It’s no secret that in our digitally-driven age, an individual’s music career can be bolstered tenfold by a strong social media following (if it’s necessary is an entirely different subject). The conversation surrounding how social media platforms shape an artist’s musical ambitions, expectations for success and feelings of self-worth is a topic that Mixmag has revisited (and debated) time and time again.
Navigating today’s online musical landscape is no easy task. Creating a profile that captures people’s imagination and makes one’s sonic profile stand out is considered by many to be an art form of its own. Others simply consider it “good hustle". This is not to say that artists can’t have a successful music career without a loyal online following, but it's a tool that, if handled correctly and creatively, can make the difference between waiting five years to start getting recognition and five months before your first big break.
With over 77 million users worldwide, Instagram has become a place where burgeoning music producers can showcase their talents with short and engaging content while amassing large followings based on the merit of their beats, style and personality. With only 60 seconds to spare, many producers have found that a short demonstration of their chops on Instagram can do more for their career than any premiere, interview or booking could ever achieve. The platform is filled with channels like Hits Bananas, Gods Connect and The Best Beatmakers that collect the most engaging Instagram beats they can find and spread the word on these promising bedroom producers.
Creating an engaging music expo with one’s smartphone can lead to more Bandcamp purchases, greater connections in the industry and a loyal online fanbase. While the majority of artists use Instagram as a way to promote their EPs, albums and tours, there are MPC, APC and SP-404 warriors who have made full careers out of selling their beats to rappers through Instagram - asking those who are interested in buying any to “DM for beats".
With that, we picked 10 of our best producers on Instagram below who have successfully used the platform to help advance, revitalize and/or kickstart their music careers. Check out our choices below.
A veteran music creator with a formidable work ethic, Nottz is “da ruler” of Instagram beats. A veteran of the hip hop scene and a militant boom-bap enthusiast, Nottz has created beats for the likes of Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, The Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Rakim, Rapsody, Snoop Dogg and countless others. In 2017, the legendary Pete Rock took to Twitter to shout out this producer's relentless creative output after putting out 1700 beats in 360 days that year. What does Nottz do with all that music? He puts it out there for the world to see on Instagram and waits for the right lyricist to come along and snag his creation (for a fee). His dizzying discography continues to grow at an incredible rate and Instagram has been instrumental in allowing him to do so.
*Nottz's Instagram account is private so request to follow here and prepare for some serious neck-bending behavior.
Award-winning sound designer Richard Devine got his start as an industrial techno producer over 20 years ago. Early in his career, he released cutting-edge music on labels such as Schematic, Chocolate Industries, Warp and Sublight while having also worked at Native Instruments developing tools for signal mangling. Devine is an in-house sound designer at Google and has worked for the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Jaguar, BMW, Nike and more.
Aside from being an in-demand sound-designer, his Instagram videos - which show off the maestro's massive, sophisticated and visually stunning studio and custom Eurorack - have made him a figurehead of the modular synth community. This mad scientist's stunning and experimental work has spread across the platform like wildfire with awe-struck producers from all across the music spectrum looking on in wonder and amazement at the sounds generated in his sonic laboratory. One of the best producers on Earth, let alone Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
#Repost @nativeinstruments ・・・ Thank you so much for giving me this amazing opportunity! It was a hell of a ride! 🦅 Thanks to @heartfeltmanagement, @o_koeppel & @berglicht_filmproduktion for being the best team a junk-E-cat can wish for... 🙏🙏🙏 - „The new MASCHINE MIKRO has landed
A self-described “Berlin-based creature” who “creates and produces his music on the fly and in real-time,” Junk-E-cat is a who uses reed instruments and Maschine finger drumming to create some wildly unique sounds. Disguised in a mysterious mask and onesie, the producer has intrigued audiences with his highly technical improvisations that take place in wildly unique locations all throughout Europe.
Maria The Tang
A dedicated 21-year-old beatmaker from Lima, Peru, Maria The Tang has been cranking out beats on her AKAI MPK mini for a little under a year and she has already gained over 20,000 followers. Whether she’s in her bedroom, enjoying the great outdoors, brushing her teeth or cooking it up in her kitchen, it looks as though Maria’s nifty production kit never leaves her side. She makes everything from dusty breakneck beats to rolling trap bangers to bubbly pop beats and her knack for production only seems to be growing stronger. It’s safe to say that there is not much of a booming hip hop scene in Lima and by taking to Instagram to share her passion with the world, she’s found a musical outlet that has people taking notice.
