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First time buying beats online: What you need to know about Licensing Instrumentals

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Jay Picxsso

Jay Picxsso

Music Producer, Studio Engineer

Before I even touched my first program to make beats, I used to rap. To be honest, my raps where kinda weak. 😂 Me and my friends would hang out, rap and record. Over time we improved and I would find free beats online and occasionally buy a beat.
You might have different reasons why you’re about read this article. 

The next lines might describe where you’re at right now:

  • You just started recording tracks but you’re about to take it more seriously.
  • You’re considering buying beats online because tagged beats don’t sound professional.
  • Or, you improved your skills over time and want to take it to the next level.
  • You’re aware of the higher quality WAV files offer.
  • Or, you’re at a level where it would be unlikely to not properly license the beats you’re using.
 
 

If you recognize yourself in any of these axamples or you just want to know more about buying beats in general, then I highly suggest you read on. I can relate to your situation and I will tell you all the ins and outs you need to know about buying beats online.

What about Free Beats?

 

You might think a free beat is just a free beat, that’s it. Not quite:

Producers use vocal tags for two reasons, to protect it and to have a bit of branding on the beat. Free beats are recognized for still having the tags on it and trough out the entire beat. Once you buy the beat you will have the instrumental without the tags.

If you downloaded a beat but you don’t have the appropriate license agreement for that particular beat, you have to know the beat is worth nothing. Meaning you are not allowed to use it for a commercial purposes whatsoever😲. You can only use it on a non-commercial platform and non-profitable projects, so you’re not able to monetize it.

You can’t upload it on YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify etc, cause these are platforms where you can monetize your music. I just want you be aware because you can run into serious legal issues if you do try to monetize it. I’m talking about copyright infringement

Believe me when I say it’s not worth risking this when you can avoid it by purchasing a cheap license. A FREE BEAT does not exist! Tip of the day, ask for a free license of the beat instead ! 

To sum this all up

You are not allowed to download Free Beats for: 

  • Use on mixtapes or albums
  • Use in Radio- and TV-Broadcasting or any airplay possibility
  • Use in live-performances or any other public use
  • Any profitable projects

 

Why do I offer free beats?

  • So you can try before you buy
  • To write lyrics on it
  • To make sure it’s worth investing money in one of the types of licenses
  • To do basic recordings and see if the beat works out for your style
 
 

Buying beats online – What to know

 

If you pay for a beat, you are actually paying for the License Agreement. Now you have several rights to use this copyrighted audio file.

 

There are two types of License Agreements:

  • Non-exclusive licenses
  • Exclusive licenses.

The most important difference between these two is that a non-exclusive license for one beat can be sold to several artists. Yet, an exclusive license can only be sold once and to one artist only.

In this article, I will only talk about non-exclusive licensing. It’s the most common one and most likely the license you’re purchasing when you’re buying rap instrumentals online.

The best option for you is non-exclusive lease beats.

 

Difference between licenses - Which one works for me?

 

Different licenses are being offered by producers and with every type of license you get different user rights. The more expensive the license, the more user-rights granted.

I offer 3 different options:

  • Basic
  • Premium
  • Unlimited

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 sound more professional, because you can mix the vocals in the beat, and not just sit it on top.

 

What is the best license to buy?

 

To be honest… Most artists looking for beats online will purchase the cheapest licenses. It comes with low-quality audio files and fewer user-rights. Not everyone is the same and these user-rights might be sufficient for them.

The most important diffence is the quality of the audio files.

If you want your songs sound at it’s best, then make sure you get the Tracked Out files of a beat.

The best option is to go for a license that comes with Tracked Out Files. In my case, that would be the Premium or Unlimited license.

 

I bought a Basic License but I changed my mind and want a different license?

 

At my website that’s no problem!

You have changed your mind or you just at a different level now and have higher standards. You can just upgrade your license. But I haven’t seen much producers offering this service.

If you’re starting out I understand money can be an issue. First you use free beats, then you buy a Basic License and as you progress you move on to the professional licenses.

If you don’t have the money now, you can purchase the basic license and upgrade and pay the difference between the standard prices of these licenses.

I would highly recommend to ask a producer first if they offer this kind of service too.

 

Do I own the copyrights if I buy the beat?

 

When you write your lyrics and record it over the beat, you will own the copyright to your lyrics only. Once you’ve done that you created a New Song, also considered as a “Derivative Work.”

Click on the image above to learn more about Derivative Works

  • At this point you will own and control 50% of the so-called “Writer’s Share.”
  • The producer will own and control the other 50% of the Writer’s Share.

 

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.

 

I bought a beat non-exclusively. What happens to my song when someone else buys the exclusive rights?

 

The moment you bought the beat non-exclusively, you’re granted the rights and your license will go in effect immediately.

Meaning it will not affect your song, when someone else purchases the exclusive rights. Your non-exclusive license will still be valid and you are still granted the rights that belong to your license.

But there is a thing you need to know…

Nowadays, almost every producer sells licenses that will expire after 2-6 years. In my case, my licenses expire after 5 years. This means that you will have to buy a new license after that term.

Example of the expiration term in my license agreement:

If someone purchased the exclusive rights during your term. That will only mean that you will no longer be able to renew your license after your term is due.

I try to be as transparent as possible. That’s why I have a button below my licensing table where you can read the complete license.

But there is a thing you need to know…

Nowadays, almost every producer sells licenses that will expire after 2-6 years. In my case, my licenses expire after 5 years. This means that you will have to buy a new license after that term.

 

Is it safe to buy beats online?

 

Almost every producer offers the beats within a Beat Store Provider to sell their beats online. These are the most common ones:

  • BeatStars.com

  • Airbit.com

  • Soundee.com

I use BeatStars and it’s a reliable Beat Store Provider

 

The producer and the artist will benefit from these Platforms. After you have made your payment, you are able to instantly download your audio files. You will be directed to the next page where you find your download link. Of course you will also receive a document that contains your official License Agreement belonging to the beat and an order confirmation by email.

Make sure you’ve checked the website for an FAQ section, though. If you’re asking questions for which the answers are right in front of you, they do not always respond.

One thing you got to know is…. Producers are creating there own license agreements on platforms like BeatStars, Airbit or Soundee. So my terms can be different compared to someone else!

Just make sure you read the licensing terms and the full license agreements, especially when it’s the first time your buying a beat on Producers website that’s new to you!

 

Some last short tips for buying beats online:

  • Pay with PayPal or Stripe, they have buyers protection

  • Check if the producer sells through a Beatstore Provider (BeatStars, Airbit or Soundee)

  • Read the License Agreements (!)

  • Read the FAQ (for further questions, just reach out to the producer with your concerns)

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WHERE SHOULD I SEND YOUR FREE BEATS?

Commercial Rights and Contracts Included 📝

WHICH LICENSE IS BEST FOR YOU

Basic License

Price: $45

Semi-professional license that is typically used by beginner artists that want to promote their song on SoundCloud or YouTube (non-monetised) 

This license comes with an industry quality single WAV-track but not with tracked out files. 

Distribution on all major platforms is limited and paid performances and radio airplay is not permitted. 

Premium License

Price: $95

Professional license that is the most popular among artists that are releasing their song on platforms like Spotify, iTunes or perform with the song in live (paid) performances.

This license comes with high quality tracked out files which are essential for mixing songs professionally. 

We do not recommend this license if you’re looking to create a music video for YouTube. 

Unlimited License

Price: $195

Professional license with no limitations on streams, plays or sales.

This license is generally purchased by artists that believe their song has the potential to surpass the streaming caps of other licenses. 

We strongly recommend this license to artists that want to create and monetise a music video for YouTube.