Sample packs can offer creators inspiration and speed up the process of making beats and writing songs. The growth in popularity of sample packs in the hip-hop and electronic music communities are undeniable.
Have you had thoughts of selling your own sample packs? Maybe you’re thinking about developing a series of samples, maybe the project is already well underway.
Either way, it is a timely opportunity to jump on, and if you do it the right way, you could make a solid income.
So, let’s look at the key steps in selling sample packs online.
Prepare Your Creative
It may seem too obvious to say, but selling samples begins with preparing your creative. This doesn’t just mean your sample files, mind you. From a high-level view, there are several other considerations you must be thinking about, and the more you think like an entrepreneur, the better.
Here’s what you need to know:
Keep It Simple
“I should provide my customers with as many samples as possible. That’s going to help me make a greater income and it’s going to add more value to my customers.”
There is some merit to this way of thinking. But kicking off your career with 500 to 1,000 samples is going to prove ambitious and overwhelming.
Instead of creating, curating, and organizing hundreds of sample files, why not start with about 50 of your best material?
If someone is looking for sample packs, there’s a good chance they already have hundreds or even thousands of samples on their hard drive already, and what they’re looking for is more specialized and less generic.
Surprise and delight your initial customers with quality material.
Bundle Up Your Files
This means putting all the relevant samples in a single folder. But you should also be thinking about file format.
For samples, WAV is best. It allows you to deliver your samples in a high quality, well recognized format.
Samples can be organized by BPM, genre, instruments, and other metadata. If you’re planning to bundle up a lot of files, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add this information, or even organize your various samples into subfolders.
When all is said and done, you’ll want to create a consolidated ZIP folder of your material, as ZIP is supported by Macs and PCs.
Create Your Artwork
We’re not done yet! There are still several more steps to preparing for your launch.
The next thing you need is some compelling looking artwork for your sample pack. Look, the bar is quite high nowadays. If you want to compete with the whales, you’ve got to look as professional as they do.
If you’re an advanced designer, then I probably don’t need to tell you that Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator are excellent applications for developing your artwork.
If you’re a new or intermediate designer, then you should be able to find some nice-looking designs on Canva and edit them to your liking. Canva has plenty of great “album cover” templates you can take advantage of. Some are free, some are paid.
Finally, if you can’t possibly wrap your head around design or the process only frustrates you, hire a freelancer. Try Fiverr – there are plenty of freelancers at different price points and you can personally choose which you think is right for your project.
If Fiverr doesn’t work, for whatever reason, then try Upwork or Freelancer. These are slightly harder to use, but you can still get your designs done affordably.
Create Compelling Audio Previews
You must have a compelling audio preview if you hope to be able to make an income from your sample packs. You want to make a strong first impression.
Here’s what to do.
First, create two audio previews:
- A 10 to 20 second full production song showcasing the included samples
- Another clip with samples in isolation
Be sure to mix and master your previews for best results. You can also include a short audio tag in your previews for branding purposes (that lets users know who the samples were created by).
That’s the bare minimum, but you can create additional audio previews depending on all the ways you intend to promote your work (clips for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.).
Prepare Your Product Description
Product descriptions can sometimes make or break sales. But never fear. Keep it simple and you will win.
The basic structure of a compelling product description is as follows:
- Headline. Something attention grabbing, like “finally, the vintage R&B sample pack you’ve been waiting for.”
- Why. Before you get into the features, talk about why the user should care. Why would they be interested in the sample pack? What will it help them accomplish? Why will they enjoy it?
- Features. Finally, cover it off with the features – how many samples, sample length, types of samples, post-processing methods, etc. You can be as detailed and specific as you want. But remember – people will buy the headline and the “why” before they buy features.
Draft Your Licensing Agreement
Your sample pack must come with a licensing agreement and / or terms and conditions document that lets your customers know what they can and can’t do with your material.
For all intents and purposes, we recommend keeping your document simple and if possible, customizing existing templates, which you can Google.
The key points to cover are as follows:
- Indicate that you are licensing (and not selling) the samples so that you retain copyright
- Indicate that your sample pack should not be re-sold, re-licensed, or shared with another user
- Indicate whether users can use your samples for commercial work (in most cases, you should let buyers do this as it means there will be a broader range of uses for your sample material)
- Indicate whether your sample pack is royalty free (meaning you aren’t owed royalties when the samples are used – this is usually the best arrangement)
Decide On Your Pricing
How will you price your sample packs? Obviously, it can’t hurt to see what’s out there to determine whether you’re being realistic / competitive with your pricing.
