The population growth of producers may make musicians nervous. But here’s one potential upside – there’s now a growing market for your sounds, not just your tracks. The latest deal between Loopmasters and Beatport points in this direction.
Follow along here, because this partnership is a little tricky to explain. (CDM was given an exclusive first look at the deal slightly in advance.) First, US- and Germany-based Beatport already had its own section full of loops and sound packs, called Beatport Sounds – and Beatport over the years has told us it’s been a big, growing business.
On the Loopmasters side, that company has a robust business across a number of models – you can buy sounds a la carte as downloads, you can subscribe to Loopcloud, or, via a sister company, you can stock up on plug-in effects and instruments (and preset content) via Plugin Boutique.
So, what happens now is, Beatport invests in Loopmasters, they sell their Beatport Sounds business to Loopmasters, and then over time you’ll see the Loopmasters stuff show up as part of the Beatport site. Beatport has some 36 million annual visitors, meaning that is some significant customer acquisition and sales potential added to Loopmasters. Loopmasters remains one of soundware’s enduring players, operating since 2003 and with sound partnerships with most major gear makers – plus, crucially, a huge catalog of the kinds of sounds producers in some particularly lucrative genres want. So the pairing makes sense.
There’s another angle here – there’s an overlap between content that can be streamed live, not downloaded, on a subscription model, rather than an a la carte model. That’s been Beatport’s push with Beatport Link and Beatport Pro, but only when it comes to tracks. Loopmasters has pulled off the much harder feat of making this work with sounds. Their Loopcloud tool not only lets you subscribe to content, but lets you preview sounds right inside your DAW, even matched to key and tempo.
Beatport and Loopmasters haven’t said yet what it’ll look like, but they at least promise that we’ll see these Loopmasters tools (including the streaming and subscription stuff) integrated into Beatport’s site “over the next year.”
Beatport and Loopmasters may be most excited about these gee-whiz streaming and subscription features, but with or without it, I suspect it’s a big deal that Beatport will have access to Loopmasters’ exhaustive catalog. That means for people looking for a particular genre or bit, it’s more likely to be there – and that Loopmasters can acquire DJs curious about dabbling in production (or even adding some live loops to a hybrid set) who may not yet be familiar with the Loopmasters brand and products.
This also would appear to give Loopmasters a leg up as Native Instruments works on their own Sounds.com offering. (Keeping score, at least NI now has Maschine and Komplete Kontrol integration – with the latter offering DAW integration, as does Loopcloud.) There also something coming with Plugin Boutique, but the two companies haven’t said yet what they’re thinking.
The other math here I think is pretty obvious. With more people making music, even as the business of releasing music as albums may or may not be working for producers, there’s the chance that your customers might be other producers. I even wonder if we’ll start to see distribution and marketing deals that combine releases of albums with associated loops or sound content.
Of course, whether that appeals to artists is a pretty individual decision. I do also suspect this will reignite the discussion of soundware and originality. And it’s odd, in a way, that the market is now splitting between extreme homegrown sound design (like Eurorack modular) on one hand, and loads of instant-access pre-built content on the other. But such is the state of music in 2019 – code everything from scratch, concoct it out of loops, or really anything in between. Just be aware, DJs browsing loops, you may start with looking for a tech-house groove and wind up with thousands of dollars of modular gear in your house. Don’t say we didn’t try to warn you.