Beatopia is the first beat subscription service for rappers and singers. A $15 monthly subscription guarantees users access to five beats per month, including wav files and stems, as well as unlimited rights. The Beatopia archive is made up of exclusive beats created by hit-making producers, including those who have worked with Katy Perry, NBA YoungBoy, Gunna, Kehlani and Wizkid.
The company estimates there are 100 million people in the world that want to make songs, and the aim of the website’s founder, Tasos Frantzolas, is to “shake things up in the music creation space.” Beatopia is, crucially, “skill-level agnostic”, meaning anyone in the world who wants to rap or sing can sign-up and start making music.
Frantzolas previously founded the royalty-free sound effects library, Soundsnap, which attracted clients such as HBO, Vice, Apple, Microsoft and Pixar. Rolling Stone Australia speaks to Frantzolas about what drove him to launch Beatopia and how the subscription service is making music creation simpler and more accessible.
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Rolling Stone Australia: Congratulations on the launch of the new website. How has it been received so far?
Tasos Frantzolas: The response so far has been unbelievable. We are growing fast week after week. Rappers and singers from all over the world have been thanking us. Many can see our vision and think that this is going to change the game forever. We are really overwhelmed by the response of the music community.
RS: Why did you want to get rid of the pay-per-beat model and adopt a subscription model? What are the primary benefits of a monthly subscription?
TF: Our goal is to enable more creativity and allow millions of people to experiment with making songs. The way to do this is to have one affordable subscription that creates more value.
By allowing unlimited streams and giving everyone the wavs and stems at a low flat monthly price, you are giving that extra value to the user that has always been constrained by high prices. We are also not maximising what we charge people who would be willing to pay more.
We want to create more value than what we capture and give this extra value back to the creative community.
RS: Beatopia is described as a website with “more than type beats’” How do you back up this claim? And what’s the quality control process like?
TF: Type beats are great for fast discovery, but our producers don’t try to emulate anyone in particular. When they evoke a similar feel as another artist, they’re tagged as such.
We listen to hundreds of beats submitted by producers or that we have sought out ourselves, and we only accept about five out of every 100 producers. Every beat on Beatopia is professionally mixed and mastered by world-class, in-house producers.
Our competitors are in the business of quantity, not quality.
We’ve flipped the model and put a lot of money and time into making sure every beat sounds amazing. Every beat is handpicked by us and there are no user uploads—and our users are responding enthusiastically.
RS: How does Beatopia’s unlimited rights policy actually work? Specifically, how are royalties split? And does everyone involved have full knowledge of the legal situation when claiming a beat?
TF: Our license is very simple, so you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand it. Every track you download from Beatopia allows unlimited streams. You don’t need to upgrade your license like you do with every other platform because there are no limitations on how many years you can use it or what you can do with it. We simplified all this by creating one master license that applies to everything.
When you create a new track, you need to credit the producer and link back to Beatopia. If you distribute through something like DistroKid or Tunecore, the publishing is split 50-50% between the producer and artist. Beatopia doesn’t touch that.
RS: Beatopia prides itself on having exclusive beats from hitmakers. Your beatmakers have produced for Gunna, Kehlani, Katy Perry, Lil Peep, Polo G and Wizkid. How did you recruit the producers?
TF: It was tough and slow in the beginning. What helped was the background with Soundsnap and our previous success with that. After a while, word-of-mouth worked in our favour and producers started reaching out to us because they liked the business model.
RS: Can you name some of the beatmakers who’ve produced for these big-name artists?
TF: There’s many, but to name a few: Big Head (Lil Peep, NBA Youngboy and Lil Pump’s ‘Gucci Gang’ with over a billion streams); Space Primates (Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry); JabariOntheBeat (Fetty Wap, Polo G, Ty Dolla $ign); TUC, from Lagos, Nigeria (Wizkid); U-dub (Young M.A); Manzo (Gunna, Yung Pinch, Lil Tracy.)
RS: What’s your working relationship like with the producers? Do you give them specific tasks? Are they on the payroll?
TF: We typically buy the exclusive rights to the master, but the producers keep all their publishing and performance rights. So it’s a win-win for everyone if a track blows up.
We really like to let the creative juices flow and not commission specific styles from producers. They are the experts and we believe in letting them do what they do best and have them lean into their natural genre and style. We then curate the ones we think will work for our audience.
RS: Trap and hip hop beats are the most prevalent beats on Beatopia. Do you think that will always be the case? Or do you want to expand the other genres, including rock, country, and dance music?
TF: We started with a large number of trap and hip hop beats because we knew our early adopters would be into that. But we really want to go outside those styles. Some subgenres that we love are Afropop, trap soul, alternative R&B and indie pop type beats.
RS: Subscriptions are $15 a month. What makes it a worthwhile investment for artists on the rise?
TF: It’s an enormous bargain for anyone starting out. Leasing a beat from any competitor today would cost between $25 and $40 just for one mp3. It then goes up to $200 for one track if you want to get the full rights, wav and stems, and that’s simply not sustainable for most vocalists.
We offer five beats a month—wav and stems with unlimited rights for $15. If you want to play around with professional beats and are on a budget, we got your back. If we can help more people become creative and stay creative, we all win.
RS: Are there any future plans you can announce?
TF: We have incredible things in the pipeline but we can’t announce them quite yet. Stay tuned. Shout out to the Beatopia team for making this happen.