When you are browsing around the net looking for free music or sample downloads are you looking for 100% free downloads of beat and samples or just free samples (i.e. pay for the rest)?
Here in Japan a common phrase is “Yasukaro Warukaro” meaning basically you get what you pay for. If you are able to find a site which is offering 100% free downloads of sounds and synth samples, then the up-loader has obviously not but too much time or effort into obtaining the samples. They are more than likely ripped of from somewhere and the page will be full of Adense windows and pop-ups or pop-unders. The web masters will normally be using this method to monetize their site hoping that the free downloads will bring in more visitors therefore more clicks for cash.
On the other hand if you are downloading samples as part of a package to purchase. E.g. 10 sounds from a pack of 100, then you are more likely to get quality sounds. And if you want more, I suggest that you purchase the full package. There is no being stingy when it comes to music production. Money has to be spent at some stage. VST’s are inexpensive compared to the real hardware so if you have limited funds then a MIDI controller with VST is probably the best bet.
Other than that you will need the skill of sampling and editing music especially for hip hop however you will still need solid sounds for the base line and drums etc.
If you do a Google search you will find a lot of FREE synth download sites but the sounds definitely sound as good as any hardware. Especially pianos, simple piano VST may sound reasonable around the octave of middle C but beyond that, the sound will be stretched and warped horribly. Maybe passable for some electronic music but definitely not for any ballads.
Does monetizing FREE downloads work?
I think it can do if you have a lot of traffic, e.g. thousands of visitors daily. Most of the Adense adverts will not interest the majority of the visitors but you may get enough clicks and conversions to make it worthwhile. If you don’t have so much traffic then it would be better for you to offer sample downloads leading to a paid download link. Visitors who found your site through general surfing (organic traffic) are most likely to make purchases.
Lots of traffic equals more money?
In theory yes but not always true. You could get 2,000 – 3,000 Indian visitors from some traffic exchange site and not even get a single sale or click. On the other hand you could get 100 visitor from targeted traffic and make 5-10 sales – a very good conversion. Also, using traffic exchange sites could get you banned from affiliate programs such as Adense etc. so it is better to stay far away from those kind of sites, even though they seem tempting.
Also note that a well established FREE download sample site riddle with Google Ads makes between $200 – $300, not exactly something to quit your day job far. Also note that these site have been running for around 8-10 to gain that much traffic. During that time hundreds of back links would have been indexed to help pull the site up into the Google search engine rankings.