Episode 794: How To Make It In The Music Business : Planet Money Behind almost all popular music, there is this hidden economy of music producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other half-finished beats, and angling for back-end royalties.
NPR logo Episode 794: How To Make It In The Music Business

Episode 794: How To Make It In The Music Business

Illmind's library of beats is sought after by artists from LL Cool J to Bruno Mars. @KofMotivation/Courtesy of Illmind hide caption

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@KofMotivation/Courtesy of Illmind

Illmind's library of beats is sought after by artists from LL Cool J to Bruno Mars.

@KofMotivation/Courtesy of Illmind

Illmind is a music producer. He isn't famous. He doesn't DJ at festivals in front of huge crowds. He's not best friends with Drake. But the producers who do DJ for huge crowds, who are best friends with Drake — they know Illmind. They use his sounds. They text him when they're working on a song that needs a little something.

Aspiring producers who want to be famous — they also know Illmind. Some of them pay hundreds of dollars and fly across the country just to sit in a room with him and hear what he thinks of their work.

Behind almost all of the popular music you hear today, there is a hidden, high-tech, producer economy, where people trade and sell musical snippets and tiny sounds. Illmind is at the center of this economy. In fact, he helped create it.

Music: Alec Britt's "Africa" (Mario Paint Cover), LL Cool J (Feat. 50 Cent & Mobb Deep) "Queens", Frank Dukes' "Lap of Luxury," Anderson .Paak's, "The Season/Carry Me", J. Cole's "Love Yourz", and Illmind's "Reverse The Clock."

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