For some time now i have been successfully selling beats online 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 and i would purchase beats from SoundClick, but since then the industry has evolved and people’s understanding of how it works has become very grey.
So in this article i want to share everything i have learned over the past several years to make sure your buying process runs as silky smooth as possible.
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 licence 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 nothing 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 syetm, meaning that you will not be able to monetise your video and all earned revenue will be paid to the licensor.
How Does Buying Beats Online Work?
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.
Each of these license entitles to something different, the easiest way to explain it would be to visually show you.
5000 Max Sales For Profit
1 Music Video Max Usage
Untagged MP3 + WAV
7500 Max Sales For Profit
2 Music Video Max Usage
Untagged MP3 + WAV + Trackouts
*Not Exclusive Rights
What this information tells an artist is that when you buy beats from YourLocalMusician, you are entitled to A lot of rights, such as unlimited streaming, thousands of digital sales, and what audio files you will receive when you purchase.
The best way to remember it is with Basic Licenses you will get basic rights, meaning a couple thousands sales and sometimes a set amount of streams, with Premium Leases you get a little bit more for your money such as 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 producers contracts for this information, most of time i find that this is not published on most producers beat stores.
What is an Exclusive beat?
Buying an exclusive beat means that you will be the last person to own any rights to the instrumental you’re buying and the producer will not be able to license the instrumental to anyone else.
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 through out 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 cant speak for others) the length of lease will go into affect 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.