First Time Buying Beats Online?
I started selling beats online in 2014. Before I started doing this I was a rapper and producer in a Hip Hop crew.
That’s me, 2nd from the left (I still rap from time to time)
I can imagine the situation that you’re in right now because I’m experienced in both sides, producing and rapping. There could be different reasons why you read this article.
- You’re new to the game and wondering how this all works.
- You have been practicing for years and you feel it’s time to take the next step.
- You started downloading free beats but the vocal tags are annoying and you plan to produce solid tracks.
- Or you already produced some dope songs on MP3s and the logical next step is to properly license the beats, plus to get the WAV or trackouts for mixing and mastering.
If you recognize yourself somewhere in these points, then you should definitely read the whole article.
Because I am going to tell you everything you need to know about buying beats online!
What are Free Beats
First of all let’s talk about free beats.
A free beat usually includes a producer tag that you hear every 30 seconds, to protect the beat.
As soon as you buy a license of a beat, the vocal tags will be removed.
Beats without a license agreement could be considered as free beats too.
You have no rights to use such beats for commercial releases.
Producers vs. Artists discussion on Free Beats
There’s been a discussion going on for years. Definitely worth explaining a little more.
Producers and artists do not always agree on the definition of Free Beats.
The producers do not like it when artists always ask for free beats. And yes, it happens all the time.
“Can I get this beat for free, I’ll give you credit”
But there are some points you have to understand:
When you’re searching for beats on Youtube in most of the title you will find “(FREE) BEAT” or “(FREE DL)”.
So, the producers offering free beats but at the same time complaining about rappers using their beats for free.
WTF? Yes, this is really confusing…
Here is the explanation for that…
All this has to do with marketing strategies. To rank higher on Youtube you have to add such keywords in the title of your video.
In defence of the producers, including myself. Believe me when I say that a lot of rappers and singers taking advantage of our craft and hard work. And that is just disrespectful if you ask me.
My beats are downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in the last couple years. Mostly illegal.
That’s why I don’t feel bad asking artists to purchase a beat with a proper license that comes with it.
What can you do with a free beat?
Not much… At least, nothing commercially or profitable.
Uploading on Spotify or monetizing the Youtube video. Is that commercially? Yes
I offer free beats to let artists…
- Try it out before they buy.
- Writing lyrics to the beats.
- Do first prerecordings and to see if the song works out well.
This helps to make sure that the beat is worth to make an investment in one of the license types.
Do not mess with free beats!
Actually there is no such thing as a FREE BEAT. If you really want to ask for a free beat, ask for a free LICENSE.
You are not authorized and you could get in trouble if you use a beat without a written license agreement form received from the producer.
As you can see, the statutory damages for copyright infringement are ridiculously high. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with that.
Purchasing beats online – How does it work?
By purchasing a beat, you are purchasing audio files that are copyrighted by the producer. In return for your payment, the producer grants you several rights to use the beat.
This is called License Agreement.
There is a difference between:
- Non-exclusive licenses.
- Exclusive licenses.
The biggest difference is that a non-exclusive license for one beat can be sold to several artists.
An exclusive license can only be sold once and to one artist only.
In this article, I will only talk about non-exclusive licenses.
Which license option should I choose?
Online producers offer different licensing options. In my case, I have 3 options.
The more expensive your license, the more rights you get from the producer.
Also for more expensive licenses (Premium and Unlimited) you will get the individual instruments of the beat (e.g. Bass, Piano, Kick, Snare etc.) as separate WAV files, called “Tracked Out WAV files”.
This will make it easier for you to make the song turn out well, because you can mix the vocals in the beat, and not just sit it on top.
So, what is the best choice for me?
I am not gonna lie.. Most people that are buying beats online go for the cheaper licenses with fewer user-rights. The user-rights granted in those licenses might be good enough for them.
If you’re looking to create professional, high quality songs then make sure you get the Tracked Out files.
If possible, always go for a license that comes with Tracked Out Files. In my case, that would be the Premium or Unlimited license.
If I buy a beat with a Basic License – Can I upgrade my license later?
YES, it is possible! At least when working with me. Not all producers offer this service.
Like I mentioned earlier… I know what it’s like when you’re transitioning from free beats to buying beats for the first time.
Money is always an issue, right…
If you do not have the money right now to go for a more expensive license, you can always upgrade later. Contact me and pay the difference between the standard prices of the licenses.
Once I buy a beat – Do I own any copyrights?
Yes but only to the lyrics you wrote and recorded over the beat.
And what you will create with the beat is a New Song, also known as a “Derivative Work.”
This means that you will own and control 50% of the so-called “Writer’s Share and the producer will own and control the other 50%.
You do not own the master or the sound recording rights in that song.
You have been licensed the right to use the beat and commercially exploit the song you make with it. Based on the terms and conditions of the license agreement you’ve purchased.
The producer will remain the sole owner and holder of all right, title, and interest in the Beat. Including all copyrights to and in the sound recording. And the underlying musical compositions, written and composed by the producer.
What if I buy a non-exclusive license, then someone else purchases the exclusive license for that same beat?
When it comes to buying beats online, you’re granted the rights that you received when you purchased the beat.
So, when someone else purchases the exclusive rights, it will not (immediately) affect you.
But there one thing you need to know…
If someone purchased the exclusive rights during your term. That will only mean that you will no longer be able to upgrade your license or buy exclusive rights.
Always check your agreements before buying beats online!
Buying beats online – Is it safe?
Most producers use a Beat Store Provider to sell their beats online. The most common ones are:
I personally use Airbit and I’m pretty happy with it.
These platforms both have a good reputation for representing producers and their music. That’s why a lot of producers’ websites and music players look the same.
These music players deliver the files (beats and contracts) instantly after checkout.
After you’ve made the payment, you will be redirected to a download area. And you’ll also receive an order confirmation by email including download links.
If you’re not sure if a producer is affiliated with one of these platforms. Go to the BeatStars or Airbit website and search for the producers’ name.
If they are on it, you can make the purchase from BeatStars’ or Airbit’s Marketplace, just to be safe.
If they’re not on these platforms, reach out to the producer with any concerns you have. They’ll respond once you tell them that you’re interested in buying beats from them.
Before you reach out; Make sure you’ve checked the website for an FAQ section. If you’re asking questions for which the answers are right in front of you, they do not always respond.
Keep in mind… On platforms like BeatStars and Airbit, producers still create their own license agreements. They operate on their own terms.
Before you buy a beat, always check the full license agreements or licensing terms.
Like I said, those flashy pricing tables don’t always show you everything!
Here are some tips for buying beats online:
- Pay with PayPal or Stripe
- Check if the producer sells through a BeatStars or Airbit player
- Read the License Agreements
- Reach out to the producer with your concerns