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How do Beat Leases Work?

There are no set rules when leasing beats the producer sets the terms, and the artist can haggle or agree with them. You’ll see a few industry trends out there but for the most part everything is up for negotiation. You have to be careful when you’re browsing those negotiation terms, especially if you want to sell any of your work at some point.

This quick guide will help you understand the most common beat lease terms. Well also help you understand the pros and cons of these limited contracts so that you can make the right choice for your music career.

Getting to Know the Common Beat Lease Terms

Getting to know the beat least terms is the most important part. Though not strictly true in legal terms, the music industry generally treats a beat lease like a non-exclusive license. Here are some of the terms you will see pop up most often:

1. Number of Master Recordings

This is the number of audio files created after you have recorded your vocals to the beat. You can try as many times as you want but can only release so many versions for profit. Most of the beats for sale on the Internet will limit you to one final recording.

2. Limit on Profitable Distributions

This is the combined total of all digital downloads, CDs, cassettes, and everything in between. The beat maker might set the limit at a few hundred releases or a few thousand. This number is generally negotiable.

3. Distribution Timetable

Beat makers don’t want to spend all of their time checking up on artists. Most leases will limit the amount of time that you can distribute your work. If you have a five-year lease and fail to sell all of your CDs then you will have to take the loss unless you can contact the beat maker to buy the exclusive.

Beat Lease Pros and Cons

Beat leases are great for artists who have a small budget and big dreams. They’ll help you gain exposure and stage time without necessarily blowing your budget on instrumentals. You have the opportunity to save money in the short term so that you can invest in the big picture you can save up and hire a producer to make custom tracks, and then you can leave the beat lease world behind. Underground artists rely on these leases to get a start.

The only downside is that if your track blows up, you’ll have to hope the producer is going to let you have that exclusive. Otherwise, you will have to take the loss and hope your next recording reaches that level of success. Then again, the entire point of leasing a beat is to get exposure without sacrificing your wallet so even if you do miss a few opportunities you will still have accomplished your goal.

Are leased beats right for your project? The decision isn’t easy but at least you have plenty of time to experiment and see what you like. As long as you’re buying from reputable producers, you should have no problem making a little cash off your leased beats while passing on some of that change to your fellow underground musicians.

About Emma Gilbert

Working in the marketing industry since 2002. This blog is one of my hobbies.

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