Prices generally range from about $20 to $250, but of course you can find cheaper or more expensive products depending on the provider and their overall goals.
If you’re starting with a smaller sample pack to test reactions, it would be wiser to go cheaper. Just don’t go so cheap that people think your product isn’t worthwhile. You could set an “early bird” incentive if you wish – for instance, 99 cents for the first seven days.
Long-term, you can test many price points to see what the market tolerates and what helps you get the best sales results.
Set Up Your Online Store
With all your material in order, you’re ready to set up your online store.
We recommend everyone set up their own website, but beyond that, there are some powerful eCommerce tools you can take advantage of, as well as online marketplaces where getting your products listed would mean massive exposure.
We cover all below.
Your Own Website
There are some amazing third-party tools and marketplaces out there for selling your sample packs. But before we even get to those, we should cover home base – your own website.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Preferably, it should be a self-hosted WordPress installation (meaning you’ve purchased a domain name and web hosting on a site like SiteGround).
Long-term, there’s no social network, platform, or tool that will be able to sell your products better than your own site. But it takes dedication and commitment to build, and it’s much faster in the immediate to get attention through networking and social media.
The difference is that while Facebook may change algorithms, YouTube may apply further content restrictions, and TikTok may be gone in a year or two, your website is yours to keep, and it will never go away.
As well, you can set the price for your products on your own website with 100% of your earnings going towards you – commission-free (except for maybe Stripe / PayPal / banking fees). This is not possible with any other third-party site.
We’ll talk more about promoting your samples a little later.
It may be news to some that you can sell just about any kind of audio product on Bandcamp. It’s set up nicely that way, because you can let users preview your material, add relevant information and production descriptions, and point your fans to new releases as you launch more material. You can embed your releases on your website too.
It’s free to get started with Bandcamp.
Sellfy lets you set up your own eCommerce store in minutes, and it was developed with creators in mind. You can even embed your Sellfy store on your own website.
Sellfy has a free plan that lets you add up to 10 products, which is perfect for newbies.
Gumroad makes it easy for you to set up and sell your products – digital or physical – and even subscriptions. Name a type of creator (software developer, writer, musician, or otherwise), and you will probably find someone who uses Gumroad to sell their products.
As with Sellfy, Gumroad has options that allow you to embed your products on your own website.
Sample Pack Marketplaces
There are many sample pack marketplaces out there (with some acting as labels), and most of them sell independent creations in some capacity. There may be some hoops to jump through to get your products listed on these sites but doing so would greatly expand your reach and grow your sales.
Note that there are no guarantees you’ll be able to get your products promoted through these channels, but as you get more established, they are worth reaching out to. These include:
- Production Music Live
- And others
Promote Your Sample Packs
Chances are you will need to promote your work yourself to see any kind of traction, especially early on. Here we summarize the three most effective channels for newcomers to utilize in growing their customer base.
Long-term, content and SEO can help you drive a ton of traffic to your website. But it can be complicated and require a lot of work and patience. In the short run, getting attention on social media is sure to prove more viable.
The best type of content to create for your sample pack is a YouTube video. There are many examples out there – take inspiration from the best ones.
Then, add your video to other social networks:
- And others
First, focus on distributing and syndicating your video. Then, you can create variations on the video to give your sample pack promotion a second and third life.
Learn specifically about YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram ads. You’re bound to get the best results with these.
Social advertising obviously costs money and it’s typical for new advertisers to waste a lot of money early on until they arrive at a winning ad.
Because of that, advertising takes patience and a willingness to learn. Fortunately, there are free and low-cost courses out there that can teach you the ins and outs of making effective ads.
Plus, advertising is one of the best ways to get widespread exposure in a short amount of time.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to networking. The key is to identify which methods are going to work best for you. Here are some possibilities to consider:
- Get your friends to share your new sample packs on social media
- Find blogs that talk about sample packs and ask them to review your new sample pack
- Connect with other creators and agree to share each other’s work on social media
- Reach out directly to producers, studio engineers, and artists (get testimonials and endorsements)
How To Sell Sample Packs As A Music Producer, Final Thoughts
There can be a lot to think about when it comes to selling sample packs, but the entire process can be broken down into three major steps – 1) preparation, 2) setting up your store, and 3) promoting your work.
Once your product is ready, the only thing left to do is to promote, and arguably that’s the most important part. So, don’t skimp on marketing, especially if you want to make sales. Pour your blood, sweat, and tears into it.