Can you copyright a song with a leased beat?

I often get emails from artists confused about copyrighting a song that uses a leased beat, and I don’t blame them, its a confusing subject unless you’ve had it broken down to you in a way that is easy to understand, so, can you copyright a song with a leased beat? if you’re an artist or a beat leasing producer pay attention…

The answer put simply is YES.

You can copyright a song if it contains a beat that you leased and don’t exclusively own.

Here’s how it works.

Publishing is, without a doubt, one of the most confusing subjects in the music industry for not only artists but music producers as well.

In most beat leasing agreements, publishing the majority of the time is never specifically addressed, to explain it in the most simplest way each recorded song has two kinds of copyright.

  1. Publishing
  2. Masters

The publishing refers to the underlying composition aka “the beat” and “the lyrics“, The masters refer to the master recording of the particular song.

When a new recording to the same beat is made and released, new master copyright is created, and the publishing copyright pretty much remains the same throughout each version.

What royalties the artist is entitled to will be dependent on the leasing agreement but in most cases, everything is split 50/50 between the artist and the producer.

If you’re a music producer and you really want to shine in the beat selling community, make a huge commitment to your customers to make them feel special, offer them something that other producers aren’t offering, for example maybe offer a 70/30 split, you take 30 and they take 70.

When a customer receives this kind of treatment, they feel special and you can nurture them further with email marketing and make them a return customer.

When an artist releases a recording with a leased beat, they’re obligated to also pay mechanical royalties to the publishers of the beat, i.e. the producer. The payment covers the right to embody the beat in the recording being sold by YOU the artist.

With all of this being said, two practices that you as an artist should be getting into the habit of doing is firstly reading Beat Leasing Agreements through thoroughly and ensuring that you understand what you’re agreeing to

Secondly is communicating with the producer, send them an email to negotiate the terms of the contract and they may be willing to wave certain rights that they usually retain, however its important to never expect this and approach it with an “I’ll give it a shot” attitude”.

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