An Interview with: TrakTrain
TrakTrain, an invite-only platform for producers to sell their instrumentals. Now active for more than five years, the website has become a crucial asset for producers interested in monetizing their beats, kits and stems. However, not anyone can join Traktrain. Traktrain remains an exclusive invite-only platform differentiating artists based on their "quality," while Traktrain's main competitors, Beatstars and SoundClick, allow anyone to join.
The SoundCloud movement which emerged in the last five years could not have happened without TrakTrain acting as a medium for producers and artists to connect through their platform.
When did TrakTrain start and who founded it? What was the initial inspiration?
Traktrain was launched in 2013. Founded by me (I prefer to remain anonymous for now).
Was the website initially successful in bringing artists onto the website and who were it's main competitors?
The website was successful right away by us having some big producers on it in the beginning. Our competitor was Soundclick, Myflashstore and Beatstars but I wanted it to be invitation only to give the community a more “quality feel”.
How did you differentiate yourself and position yourself in the market?
We take a 0% fee on sales opposed to our competitors taking 15 and 30% from free accounts. So, that’s another way we were competitive.
Who were some of the first big producers you had on the site and whom you offered invitations to?
SmokeASac, Mexiko Dro, Chase N Cashe, Fish Narc, And other producers who have produced for Eminem, Drake, Beyonce, Travis Scott, And others but I can’t remember their names at the moment.
How has the site evolved since from 2013 until now?
Site has evolved by expanding the options for producers and buyers to get more from Traktrain. In the beginning we only offered MP3 uploads but now you can upload wavs, stems, and kits.
What were some of the obstacles you've had to overcome to get the site going or some of the hardships you've experienced since starting?
The biggest obstacle was finding ways to pay for the server fees in the beginning. Now that we have established a market place, artists are spending more money on instrumentals thus producers spending more in advertising, helping us pay for our server fees.
How big of a change has it been since offering kits? They've really become a staple now of producers.
Kits have helped create another stream of revenue for producers so we are very happy about this. Our primary focus as of right now is getting the most sales to producers by having a platform that delivers their products to customers with out any errors.
What was your solution to paying the server fees before the market place was established? Are you a one man operation?
In the beginning the server fees were cents, I did not expect the growth we had despite us being invitation only.
Are there other people working at TrakTrain?
It started by being just me in 2013, then in 2017 we had 3 total, and now we are a team of 12.
Each year has the website been increasing in traffic and volume or was their a particular time period when it climaxed?
We reached our highest numbers in regards to traffic in February 2019 but have been a little under since then. The thing that I am the happiest about is the amount of sales have almost doubled for producers since last year and have consistently went up since the creation of the site. Not one month has gone by where there has been less sales then a previous month. The market place that we are creating i believe is the reason for this. But back to the traffic stats, with the amount of people requesting invite codes and the new features we have planned to help producers and customers connect better, we are predicting the stats to continue in our favor.
What would you say has been your proudest moment so far?
Proudest moment is when we first reached over 1 million in sales for producers in 2016.
Who do you think are some of the standout "rags to riches" stories which have emerged over the years from TrakTrain?
i know Joyner Lucas, Warner Music Group, Sony, Scarlxrd, and other artists, actors, and companies have purchased from Traktrain. I believe XXXtentacion & lil peep were on Traktrain because the majority of their producers were on Traktrain first, but regarding them it's only a hunch.
What do you think about the saying between people that producers are underappreciated?
I feel like producers are still under appreciated but this is changing dramatically with the amount of new producers coming on the scene. The producer community is uplifting and positive towards one another (from what I can see) so when a producer succeeds, it’s recognized and talked about within the producer community. I have a prediction that the next artists to really make a name for themselves will be producers as well and get the push initially from the producer community.
When you speak of the producer community - which websites or mediums to use to have discussions with other producers and stay up to date with this rapidly changing industry?
Great question. I personally speak with a lot of producers/artists. What’s sad is I just spoke with Hella Sketchy (who just passed away) in the DMs 2 months ago about what he is doing and things we are doing to help producers get more sales. I try to DM or talk on the phone with everyone. I spoke with Aires on the phone about 2 years ago when I discovered his music and he had very little following. There are a lot of people out here doing big things in small increments and I love finding them before they get that boost and network with them to build.