.” – Complex
“Sites like BeatStars help democratize the hip-hop landscape.” – Genius
In 2008, music business and technology veteran Abe Batshon convinced his wife to give him $2,000 to pursue a dream: He had seen how producers were sometimes mistreated by the record business, and wanted to change things. Over the ensuing decade, BeatStars went from being a small invitation-only producer forum to a revolutionary business that is changing the way people make music.
Batshon’s company quickly grew into the foremost marketplace for producers to share their beats. BeatStars not only allowed producers to sell and lease their tracks; it also teamed with top music industry lawyers to provide pre-drafted, customizable contracts that professionalized selling beats over the internet. Beatmakers were now getting paid at the point of transaction, and were getting all of the money from the sale—a first for a major music company.
Since its founding in 2008, BeatStars has put over $50 million into producers’ pockets. But even more important than the money is the effect the company is having on music making itself. BeatStars’ platform makes it easier than ever for people to collaborate and share their music, and as a result the music business is being democratized like never before. Tracks like Future and Rihanna’s “Selfish,” Joyner Lucas’ powerful “I’m Not Racist,” and, most recently, Lil Nas X’s Number One smash hit “Old Town Road” had their genesis on BeatStars, creating career-making opportunities for the platform’s users.
“The competitive marketplace democratizes the song creation process,” Batshon explains. “Instead of one artist licensing one beat, thousands of artists have a shot at making a viable song with the same beat, which gives the producer higher probability of the song being successful.”
BeatStars provides unparalleled ease for producers and artists to get and share all the tools necessary for success: licence agreements, stems, .wav files, studio files, and more. And the company is still forward-thinking: their iOS app has over 6,000 reviews at a rating of 4.9/5.0, and they are constantly offering new features to help producers, including a brand-new sales, messaging, and analytics application called, appropriately BeatStars Studio.
Producers such as CashMoneyAp, The Cratez, and “Old Town Road” beatsmith Young Kio have found success thanks to BeatStars, and more musicians are creating soon-to-be hit songs on the platform every day. BeatStars is aimed not just at hitmakers, of course. Many musicians use the platform to make a solid living far from the Billboard charts. “BeatStars is one of the last places where you can take up a trade as a musician and actually make a living doing it,” Batshon elaborates. “I want producers to build something lasting.”
And BeatStars is only growing: the company has been profitable since that very first family investment. Now, 11 years later, it’s not only still making money and offering new services all the time, it’s also the source of the beat for the biggest song of 2019. Best of all, the company’s vibrant user community ensures that it will keep growing for a long time to come.
Through all of it, BeatStars stays focused on the people who make it possible: the music makers. “We take it one producer at a time,” Batshon says. “We want producers to build something lasting. Helping the community achieve their dreams, that’s what it’s all about.”
Abe Batshon Bio
As a kid, when he was first being introduced to hip-hop by gangsta rap pioneer Spice 1, a young Abe Batshon had no idea that he would end up in the music business, much less revolutionize it. Batshon, the founder of BeatStars, has over the past decade changed the way music is made by creating not only the world’s top marketplace to buy and sell beats, but an entire community for music-makers—one that enables them to monetize their art, and even create smash hit songs, in ways that were impossible just a few years ago.
Batshon grew up in Hayward, California, and his introduction to hip-hop came from his neighbor Spice 1. In the 1990s, Batshon was an aspiring songwriter who realized he couldn’t afford to purchase beats for the thousands of dollars they cost at the time. So in 1996, he came up with the idea of obtaining a non-exclusive license—he could buy the beat for less than the normal price, but other people could use it as well. Abe’s single purchase, made in an AOL chatroom, would twelve years later blossom into BeatStars.
In 2008, Batshon put it all together. His time as a songwriter and his non-exclusive license concept, combined with his time in the tech world, plus several years working in the music industry with rap stars like Styles P, Macklemore, and Crooked I, all melded, and he created BeatStars.
The company originally had modest intentions: to be an invitation-only blog featuring great beats. But Batshon’s time in the music business let him know that producers needed an advocate.
“I kept hearing from producers about the lack of revenue streams for their content,” Batshon remembers. “Producers never had a voice in the industry. So I said, let’s disrupt. Let’s create an economy outside the industry. Hearing their grief allowed me to push for them, because it came about me fighting for them on a human level.”
That drive to fight for creators led Batshon to turn BeatStars into a one-stop-shop for producers. He decided to base his business on a subscription model, ensuring that producers don’t have to give him any of their hard-earned royalties on tracks that are sold on his platform. Abe’s innovation of a non-exclusive license allowed him to create an entire marketplace for producers to lease beats, in addition to selling them. His experience with the “black market” of beat sales led him to consult with top music industry lawyers to create pre-drafted, customizable contracts. BeatStars can handle revenue sharing and monetization. It has a marketplace for not only beats, but also sound kits and services. All of this—with more features being added all the time—means that Batshon’s company has paid back over $50 million to producers since its inception.
Batshon’s brainchild has also been the genesis for major hit songs. Future and Rihanna’s hit “Selfish” began its life on Batshon’s platform, as did Joyner Lucas’ powerful “I’m Not Racist.” And most recently, Lil Nas X found the beat for his Number One sensation “Old Town Road” on BeatStars. Batshon’s dedication to fighting for the producers of those tracks—his clients—may potentially have cost his company some money in the short term (imagine if he got a few cents for every one of those “horses in the back”!), but his principled stand in favor of creators ensures that the company has a happy client base and a long future ahead.
With all of his company’s success, Batshon remains focused on what motivated him in the first place: making things easier for producers. “Helping the community achieve their dreams,” he explains. “That’s what it’s all about.”
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