I have been selling beats online for a couple of years. Before I started doing anything related to making beats and instrumentals, I sat on the other side of the table.
I used to be in a band, I used free beats/instrumentals for jamming with other guitarists and I was buying beats from online producers to have jamming material on the go so that we could record our jams and release them online.
Because I’ve sat on both sides of the table, I can imagine the situation that you’re in right now. The whole reason why you decided to read this article.
- You’re getting started with music but you’re planning to take this seriously.
- Or, you’ve already been doing music for a while but things are starting to get more serious.
- You’re looking into buying beats because you’re done using tagged free beats.
- Or, maybe you’ve reached that level where the logical next step would be to properly license the beats you’re using.
⬆ ⬆ ⬆ If you can relate to any one of the above then you’re in the perfect spot! I will tell you everything you need to know about buying beats online!”
Using Free Beats
Let’s get started with Free Beats. How do you identify a Free Beat?
The simplest way to identify a Free Beat is from those short voice tags you hear every 30 seconds from the producer. When you purchase a license for a beat, those tags disappear.
If you have beats without a license agreement from the producer, consider them Free Beats too. In that case, you don’t have official permission to use the beat for commerical purposes.
Now, there’s this ongoing debate between artists and producers. It’s been happening for ages and it’s worth explaining in more detail.
Producers hate it when artists ask for free beats. But guess what? It happens all the time!
“Give me your beat for free, you will get tonnes of exposure!”
From the artist’s point of view, I must admit.. The hypocrisy is REAL! When you are on youtube searching for beats almost all of the video titles say: “(FREE)” or “*FREE*” or “FREE DL” or “(FREE) BEAT”.
Essentially, they are offering free beats but when artists use their beats for free all they do is complain. How does that even make sense? 😅
Okay, let me explain...
Basically, The reason producers add the “(FREE) BEAT” tag in their video titles has to do with marketing strategies and YouTube rankings.To put it plain and simple – It’s just click bait.
In defence of the producers, myself included – I need to state that a lot of artists are taking advantage of our dedication and hard work. Believe me when I say this! My beats have been downloaded thousands of times in the last couple of years but most of those downloads were made illegally (BEATSTARS BeatID has made this very clear).
Picture the headache…
So, I don’t feel guilty about asking someone to purchase a beat along with a proper license. It simplifies matters for all parties involved.
What can you do with a Free Beat?
Well.. Nothing… At least, nothing that’s commercially or financially rewarding.
How about Instagram or Facebook uploads? Well, nowadays that is considered commercial usage too.
The same applies to platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud, which serve both as streaming services and ways to generate income from your music.
Producers often give free beats to allow artists to:
- Give it a try before making a purchase.
- Record vocals to check if their vocals match the key of the beat
- Record vocals to check if their idea sounds good with the beat before making a purchase
- Create a demo and gather feedback before committing to a licensing agreement.
- making sure that that their money is well spend and they are making a good investment
At times, I do allow individuals to share songs they’ve crafted using my free beats on social media platforms. However, if I decide to remove a song without specifying a reason, it will be taken down within minutes.
Yes, I can also do that. 😊
DON'T MESS WITH FREE BEATS!
Here’s the deal: There’s no such thing as a ‘free beat.’
So, if you want something for free, just ask for a ‘free license.’
If you are using a beat without a written agreement from the producer, you are not legally allowed to use it because you do not have an official permission and that could cause you some serious trouble.
Buying beats online – How does it work?
When you buy a beat, you’re acquiring copyrighted audio files from the producer, and in exchange for your payment, the producer grants you specific usage rights.
This arrangement is typically referred to as the License Agreement.
Within licensing, there are two main categories:
- Non-exclusive licenses.
- Exclusive licenses.
The key difference between them lies in the fact that a non-exclusive license for a particular beat can be sold to multiple artists, whereas an exclusive license can only be sold once to a single artist.
For the purposes of this article, we will focus solely on non-exclusive licensing.
Different licensing options – Which one to choose?
Online producers offer different licensing options. In my case, I have 4 options.
These are the various licensing options I offer. The more expensive the license, the more usage-rights granted.
Other producers may use different names for their licences like MP3 Lease, WAV Lease, or Standard Lease but they all essentially serve the same purpose.
With a higher-priced license, you gain more extensive rights from the producer.
Also, as the cost of your license increases, you can expect to receive higher quality audio files.
What is the best license to buy?
To be honest… Most of the people that purchase a beat online choose the license ranked lowest which is also the cheapest. These, typically grant fewer user-rights and provide lower-quality audio files. For some, the user-rights included in these budget licenses are sufficient.
What about the quality of the audio files (beat)?
Ensure you obtain the Tracked Out files for a beat especially If you’re aiming to:
- Create high-quality music
- Go to a professional music studio
- Edit the beat arrangement
- Remove/replace instruments from the original beat
- Mix the beat again with additional elements
- Or simply, If you want to do it right!
The best choice is to select a license that includes Tracked Out Files (also called Stems). In my case, that would be the PROFESSIONAL or UNLIMITED license.
Not sure what Tracked Out Files (Stems) are? I’ve written an article explaining tracked out files and why they are essential.
