Beat Buying: What You Need To Know

What is Beat Buying?

This mode of music creation is a recent development in the music industry and was spurned by hip hop artists buying or leasing beats from producers to help them create their projects.

Because of the fast-paced nature of hip hop track creation many rappers just select from a catalog of beats that a producer has already created and they provide their lyrics to complete the project.

More traditional modes of music production involved vocalists teaming up with a producer to collaborate on the production of an album or single. This is a more time-consuming process and recently vocalists and producers are moving in the direction of hip hop production.

How Does it Work?

When you purchase a beat the producer is authorizing you to use the music they created for your project in exchange for payment. You are in effect buying a license to use the beat under the terms of a license agreement. 

The main types of license agreements are: 

  • Non-exclusive licenses
  • Exclusive licenses

The difference is, non-exclusive licenses can be sold to multiple artists while exclusive licenses are only sold to one artist

I’ll address non-exclusive licenses first. Many producers offer several types of non-exclusive licenses with varying options and at different price levels.

Here are my licensing options

This allows an artist or creator to choose the best option that fits their budget and purpose of their project. 

  • If you are creating a demo project to submit to a label then the MP3 option is a good fit for that purpose. 
  • If you are a new artist just starting out and are trying to test the waters and release a single then the Basic option is a good fit for that purpose. 
  • If you are an artist that has projects out already and need more bandwidth in your revenue possibilities then the Premium or Unlimited plan is a good fit.
  • If you are an established artist and want to have control of your brand and your sound then an exclusive license is the way to go

One key benefit from buying a license with me is that I allow you the opportunity to upgrade your license. If you are just getting started and/or if funds are an issue, then you can start with a lower tier option and then upgrade as the project develops or funds become available.

A perfect scenario is where an artist will start their project with a Basic plan and then post track clips on their social media with an effort to crowdfund their project. When fan support comes in they will upgrade their license to Premium or Unlimited to maximize their reach and income.

There are some key benefits with the Premium and Unlimited plan that you want to pay attention to. 

  • The sound quality of the file is important because some radio stations will only accept high quality files.
  • Having the tracked out files or stems gives you the ability to create the song you want by selecting the instruments you really want and creating space for your vocal
  • Having more sales and streams allows for more revenue 
  • Being able to perform your song will by itself help pay back your cost for the license
  • Being able to monetize your track on YouTube will also go a long way to create more revenue from the track 

Do I Own The Copyright once I Buy the Beat?

Short answer: No

You own the copyright to the lyrics that you write. The producer still owns the copyright to the beat that you used.

By writing lyrics to a track you have created what the copyright office calls a “Derivative Work.”

You own 50% of the Writer’s share and the producer owns the other 50% of the Writer’s share of the copyright.

You have been granted permission to “exploit” the track for commercial purposes but the producer still holds the copyright to the music.

What Happens if Someone Buys an Exclusive License for a Beat that I Have a License For?

Once you purchase a license agreement, your agreement is still active until the terms end as stipulated in the agreement. Your license will still be valid only future purchases are affected.

Is It Safe to Buy Beats From a Website?

My catalog like many other producers is based with Beat Stars and when you click on a track to make a purchase, the transaction occurs from their website which is SSL secure and is perfectly safe.

Many producers choose from several sites to facilitate the sale of their beats. I’ve chosen to use Beat Stars simply because they have the longest track record and provide several integrations with my website.

If you have other questions be sure to check out my FAQ page as well.