By Sokratis Seirlis (aka SOKI)
Music producer, Sound engineer, Beatmaker.
This guide will help you understand how the beat-selling industry works. If you’re an artist, and you never quite understood what’s going on with beat licenses, then keep reading.
In this article you will find out;
What’s an exclusive and a non-exclusive license
What’s the difference between them
The most common licensing plans
When it’s the right move to go for a lease and when to reach out for an exclusive license
Why exclusive beats won’t worth it most of the times
Why there is no “Free Beat” and what’s the catch behind it.
Why and when you should consider purchasing a lease from a trustworthy producer
First of all, let’s define the term “license”. What a license actually is and why it is important to understand it?
A license (or most commonly lease) is all in all a legal document.
It’s an agreement between the content creator and a third person
in order for that person to use the content in certain ways.
In the beat selling industry, the content creator is the Music Producer/Beatmaker. The third person is usually an artist.
So, the license for a beat/instrumental, allows the artist to use that particular beat to create a new song.
Artists can record their performance on top of the beat and release it to the world.
The licenses also disclose certain terms that the artist has to follow.
Such terms are for example the number of streams or sales someone can make with their new song,
or the number of YouTube views allowed!
if you purchased a lease that has a streaming cap of 50.000 streams on Spotify,
you are allowed to use the song until that point.
If your song surpasses the 50.000 streams then you must (theoretically and legally) upgrade your lease to a different one with more streams.
If you don’t do that then the producer has the right to take action and even remove your song.
There are 2 different types of licenses.
An exclusive license
A non-exclusive license
The difference between them is pretty straightforward. An exclusive license applies only to one person. A non-exclusive license applies to an unlimited number of people.
What this means is that if someone buys an exclusive license for a beat, he/she then has the exclusive rights to use the beat.
The music producer is legally bound and cannot, therefore, re-sell the same beat ever again after that point.
A non-exclusive license allows the producer to re-sell it. The producer can sell non-exclusive licenses an unlimited number of times.
This is why non-exclusive licenses are that cheap!
Now you might think;
“Why the hell would I want to buy a non-exclusive license? What if someone else has a song with the same beat too?”
Relax, I know it’s scary to think that someone else might use the same beat for a song. But there are several reasons why
a non-exclusive license works better on certain occasions.
1️⃣First of all, a non-exclusive license is extremely cheap.
Some people sell their licenses for as low as 5 $! You can practically afford the instrumental you love without spending a fortune.
This is a great option for upcoming artists that have a small audience and want to release as much music as they can.
Don’t forget that in 2021 you have to release music all the time if you want to have any chances of scaling as an artist.
I’m talking about 1-2 songs per month!
2️⃣Non-exclusive licenses allow you to keep a big portion of your budget to the promotion and/or a video clip!
Nowadays, promotion and Image is as important as quality music.
Let’s face it; if you want to grow as an artist you have to be prepared to spend money for promotion!
How are you gonna do this if you spend all your budget on exclusive beats?
Keep in mind that an exclusive beat can range from 500 $ up to 4-5k!
3️⃣Non-exclusive licenses can always be upgraded!
Let’s say you lease a beat for 30 $ and you make a song that eventually becomes a hit!
You can then go and purchase exclusive rights for the beat!
No reason to spend all the money upfront without knowing if your song will ever be a hit!
4️⃣Non-exclusive licenses are rarely sold more than 15-20 times!
All us beatmakers and producers that we lease our beats we sell globally!
So the chances of hearing a different song than yours written on the same beat are pretty low don’t you think? 🤔
Now that you understand why non-exclusive licenses can be the way to go, let’s see the most common lease plans.
Most people offer 3-4 different leases.
The cheapest one offers the High-Quality MP3 of the beat
alongside with 25-50k streams or video views as a cap.
This lease can be sold from as low as 5 $ up to 35 $ averaging at 25 $.
Personally, I don’t offer an MP3 license because I value quality music over sales and I know for a fact that
with an MP3 you won’t achieve the maximum quality you deserve.
On the flipside, MP3 leases sell much more so I could sell MP3 leases for profit, but I choose not to.
Instead, my cheap lease is the Basic-WAV lease which includes the studio-quality WAV file.
WAV file is the bare minimum if you want
to achieve a great-sounding result.
The Medium tier lease is the Trackout/Lease which most people sell at an average of 100$. (I sell it for 80 $)
This plan gives access to the individual tracks of the beat.
This is the plan I suggest for all of you guys to go with.
This is because with the stems you will be able to mix and modify the beat in detail.
It is the only way to achieve the maximum quality of your song!
Some people run another license the Unlimited License
which gives Trackout/Stems but also gives an unlimited amount of streams and sales.
This is also my top-tier license and I value it at 140 $. This license would be suitable for
people that would gain a lot out of YouTube monetization,
people that want unlimited radio airplay
people that got a hit song and want an upgrade of their lease.