Click the button below. ⬇⬇⬇
If I Buy a Basic License for a Beat – Can I upgrade my license later?
On my website – Absolutely! You can upgrade your licenses! 😃
Elsewhere… Ehh, I am not sure.
I must admit, this option isn’t very common among other producers. So, it might not always be available.
I offer license upgrades because I understand the struggle of transitioning from using free beats to making your first beat purchase.
We don't have buckets of cash lying around, you know... 💸💰
If you don’t have the budget for a more expensive license right now, don’t worry. You can always upgrade later, and you’ll only pay the price difference between the standard prices of the licenses.
To find out if other producers offer this service, you’ll need to get in touch with them directly.
I can’t answer any questions about their policies or how they run their business.
When I buy a beat – Do I own any copyright?
After you write your lyrics and record them over the beat, you’ll be the copyright holder of your lyrics and vocal melody line ONLY.
The music you create with the beat becomes a “New Song”, which is also referred to as a “Derivative Work”.
This means that 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”.
Once you purchase a non-exclusive license agreement of a beat you want to use, you will have the legal authorisation to use the beat and commercially exploit the “New Song” you create with it
When you purchase a non-exclusive license agreement, THE PRODUCER will remain the sole owner and holder of all right, title and interest in the beat.
ONLY WHEN YOU PURCHASE AN EXCLUSIVE LICENSE AGREEMENT YOU CAN BECOME THE SOLE OWNER, HOLDER OF ALL RIGHTS, TITLE AND INTEREST IN THE BEAT
If I have a non-exclusive license for a beat and someone else buys the exclusive license for that same beat – What Happens To My Song??
When you buy a beat online, you are granted the rights to use the beat the same moment you purchased the beat.
When you buy a beat you receive:
- The audio file(s) of the beat (you chose to purchase)
- The license agreement (you chose to purchase, which grants you the rights to use the beat)
The license agreement goes in effect immediately!
When someone else purchases the exclusive rights, it will not affect you (immediately). Your non-exclusive license will still be valid. But there are some things you need to know..
In the past, when you purchased a beat with a non-exclusive license you were authorised to use that beat and there was no expiration date. Not a lot of producers still operate in this way.
These days, most producers sell licenses that have an expiration time. The most common expiration time (term) is between 2-6 years. In my case, all of my licenses expire after 4 years. This means that you will have to buy a new license after that term.
In the case that someone else buys the exclusive rights during you term. That will only mean that you will no longer be able to renew your non-exclusive license after your term is due.
This information is not always shown in a producers licensing table, so make sure to take a look at the contract to see the term duration before you make the purchase!
NOTE: Usually, there is a button below the licensing table which allows you to view the actual license agreement. I have them too – if you scroll up the page you will see an image of my licensing tables which has the “View Contract” button below each license.
One more thing about non-exclusive licenses!
Lately, I’ve come across a noteworthy addition in the license agreements of some producers. It introduces a clause that permits the producer to terminate your license agreement even before it reaches its designated term.
This clause typically contains an exit provision, which states that the producer can end the license agreement by providing written notice to you. In return, they offer compensation of double or even triple the initial purchase price of the beat. I’ve actually incorporated that clause into my own contracts as well.
Whether this is a concern for you or not depends entirely on the success of your song.
As always, it’s crucial to thoroughly review your agreements before making any online beat purchases!”
What If My Song Goes Viral, But I Only Have a Non-Exclusive License?
If you are interested in learning more about this, I suggest you read my blog entry in the link below ⬇⬇⬇
Is It Safe to Buy Beats Online?
Many producers turn to Beat Store Providers to sell their beats online. The most popular Beat Store options include:
- Soundee.com (the one I personally use)
These platforms have built strong reputations for showcasing producers and their music, and it’s no surprise that a majority of online producers have a presence on one of these platforms. That’s why – you might have already noticed – there is a similarity in the appearance of producers’ websites and music players.
One noteworthy feature of these music players is the “instant delivery” service. Once you’ve completed your payment, you’ll be directed to a secure download area where you can access your files. You’ll also receive an order confirmation via email.
If you’re uncertain whether a producer is affiliated with any of these platforms, try searching for their producer name on the respective platforms. If you find them there, you can make your purchase directly through the platform to ensure that it is safe.
If they’re not on these platforms, don’t hesitate to reach out to the producer with any questions or concerns about buying their beats. However, it’s a good idea to first check their website for an FAQ section. Sometimes, the answers to your questions are right at your fingertips, and producers may not respond to queries that are readily available.
My website looks a little different from the standard producer website. The reason for that is because I have my own website but I have a Soundee player integrated in it to ensure safety and security to any artist who wants to purchase a beat.
Remember, even on platforms like BeatStars, Airbit, or Soundee, producers continue to create their own license agreements, each with its own unique terms.
Before you make a purchase, it’s crucial to review the complete license agreements or licensing terms. After all, those flashy pricing tables may not reveal all the details! 😉
Here are some tips for buying beats online:
- Pay with PayPal or Stripe (they have buyers protection)
- Check if the producer sells through a BeatStars, Airbit or Soundee player
- Read the License Agreements (❗️)
- Reach out to the producer with your concerns