View this post on Instagram
“Setup” 🥓 emoji if you dig it. Hit the ribbon you want it on Spotify. stlndrms.com for the drums. @controllerise is the mob... should’ve probably cleaned the record before I made the beat lol . . . #nerdstuff #beatmaking #beats #lofibeats #chillbeats #music #chillmusic #atlantamusic #independentmusic #lofi #chillvibe #lofihiphop #chillhop #musicislife #producerlife #independentartist #atlantaart #atlantaartist #vinylrecords #atlmusic #atlart #controllerise #stlndrms
"My endgame as an influencer is to inspire people to do more of the things that inspire them.”
Posting new videos of his chilled-out musical efforts via Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis, STLNDRMS is an Atlanta-based beatmaker and record digger who is dead set on elevating the ATL’s beat community. He is the host of his own weekly BEATS+CHILL show on Facebook live and is the founder of ControlleRISE - a collective and showcase which taps the most talented producers from all over his city to perform at various “vibe sessions” that play over a backdrop of anime cartoons. With over 50 thousand followers on social media, STLNDRMS’ ethos and musical approach are at the very heart of the “lo-fi beats and chill” phenomenon that took hold of the internet in 2018.
Beats by J Black
Armed with his MPC2500 and Maschine, Beats by J Black started posting videos of his precise and neck-snapping finger-drumming productions to Instagram and various social media sites back in 2015. When discussing his rise to fame on social media with Melodics, J Black says the key to success is consistency. “The crazy part is you don’t have to be that good. Just stay consistent and good things will come. Be as loose as you can! And don’t just follow the squares follow the rhythm.”
The multi-talented Maddie Jay is a self-proclaimed “bedroom producer” who creates everything from psychedelic rock to lo-fi hip-hop with an upbeat and immersive feel to it. Growing up in the wilderness of Canada, Maddie’s love of music took her to Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied bass. While still working as a “hired gun” for bands all over the city of Angeles, Maddie is a whiz at putting together savvy and winsome videos of her elegant apartment room creations.
Odd Kid Out
If Araab Muzik and Machinedrum had a child, that child would be OddKidOut - a new and noteworthy talent that is taking finger-drumming to a whole new level. Skrillex discovered this young gun through his unholy skills on the Maschine that OddKidOut showcased on his Instagram page. This eventually led to the release of his debut EP ‘Solstice’ on Skrillex’s OWSLA imprint in the summer of 2018. He went on to create his own OddKidOut imprint and released his debut album ‘The Slow Drip’ that same year. It goes to show that one raucous display of talent on Instagram can land you in all the right places.
View this post on Instagram
using my sick day 2 flip a sample by @weareking’s Paris Strother (one of my favorite producers/artists in the game) from her demo for the Moog One (which I am drooling over). U can also see some brand new @meris.us goodness in there for some extra reverb-y/smooth-space-delay-y vibes (gonna post more on these next week) in the meantime, come check out my perfectly 100% healthy set for @socksoffpresents this Saturday and say hi!! And wash your hands and don’t hang out with sick children! #beat #beats #producer #hiphop #lofi #chillhop #sp404sx #bass #moog #meris #roland #synths #delay #pedals #gearporn #sickday #ugh #pickupbeats @pickupbeats @spbeatmakers
Classically trained artist bad snacks combines her love for hip hop and experimental electronic production with her dizzying violin skills to create magnetic compositions that are a blast to watch. Currently based in Los Angeles, bad snacks runs her own Youtube channel where she shows aspiring producers her nifty studio tricks. Whether she is pounding it out on her SP 404 or serenading on her electric violin, bad snacks is all talent all the time.
The Columbian born and Brooklyn-based producer The Phronetic is a boom bap enthusiast making hot hip hop beats for the masses. At 25 years of age, The Phronetic owes his reputation as one of BK's hottest beat-makers to Instagram. "Instagram is the number one reason why I am where I am," he claims in an interview with Formarlon. "I made my career just by posting little beat videos on IG." Understanding how Instagram could be a vital tool for others in the beat community, The Phronetic created Producer City - a community for producers and beat-makers from all around the world who can get featured on its noteworthy Instagram page by hashtaging #producercity.
