Types of Beat Licenses

Guys, today I want to talk about beat licensing. I will talk about it in depth so you can understand it. Music artists are not lawyers but as an artist, you need to understand every nuance on how everything works and how to use it on practice.

Nowadays music producers are selling beats with different licenses, such as: mp3\wav\trackout\unlimited lease\exclusive rights. It is normal to understand how basic things work but when it comes to signing contracts music artists should know what rights they have and what not.

When an artist buys a lease license, he can only use it within the established limits, like sales and plays. How to track limits: that’s another question.  After all, these figures are mostly tracked by music platforms. The copyright is always owned by the producer unless exclusive rights are sold.
With the advent of online distributors like: CDBaby\TuneCore\Distrokid, artists began to upload all type of tracks on the digital platforms, allegedly saying that they own the 100% of the beat (even if they own only standard lease license). In theory, when uploading an artist must indicate that his author’s share is 50%, since the author only owns the rights to lyrics and vocal and not to the instrumental. In practice, most artists don’t give a damn about it, but then they get surprised when their tracks are taken off from digital platforms and the monetization shuts down. Hence, if you want to have all the rights, please contact your music producer (me) and discuss the exclusive rights for the beat.

With the purchase of any license – an artist can’t claim any percentage as a publisher. And those who buy the trackouts license do not receive the 100%  copyright of instrumental as well. They just get the stems for better mixing and mastering on a composition.

If an artist thinks that his future track will blow up all the charts, he can buy out an exclusive for the further distribution of his track without any limits. Each case of an purchasing of an exclusive license is negotiated individually. If the music producer is registered with the publisher like Ascap or BMI (which I do), he can receive a percentage of live performances, radio rotations, TV broadcasts, public replays, subject to the signing of the contract. Both parties can agree to 50% of the ownership (since in any case, the author of the music is the beatmaker, not the artist) and 50% of the authorship is received by the performer for the vocals. All these points are written out with a certain percentage of the ratio in the contract. The percentage that will be specified when signing the contract is negotiated as individually. For example, it could be 80% for an artist and  20% to a producer, it really depends. Also, if a sound engineer is included in working on the track, and all the parties agree in the contract, he can also be included in percentage shares. Therefore, those percentages can be divided in different ways.

On practice, artists often do not willingly sign contracts with a percentage that shares with the music producer. At the same time, there are good artists who immediately offer work for royalties (be like them!). The music producer does not need to rush into making a decision, since, often, all promised payments of royalties from the future hit are bluff. Nothing, but the beautiful words of an artist. In some moments, it is easier to sell an instrumental for a fixed amount without receiving royalties. And sometimes it’s easier to give an exclusive for the minimum price, or for free but by signing an agreement for royalty payments. It really depends on how you look at it and how much believe you have in an artist. But the main fact is that the beatmaker after the sale of an exclusive beat can also claim a percentage of the track’s earnings. In this case, the music producer is usually also interested in promoting the track, so that he would bring both sides as much earnings and clout as possible. If the artist wants to pick up the beat without dividing %, then a music producer can put the price on an exclusive more expensive than the set amount.

Sometimes work with the producer can be carried out like work for hire. When a label or a single artist enters into a contract for a certain number of beats for his project, with full authorship of the artist: then the work payment is simple, the agreed sum is paid after the completion of the work and the music producer cannot claim anything in any way.

One of the most common questions for artists and producers is whether an artist can monetize a track if a beat is leased and the exclusive rights have been purchased. Maybe, but then everything depends on the contract and how the owner of the exclusive rights will use it. In the next article, I might give an example of how to deal with artists who “appropriates” ownership, as well as what an artist and beatmaker should do if his track for a beat from a lease becomes a hit.

Best Regards,

Jay Urban Music

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