BUYING BEATS ONLINE: THE BEST GUIDE TO BEAT LICENSING
Since you’ve landed here, you clearly want to know more about buying beats online, but first, let me explain a thing or two that I have learned in the past couple of years that will make reading this guide a little easier for you.
For some time now I have been successfully selling Afro beats and I’ll be the first to admit that during that time I have seen both success and failure, there’s no denying that in order to stand out from the crowd of online producers you have to think outside of the box and execute marketing strategies that will separate you from the heard and that task is by no means an easy one.
The exact same rules apply if you’re an artist and having access to quality production is one of the core fundamentals that will play a huge role in your success, That’s where the ability to buy beats online makes the process of putting together a new project a WHOLE lot easier and stress-free.
Back in the day, I used to rap would purchase beats from SoundClick, but since then the industry has evolved and people’s understanding of how it works has become very grey.
Everything You Need To Know About Buying Beats Online
Using Free Beats
There seems to be a mighty big confusion in the industry about using free beats, i.e. what you can and can’t do with a free download in the eyes of the law.
In most cases using a free beat doesn’t entitle you to a whole lot, most of the time it’s nothing, If you’re hoping to make money via streaming and YouTube Monetisation then I’ll stop you there, if you haven’t paid for a license then you won’t be able to make any money at all.
If you have downloaded a beat for free, the only right you have is to use it is for none profit use, for instance using it to see if you can write to it before you buy a license, or using it just for fun.
Depending on deals that a website is running, in most cases the beat that you download will be Tagged, meaning that a producer will have a voice tag running throughout the beat to protect their work, in order to remove the tag you will have to purchase a lease.
It’s also worth noting that if you release a song on YouTube that you have recorded using a free beat, your video is likely to be hit with a copyright claim by YouTube’s Content ID system, meaning that you will not be able to monetize your video and all earned revenue will be paid to the licensor.
How Does Buying Beats Work?
Leasing beats gives you (the artist) the right to use an instrumental with a certain amount of commercial rights depending on the lease level that you purchase, these rights will often fluctuate depending on the price that you pay unless you buy an exclusive license which can sometimes cost several hundreds of dollars to several thousand, some producers are willing to negotiate on these prices.
To put it simply, when you purchase a beat online you are purchasing a certain level of rights that are laid out by the producer in their leasing terms, generally, these rights are known as license levels which are commonly split out into three to four different agreement options priced from high to low, most commonly these will be named, Basic Lease, Premium Lease. Unlimited Lease and Exclusive.
The best way to remember it is with Basic Licenses you will get basic rights, meaning a couple of thousand sales and sometimes a set amount of streams, with Premium Leases you get a little bit more for your money such as the higher amount of digital sales, and with Unlimited, you’ll be entitled to sell Unlimited copies and have unlimited streams as well as amongst other rights.
Depending on the producers’ contract different Lease levels will entitle you to certain percentages of royalties, most commonly all kinds of royalties will be split 50/50 but in order to be 100% sure make sure to read your contract terms before purchasing.
Do my rights ever run out?
Great question, in most cases, unless you buy an exclusive, you license will last for 12 months or more, you’ll need to read the producer’s contracts for this information, most of the time i find that this is not published on most producer’s beat stores.
What is an Exclusive beat?
When you buy an exclusive beat license it means that you will be the last person to own the rights to the beat, if other artists have purchased a basic or unlimited license to that same beat their rights will be revoked when the terms of their license agreement terminate.
If you choose to purchase beats exclusively the price tag will be A LOT higher, typically from $250+, a common figure that I see most producers in the industry throughout is $500, so if buying beats online exclusively is the direction you want to go in for your project, be prepared to have some budget behind you.
What is my best option?
Generally, most artists will choose between Basic and Premium licenses for budgeting reasons, but however in my experience, it’s very common that artists come back later and ask to negotiate rates for the exclusive beat, baring in mind that the artist would have purchased lease previously from me, this is when i am most likely to negotiate an exclusive deal.
What if buy a lease and then another artist buys the exclusive of the same beat?
I’ve had this question a lot and it really is part and parcel of the industry, on my website (i can’t speak for others) the length of the lease will go into effect from the date of purchase, so if you were to buy a basic lease from me today and then tomorrow another artist buys the exclusive, your rights will still remain intact for the 12 month period, but however when the license term ends you will no longer be able to renew your lease or purchase the exclusive, so if you’re interested in buying exclusively, it’s better to not wait around.
How much does it cost to buy a beat?
It depends entirely on where and who you’re buying a beat from, some producers sell leases of beats from as little as $1.99, but others may charge up to $50 for a basic lease, there is no set price however there are some guide prices most producers usually follow, Starting at $20 to $200 depending on the lease level you buy.
What is an unlimited lease for a beat?
An unlimited lease or track-outs lease is usually depending on the beat store you’re buying from is one the highest level leases that grants you (the artist) unlimited distribution and sales rights that you can buy without owning the exclusive rights to an instrumental.