How To Finish Your Beats: 9 Music Production Endgame Strategies
Starting a new beat is the fun part. It’s much more challenging to finish beats, working through the more tedious aspects of composition and arrangement. However, finishing your beats is an important practice that sets you up for success.
If you’re in the habit of completing as many songs as possible, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to formally release a project than someone who has an endless collection of 8-bar ideas.
Thankfully, you can train yourself to start finishing your music. Below, we’ll share nine key music production strategies that will help you complete your beats.
9 Ways To Complete Unfinished Beats
Do you have some promising uncompleted beats? Try out some of these strategies to help you make your way to the music production finish line.
1. Set Creative Constraints
While it may sound counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to spark creativity is to impose limitations on your process. Setting a couple of strategic constraints allows you to make decisions more efficiently, bringing yourself closer to the music production finish line.
For instance, you might set a timer for 20 minutes to an hour, challenging yourself to purely focus on furthering your progress during your set period. You’d be surprised how much you can get done when you put your mind to it.
Other creative constraints that might spark inspiration include incorporating five random samples into your beat or recording the rest of your instrumentation into your DAW. You don’t have to necessarily stick to these rules, but they might be enough to jumpstart your creativity.
2. Ask For Help
In the age of social media platforms like TikTok, you always have an endless selection of musician production collaborators at your fingertips. You could take an unfinished beat, and invite your followers to create a “duet”, opening your ears to new sonic possibilities. Another route is to ask your following directly for suggestions on how to improve your beat or expand upon it. Utilizing hashtags like #producer and #musician will help you find your crowd.
Reddit and Discord also host a variety of music production forums where you can source feedback directly from producers all over the world. Something as simple as a poll on Instagram or Facebook Stories can also help point you in the right direction, all while letting your followers in on the process.
3. Set Up A Formal Collaboration
Unfinished beats can be an excellent way to pitch potential collaborators and finish out tracks. You can send a short snippet of your unfinished beats to potential collaborators, asking if they could see themselves on one of the tracks or would like to play with the stems. By sending multiple unfinished beat demos, your collaborators will have a turnkey way to say yes or no to making a track together.
If you do score a collaboration, having the accountability of another person makes it easier to follow through with finishing your beats. Set up a concrete release schedule, and you’ll have no trouble finishing your tracks.
4. Sell Your Beats
If you have a bunch of beats that you like but not enough for a formal release, consider selling your beats. There are various platforms that provide services to help you shop your music, whether that’s selling loops, sample packs, or completed beats. This is a great avenue that can help you monetize your music, boost your reputation as a producer, and finish your tracks.
It might take a bit to garner a following on beat marketplaces like any other platform, but with enough dedication and awesome music, this can certainly become a viable source of passive income for producers.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Duplicate or Use Loops
Contrary to what some production purists may believe, loops are amazing tools that can be used to help you start and finish tracks. There’s nothing wrong with flipping a loop sample to fill out the rest of your song or using a loop as it is!
Services like BPM Create provide an endless supply of music stems, samples, and loops to help you complete your tracks. You can easily locate the perfect sample by typing in the key or tempo of your beat, instrument type, and/or the vibe you’re going for.
You can also duplicate sections in your song to help fill out your beat. For instance, if you have the first verse and chorus done, simply duplicate those sections to create your second verse and second chorus. From there, you can go back and add variation to create distinction throughout the song.
While you probably don’t want to keep the first and second half of your song sounding exactly the same, creating a basic outline of your beat can help you fill in the gaps efficiently. Fill out your composition with loops or duplicates and create variation to taste.
6. Focus on Completion, Rather Than Curation
Remember, not every composition needs to serve as your magnum opus. The act of completing a beat frees your headspace to make room for new creations. Even if you’re not keen on officially releasing a track, take the time to complete it.
It’s a rare, helpful habit that will serve as a building block to your next great song. Every completed track helps you grow as a producer, even if no one hears it outside of your DAW.
7. Delete A Major Element
Sometimes you can become “stuck” in a song after repeatedly hearing it in the same context. To shake things up, save your project as a new session and delete or silence a major musical element. This could be the main drum pattern, the bass line, or even your topline melody.
It can feel daunting to “kill your darlings” so to speak, but it might just unlock a new creative path allowing you to finish your beat. Plus, you’ll always be able to refer back to your original session just in case.
8. Seek Out Remix Challenges
Remix and beat challenges are an excellent way to spark creativity and stay accountable as a producer. BPM Supreme and BPM Create regularly host challenges that can land official releases with major artists, premium subscriptions, and more. Challenges have built-in deadlines to help you complete beats within a set timeframe and also serve as an amazing way to network with other beat makers in the community.
9. Take A Step Back
Sometimes, taking a quick break is truly necessary for fostering future creativity. Setting aside time to enjoy life outside of music is key to avoiding burnout and reducing ear fatigue. Just make sure you schedule your return and stick to it.
You can even come up with a list of possible solutions for finishing your beat before taking a hiatus. For example, your notes might be, “Try another bass line” or “The kick and snare aren’t gelling.” Making production notes before heading out gives you a plan of action upon return, making it that much easier to finish your beats once you’re rested and recharged.
Every producer is different, so be sure to mix and match these strategies to find what works best for you. With a little patience and dedication, crossing the beat finish line becomes an integral part of your process.
About the Writer
Kate Brunotts is an audio engineer and music producer from New York City. When she’s not writing about music, producing music, or singing and songwriting, Kate helps others realize their unique sound, whether through a fresh mix, new instrumental approach, or total rework of a particular sound.