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Know-how for musicians

The risks of buying beats on the internet

February 23, 2021

If you’re buying beats on the internet, you not only have a wide selection to choose from but also access to good quality at a great price. But there are also some stumbling blocks in the way. Here, we’ve put together all the things you need to watch out for.

More and more artists look for the right beat for their songs on the internet. That way, you come in contact with producers that you would have never met otherwise and can secure quality beats without a hassle and often also at very affordable prices. But the devil is in the details, or rather, in the contract that you usually have to sign at the purchase. We will show you what you have to look out for.

Beat leasing limitations

If the beats are low priced, it is usually because you are not buying the exclusive rights, but are just leasing the beat. This means that one, the producer can still sell the beat to other artists, but also, that you are limited in your use of the beat. This could mean that you can’t release the song on streaming platforms or if you can, then only up to a certain number of streams/sales and for a limited time.

What’s almost always forbidden is the monetization of tracks via the YouTube content ID. The reason is simple: If multiple artists use the same beat, ownership conflicts will automatically arise.

Similar conflicts can come up when you make your song available on Facebook or Instagram. In both cases you should abstain from uploading if you don’t have the exclusive rights.

Advantages of buying exclusive rights

According to an article by Rolling Stone Magazine, there have been more and more instances where managers buy the exclusive rights to a beat as soon as a song goes viral. This doesn’t have to lead to problems right away, but when the license for the beat runs out, you will have to deal with a new negotiating partner and won’t be able to extend the license on the same terms and conditions. If it becomes apparent that your song is about to blow up, you should contact the producer ASAP and secure the exclusive rights.

Are the samples cleared?

If it’s not explicitly mentioned in the contract, you should always ask the producer whether the beat contains samples and if so, whether these have been cleared (which they most likely have not).

As already mentioned in our post on samples, in the worst-case scenario, you could get sued for using a beat with samples.

Leasing for the budget

Especially for artists who are still at the beginning of their career, it is advantageous to lease beats and keep costs low. The beat should never consume the whole budget; there should always be something left for the promotion.

In any case, you should read the contract closely, so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do with the song. If you’re absolutely certain of the quality of the song, it’s worth investing from the start and purchasing the exclusive rights.

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