Have you ever bought a beat online without knowing what user-rights you actually have? Can’t wrap your head around these different licensing options that producers offer? Or, maybe you’ve finally found that perfect beat after hours of searching and spent all night writing a potential hit song. Then, you go to the producer’s website only to find the following words; “This beat is SOLD!”
I’m a producer too, selling beats online. But I’ve been on your side of the pond as well.
Yes, that’s right! I had this crazy fantasy of becoming a successful, rich and famous artist one day. Sounds familiar?
I used to spent hours online searching for that right beat. And when I found it, I downloaded the free version and recorded my song the next day. I wasn’t even buying a proper license for it!
Without knowing a thing about recording, mixing and mastering, I bounced the track to an MP3 file (In low quality so that it wouldn’t take too much space on my 128MB MP3 Player) and let all my friends hear it the next day.
Mind you, I was only 14 at the time and facts are, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was only until I started making beats myself and selling them online when I realised a lot of artists are struggling when they’re using beats from online producers.
So, let me give you a few tips I wish someone gave me when I was still pursuing my dream of becoming an artist.
1. Check if the beat is still available on the producer’s website
Let’s say you’ve been checking out beats on YouTube all night and finally found a beat you like…
Don’t even start writing a single word!
First, visit the producer’s website to make sure the beat is still available.
You really don’t want to know how many times I had to disappoint a good artist by telling them that the beat they wanted to get is no longer available. Many times, they’d already written an entire song to it. If the record is really good, that sucks for both of us.
When you’re looking for beats on YouTube, you can not always tell from the video title or description whether the beat is still available or not. Visit the producer’s website instead.
Once a beat gets sold exclusively by a producer, they are no longer allowed to license it to other artists. It’s also not possible to buy the beat from the person who purchased the exclusive rights. The exclusive contract does not permit the purchaser to re-sell the instrumental in its original form and if not overlayed with lyrics.
Another reason why you would want to buy from the producer’s own website is to check if they’re trustworthy to do business with. Most producers will direct you to a third party website such as BeatStars, Soundee or Airbit where you can make a purchase and get the beat instantly delivered after checkout. That’s perfect!
But there are still some producers who use alternative ways to sell beats. For example, some ask you to make a payment first and then they’ll manually send you the files. In that case, always check if the producer is still active since this is a very old method of buying/selling beats online.
If you have doubts, just make sure you use PayPal when you’re buying beats online. You can always open up a claim if a producer is not sending you the beat(s) you have purchased.
2. Don’t buy the MP3 Leases if you consider yourself an Artist!
Like I mentioned, I used to download crappy MP3 formatted tagged files. This is wrong!
MP3’s are low quality and you can really tell the difference when you send your song off for mixing and mastering. (Ask any audio engineer you know.)
Also, major labels and A&R’s are constantly looking for potential artists to sign. Even if you created a potential Billboard charting track, when the audio is bad, they fast forward to the next track in a blink of an eye.
Licenses that come with tracked out files will give you the best bang for your buck. These tracked out files are all the separate files of a beat and haven’t been mastered, limited or compressed.
Yes, these licenses are more expensive. If it’s not within your budget, go for the WAV license instead.
3. Know your rights before you buy a beat online
This is pretty obvious but still, I want to address one particular subject. You’re probably familiar with the licensing tables that producers have on their website. They tell you the difference between each license they offer.
Don’t be fooled – READ THE PDF LICENSE AGREEMENT!
Everyone who sets up some kind of a contract has small print added somewhere. Trust me (or better yet.. don’t trust me!) because it’s not going to be all up in your face while browsing through a producer’s website.
Always make sure you read through the license agreement before buying a beat online.
If you don’t know the difference between Exclusive and Non-Exclusive, here’s an article I wrote that will help you understand it better. It’s called “The Ultimate Guide to Online Beat Licensing”
4. The Online Beat Market can be shady, keep your eyes and ears open!
There, I said it… But it’s true! Selling and buying beats online has become too damn easy. Make sure you know who you are dealing with.
Have you ever come across a producer who sells Exclusive Rights for $50 without providing the contract details?
Have you ever had a producer sliding in your DM’s trying to sell you an exclusive beat, then sends you a PayPal link to buy and promise to manually send you the beat after you paid?
Those are the kind of producers who are in it for the fast money. A lot of them (not everyone!) have no idea how the business works. Most of them are just starting out. In all honesty, they can be dangerous people to be doing business with.
In my opinion, people who are driven by money and money only are the ones who can’t be trusted.
Whenever you’re doing business with an online producer, especially when it comes to exclusive rights, make sure you have all the paperwork reviewed before making a payment. Discuss all the details of the sale and make sure you get a signed copy from the producer once you’ve made the purchase.
This is not a strange thing to ask and if the producer is trustworthy he will do that for sure. But when he starts acting all weird about it, it’s in your best interest to get out as fast as you can.
Again, I’m not saying that this is typical for all producers who sell $50 exclusives of course! All I’m saying: Know who you are dealing with!
5. Always check for Bulk Deals
Let’s say you’ve found several beats from a single producer but your current budget only allows you to purchase one right now. You could save up some money and come back later to purchase the rest of them, sure.
Well, let me tell you this. Producers have Bulk Deals going on all the time. Like, buy 1 get 2 free for example.
It’s funny. I’ve had many occasions when artists bought 2 beats from my site while they could have gotten 4 instead for the same price. They just didn’t see the advertisement to add 2 more to their cart for free.
What if the producer doesn’t have a Bulk deal going on?
SEND AN E-MAIL!
Producers are ALWAYS in to make a deal. Just tell them that you found several beats that you wanna use but can’t afford to buy them all. Ask if he got any deals going on right now or if he’s willing to negotiate a bulk price.
100% guaranteed that you’ll be offered a good deal which allows you to buy several beats for a special price.
It does depend on how high the total price of your order will be. Producers are most likely to make a deal if the total amount that you are offering is anywhere above $50. Just make an offer he can’t refuse.
Try it and you’ll see that it really works.
These tips I gave you all came from my personal experiences as both an artist and producer. Again, selling and buying beats online has become super easy these days. You just have to know what you’re doing and understand a little about the basics before you start spending money with producers.
If you have any questions about this, let me know in the comments below!