The LA-based experimental electronic musician Baseck has been in the city's underground rave scene since the '90s, churning out harsh and heavy dancefloor tunes for almost two decades now. His hand-on hardware approach and various antics in the studio are a blast to watch on Instagram, and he has amassed a solid social media following because of it. His latest EP, 'Energy Morph', just dropped on Boysnoize Records this year.
View this post on Instagram
We were just chillin in my backyard and @nessence_ picked up the Kalimba and started playing this melody so you know I had to make a beat with it 🎶 What do you think?? Couple goals or nah?? . . And I just happened to be wearing my Lando shirt and my @childishgambino x @adidas so I had to throw one of his verses on it . . . . #prodbyldre #boombap #boombapbeats #lofihiphop #lofibeats #lofiaesthetic #lofi #lofivibes #chillhop #chillhopbeats #lofibeats #musicproducers #producerlife #makingbeats #beatmakers #pickupbeats #producerlife #beatstarscookup #lofibeats #chillhopmusic #childishgambino
A graduate of The Los Angeles Recording School for music production, L.Dre's skills first started to get noticed after cooking up hot beats for his Instagram page in his backyard and garage. Once his Instagram account started to take off, L.Dre took advantage of the hype surrounding his skills and set off to create instructional videos for blossoming producers on Youtube, offer up his chops for interested lyricists, releasing instrumental albums and selling sample packs online. " I’d say I am most known for my beat making videos on Instagram," he says in an interview with Voyage LA. "I have been posting them consistently and I'm very proud of how much my account has grown in the few months that I have been doing it. I plan to keep it going."
View this post on Instagram
Who needs an SP-404 anyway? And yes that is a canoe behind me . . . . . . . . #mpd26 #akai #drumpads #drummachine #sp404 #livebeat #beatmaking #beatmaker #fingerdrumming #16pads #lofi #hiphop #lofihiphop #lofihouse #housemusic #deephouse #beat #beats #livebeatmaking #beatmakerlife #producerlife #livehiphop #instrumentalhiphop #womeninmusic #femalebeatmaker #ableton #abletonlive #techno #moshun @hitsbananas @thebeatchamber @pickupbeats @bestbeatmakersworld
Chicago native Moshun is a self-made beat queen that is fully invested in the growth of her sound and musical network. Now in her third year of college, Moshun's spaced out funk, neo-soul and hip hop sounds are directly tied to her belief that music has "the power to heal, unite, and motivate positive social change."
Currently working on graduating college, Moshun's next step is to travel to Los Angeles and connect with the city's extensive hip hop community that she has connected with over social media. She also plans on using that time to conduct case study research for her senior year thesis which focuses on active female producers in LA. Help out by donating to Moshun's Go Fund Me here.
The comedic and talented Shawn Wasabi will make a beat with just about anything. Hooking up a few midi sensors to anything he can get his hands on, Shawn Wasabi has created tracks with everything from ceiling fans to soda fountains. His mastery over his Midi Fighter 64 shows off his impeccable sense of time and rhythm which, combined with his peacocking style and happy-go-lucky attitude, results in wildly entertaining videos that have gained him a significant following. His beautifully produced Midi Fighter demonstrations have amassed tens of millions of views on Youtube and Wasabi’s bubbly and energetic pop productions continue to garner a great deal of attention. He's also performed at the Mixmag Lab LA and you can watch his performance here.
View this post on Instagram
#TBT to my Neverending Story cover. Artax didn’t die in the swamps of sadness. No he didn’t. He’s alive. He IS. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ -//- #tbt #protovolt #synth #moog #sub37 #synthwave #synthpop #synthesizer #darkwave #cyberpunk #musicproduction #musicproducer #musicstudio #retro #retrowave #newwave #newretrowave #outrun #80s #80smusic #1980s #roland #electronicmusic #neverendingstory #falkor #jx3p #vintagesynth
A self-confessed synth lord, super-villain and composer, Protovolt collects synths… a lot of synths… and he knows how to use them. Donning fingerless gloves and wearing black nail paint, Protovolt runs around his studio composing on a collection of synthesizers that is so vast, it would put Legowelt to shame. Everything from original tracks to The Game of Thrones theme song, the cyberpunk and dark-wave twist that runs through his productions tells you that he means business (and is available for scoring).
Cameron is Mixmag's Jr. Editor. Follow him on Twitter
Read this next!