Although beats for sale have been around for quite a while, in the past it was quite a ridiculous process to complete a sale, partly due to the nature of the industry, and the requirement for high quality sound files. Even though beats could be bought online, once the sale was completed, the files needed to be individually written to CD or emailed to their new owners.
With the advancement worldwide peer to peer communications, this industry has, however, exploded, with valued beat merchants making six figure incomes every year from their beats. So if beats for sale is something you are interested in as an artist or a producer, this guide will give you all the information you need to enter the industry.
What are beats for sale?
Beats for sale are, in short, audio files containing instrumental or vocal recordings. These recordings usually form the background track of any song, and is used by music producers to create the final audio file. Beat files differ in their composition, depending on the feel created by the producer, but they most commonly include kick drum, snare drum, guitar, bass, piano and lead or backing vocals.
The audio files are created electronically by a music producer, or through the recording of instruments in a studio. High quality recordings feature an individual recording of each instrument or vocal performance, which is then later combined to a single track for the complete effect.
Most commonly, when you buy or lease a beat, or when you use some of the free beats available, you will be able to download this audio file as a single mix. This is fine for demo tracks or home recordings, but when a professional recording is being made the producer will need the singular files of each instrument to create a high quality mix. This is what is called the “tracked out files”.
So, keep in mind, when you decide to buy or lease a beat for professional use – you will most certainly need the tracked out files. They will however cost you more than the single audio file, but we will talk more about this when we discuss licensing options.
Buying vs. leasing – your licensing options
As you have probably gathered form the previous section, some beats are for free, while most are available for leasing or sale. The important thing to know is the difference in cost and quality between these three options.
First of all, free beats can be found just about anywhere from online sites to YouTube, but these beats are generally low in quality and will most likely contain a ‘producers tag’ every 30 seconds. A producers tag is simply an audio drop in the beat that identifies the producer, effectively making it impossible for you to use the beat commercially. Now free beats have their value, in that they are great for customers who want to buy, but want to record a small demo with their own voice or instrument first – to gauge if the track is suited. The end result of a free download in this case would however be the sale or leasing of this beat.
To lease a beat means that you are getting a higher quality track, with no producers tags. Leasing a beat comes with a licensing agreement that is valid for anything between two and six years. Most producers average around a five year lease term, which enables the buyer to use the track commercially for five years. Depending on how much you are able to pay, you can opt for different licensing agreements – cheaper agreements will grant you access to a single audio file and some freedom in terms of production, social media and sales. More expensive agreements give you the tracked out files, with unlimited use on any platform, including radio and TV. In most cases, credit will still have to be given to the beat producer – so make sure to fine-comb your licensing agreement before you commit.
Finally, if you have the money, and know that you will be using the beat professionally, you can consider buying the beat. This will usually grant you unlimited use of the beat for a set period of time. When buying a beat, you usually also gain access to the tracked out files. When buying a beat, you need to consider whether you want exclusive rights to the beat, or not.
Exclusive vs. non-exclusive beats
Exclusive beats are exactly what their name implies – they are yours and yours alone. This is a great option if you are considering commercial use of the beat. If, however, you are not aiming for a chart topper, buying a non-exclusive beat is a very viable and economically sound option. You will still gain access to the tracked out files, but so will other buyers. In most cases these beat sales are time limited – so for a period of five or so years, after which you will have to renew this license with the beat producer.
If you decide on buying a non-exclusive beat, and someone else buys the same beat, but exclusively, you will retain your rights to use until the completion of your licensing term, after which you will simply not be able to renew the beat license.
Bought or leased a beat – now what?
Once you have made the decision on whether you would like to buy or lease a beat, and under what licensing agreement, all you have to do is find the perfect beat. Perusing the online beat stores, will give you a feel of what is available and what will suit your musical vision. Once you have access to the mixed audio file, or the tracked out files, all that is left to do is to produce that song you’ve been dreaming of!
With such a wide selection of beats available online form producers in almost any country you can think of, the musical world is your oyster, and freedom is simply a click away.