The internet is full of producers with beats for sale. You can literally find millions of beat makers across the world with a beat shop open and ready to sell their instrumentals to prospective artists. However, many of these producers lack clear, concise understanding of what they are actually selling. You may see a producer with a banner ad stating “Lease 3 Beats, Get 1 Free”, but does he/she or the customer truly know whats happening when the sale occurs? The following will take an in depth look at the process of buying beats from an online beat shop.
The first thing that beat makers and artists must understand prior to buying and downloading a beat is copyright law.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. (For example, if you create some instrumentals in a beat program like FL Studio, you are protected once your beats are “in a tangible form”–mp3, wav, session files, etc.)
The purpose of registering a copyright with the Copyright office is so that if someone uses your work without consent, you can sue them for damages. Your copyright registration acts as evidence to show you are the owner of the work.
Source: Copyright Site
When you visit a beat shop online where a producer has his/her beats for sale, he/she owns the copyright by default. Conversely, if you were to record your lyrics to the instrumental you would be the copyright owner of your creation. Now if you decide you want to buy instrumentals from the online store you aren’t actually “buying the beat”. You are licensing it*.
There are several ways to license instrumentals online. The most common way to license beats is through a non-exclusive beat license or lease.
When a person decides to lease an instrumental, they are purchasing the right to use the instrumental during/for a specific period of time. They ARE NOT buying the beat itself, but instead they are granted permission to use the instrumental in a capacity specified by the beat maker.
Generally, the leasee is allowed:
1. The right to use the instrumental for a commerical, for profit purpose (CD sales)
2. Distribution up to xxxx units
3. Must credit the producer for his/her work
4. The beat(s) is/are royalty free.
Other Terms The Beat Lease May Include:
1. Producer has the right to re-license the beat to other buyers until an exclusive rights license is purchased.
2. Purchaser is not allowed to re-sell or re-distribute the instrumental.
If a producer has not specified leasing terms or information on their website, it is highly advisable that you do not buy beats from them no matter how hot they are.
Exclusive Beats For Sale
In addition to leasing beats online, some producers sell exclusive rights licenses. It is important to know the difference between leases and exclusive rights.
In general, when exclusive rights are sold the producer is:
1. Paid a specified producer fee
2. Granted a specified royalty percentage on sales of the song created with the music.
Note: Exclusive rights purchases should always be accompanied with a detailed producer-artist contract.
Other things that may be included in an exclusive rights agreement:
1. Producer is no longer allowed to re-license, re-distribute the beat if it was previously leased.
Understanding the common instrumental licenses sold online will prepare you to download your beats. Typically you will find that the majority of beat makers utilize PayPal to accept payments from clients. This makes the sales process easier and more convenient for customers. Setting up a PayPal account is free. You can use funds within your account to buy beats or you use a credit/debit card to complete your purchase.
Depending on the seller you may be able to receive your beats instantly. If the seller is using something similar to My Flash Store , then you will be able to download your instrumentals instantly via a link sent to your email.
If the beat maker is not using an automated beat selling system then you will need to specify what beats you want and wait for the producer to send them to you after you’ve made payment. This usually takes between 24-48 hours once payment is clear.
Once you’ve downloaded your track you’ve finished buying a beat from a beat shop!
*Varies with every producer. Please thoroughly review the the beat makers’ terms of service.