Beat leases take place when an Artist, Rapper or Singer buys a license to use an instrumental track to create a song. The terms of the license often vary from producer to producer but most offer a similar configuration in the following fashion:
Basic Lease (MP3)
Premium Lease (WAV)
Track Out Lease (Stems)
A license is needed in order to use copyrighted music. This ensures that the producer (licensor) gets properly compensated. The terms of the license vary from deal to deal but in the end they serve the same purpose of granting the buyer (licensee) certain rights of use.
The basic lease will get you access to the untagged MP3 version of the beat. This will allow you to import it to your DAW and record vocals over it. This is a great option if you are on a tight budget but have some solid bars on your hands. Great for demo purposes and young artists.
The premium lease will get you access to the untagged WAV version of the instrumental. This format is full resolution audio but consist of a flatten down stereo version. Great option for artists that are getting a little more serious but still working on an independent budget.
TRACK OUT LEASE
If you need multi track flexibility to do a professional mix the track out lease is the way to go. You will receive the tracked out stems in separate WAV files. If you’re an up and coming artist who aims to be a professional track out licenses are standard practice.
An exclusive licence will get the producer to remove the beat from his available catalog and grant you rights to use it for commercial purposes and live performances. For serious artists and established pros this is a great option to make sure nobody else will be releasing a song with the same instrumental.
Beatstores come in many ways and use payment services from different third party providers. It can range from a Paypal button embedded in a Soundclick or social media profile, in the description of a Youtube video or an automated beat selling app like Airbit (MyFlashStore).
A producer tag consists of a short audio clip that introduces the audio brand of the producer. This can be in the form of a voice over artist saying the producers name with added effects, computer generated voice or a certain characteristic build up or sample.
Some producers will allow you to download free tagged versions of the beat for demo purposes. This doesn’t grant permission for commercial use. They are intended for writing purposes and getting a feel of the instrumental.
Sales cap consists in setting a limit for the amount of units the artist can sell. By units we are referring to albums/singles in both digital and printed copies. The amount varies from licence to licence.
A new found metric all over the beat leasing business is setting a stream limit. These can be on Spotify, Youtube, etc. Over the last few years the way of monetizing music has evolved a lot and producers are adapting.
The duration of a beat lease is met when the sales cap or stream limit has be exceeded. In this particular case the artist has to renew or upgrade the licence.
Most online producers will allow the use of the instrumentals for live performances. It’s important to review this matter before purchasing an instrumental. The upside of the beat leasing market is that you can always upgrade to a better licence.
This is a very controverted topic when it comes to beat leases. There has been documented cases where a song blows up and the producer gets nothing for declining the publishing split in order to sell more leases. Producers are entitled to a publishing split for their contribution in a song and should be compensated.
Credit must be given to the producer as stated in the licence. Credit must be given in all cases where a ghost producer is not involved.
Ghost Producer is the name that the industry gives to a producer who will work for hire and will not claim credit or royalties for a certain creation. This is not the case of most online producers.
Leasing Producer is the name that the industry gives to producers who showcase their beat catalog online and sell licences to use their instrumentals for recording purposes.
Established producers who already have a network of contacts and there is demand for their signature sound. Industry placements can be in the form of:
The development of technology over the last few years has given artists and producers a new set of options when it comes to creating music. Not so long ago everything had to be done with hardware and instruments but with the advent of more powerful computers now everything can be done inside the box. Added to this the internet speed also improved a huge amount over the last two decades. I remember a time where sending stems for a song over the internet was not possible.
The music business is like any ecosystem and the rule about the survival of the fittest applies. Markets also change and now it’s easier that ever for an artist to finish a record or album on small budget. It is also easier for producers to get access to the music market and make money from their available catalog. No matter where they are located.
With all these advantages and social media being as relevant as it is today there is no excuse, even for up and coming artists, for not dropping records on a regular basis. Consistency is a main pillar in the foundation of a solid career and it is crucial that we understand that it is almost as important as talent. One without the other will take you nowhere.