In a competitive world where it feels like everyone and their auntie is craving attention we wanted to ask should you still audio tag your beats? Trying to stick out as a producer is becoming increasingly difficult in a game that let's be honest is like many of the worlds creative industries and quickly becoming more and more saturated. Can tagging your beats still be a viable way to build your personal brand as a producer or can it sound like a gimmick, cheapening your brand, doing more harm than good? In this article were hoping we can shed some light on the subject. First off lets look at some of the history of beat tagging and how we have gotten you this point.
So who were some of the earliest pioneers to tag their beats? We only need to look at some of the earliest origins of hip hop and remember the hype man came before the MC. The hype mans job was not only to hype the crowd but would often spread the word of his DJ and it was not uncommon for a repetitive catchy phrase todo just that. We could say this is the truest origins of beat tagging. We could also look at the similarities between tagging your beats and tagging the streets and recognise wanting to have your name out there representing your art is nothing new. The graffiti artist has been doing just that since even way before the days of 'Taki 183'. Actually man has been carving his name or sticking his flag on just about everything possible since his first origins. Sure todays world might seem different but the needs and wants of the people have not changed quite as much as it might seem. The majority of us want to have some recognition for what we do and tagging your beat really when you break it down is for that reason, to let people (the listener) know who you are and to build some fame and recognition for your craft.
However by todays standards we need only look to the late nineties and the music producers recognition of there star power, as some of the most recognised examples of tagging your beats. These producers such as Just Blaze, Swizz Beats, Alchemist, Timbaland to name a few recognised they were stars in their own right and began benefiting from performance royalties usually only associated with that of an artist. It started with adlibs and moved to what we call today a beat or sound tag. It was an essential part of the super music producers growth and not only helped build some of these producers personal brands but also gave them an alternative means to get paid on the track. Quickly producers were getting feature and artist credits and its thanks to some of these pioneers music producers today realise some of that wealth of potential and pulling power as artists within their own right.
Pros and Cons
So now we have established some of the origins of tagging your music let's look at some of the pros and cons of doing this today.
With those in mind lets have a look at some good examples of a beat tag. There's plenty of bad ones out there and were not into naming and shaming so your have to make up your own mind on some of those. Some of the best include.
Harry Fraud "la musica la Harry Fraud". Sets the vibe and contains his name.
Metro Boomin "If Young Metro don't trust ya, I'm gon' shoot ya...," Impactful and meamorable.
Mentioned before the iconic "Just Blaze", you know what time it is.
We've all heard them "DJ Khaled" + "and another one" + "we the best"
Look as always we are not going to be the ones to tell you what is right and wrong for your career and growth as a producer. That is most definitely in your hands to decide and what works for one may not for another. The rules are of course there to be broken. Taking into consideration the pros and cons of tagging your beats though there are definitely some good practices to take into account when your making up your mind of wether you should of shouldn't use them.
Some of the better examples seem to use their tags sparingly, once at the start for example. Having the tag repeat throughout can quickly become annoying and in our opinion make it sound less professional.
If you decide you are going to create a custom sound tag try and record and edit it as professionally as possible. There are many services out there that will even do this for you for a small price so poor quality really shouldn't be an option.
Finally try and think of something that matches your production style and reflects you uniquely you as a producer. As often is the case the ones not trying to fit in will be the ones to stand out so try to come up with something original.What do you think? Are you going to continue to tag your beats in 2018 and beyond or do you have an alternative inovative way of making yourself known to the listener? We would love to hear your thoughts, you can drop them in the comments below.