Buying Beats Online: The Beat Lease Explained

By adamack on Nov 21, 2013 in Buying Beats - 13 Comments

More than any other question I get, the single most common one pertains to buying beats online…particularly leasing beats from a website.

Many consumers are in the dark about what it means to lease beats.

So I’ve decided to write this article to help clear up any confusion about leasing beats, so that you may approach your future purchases with more knowledge.

First off, I just wanted to clear up that a beat “lease” and “non-exclusive rights” are almost always the same thing, unless otherwise defined by the producer.

So without further ado, here are the main characteristics of a beat lease:

Ownership

When you lease a beat from a producer, you are granted non-exclusive rights to it. Non-exclusive rights grants you “partial” access to use the beat. The producer retains exclusive rights to the beat, and may continue leasing the beat or sell exclusive rights to other artists.

Think of the beat lease as the producer “lending” you the beat temporarily. You may use the beat to create your song, and you have limited rights to it.

If you decide that you would like to own the beat at any point, you can always purchase exclusive rights to it if the producer offers this.

Distribution Limit

When you lease a beat, you also agree to something called a distribution limit.

A distribution limit is simply a cap on the number of copies of the song you can sell.

A very common distribution limit is 2,000 copies. This means that, after leasing a beat, you may record your vocals on it to create your song, and distribute up to 2,000 copies of this song. (At Adamack Beats, you are given 3,000 distributions under a standard lease.)

A distribution is defined as any physical transfer of the song to another person for profit or non-profit. This includes, but is not limited to:

A CD Sale
An iTunes Sale
Giving Song Away On a Mixtape
Sending Song in an Email

And so on. Any time you physically transfer the audio file of the song to another person, this counts as a distribution.

Streaming plays on YouTube, Reverb Nation, or other similar sites do NOT count as distributions, because the audio file is not physically transferred to someone else.

When you run out of distributions, your lease is over. At that point, you may either lease the beat again, or purchase exclusive rights if the beat is still available.

Length Of Lease Term

Another characteristic of a beat lease is the length of term.

Because leases are non-exclusive, there needs to be some kind of time limit on the term of the lease.

You will most likely find that the most common terms are between 1-2 years.

The term starts the moment that you agree to the terms and pay for the beat, and is good for 1-2 years (or whatever the producer has set) from that day.

Your leasing terms expire either when you have run out of distributions, or run out of time on your lease. Whichever comes first.

Profits

Because you have paid the leasing fee, you are able to keep 100% of the profits that you make from your distributions, unless otherwise specified by the producer.

Common Questions and Scenarios

In order to tie up the loose ends and clear things up, I wanted to address some common questions that were not answered in the above sections:

Q. What happens if somebody buys exclusive rights to a beat during my lease?

A. This is a very common concern. At Adamack Beats, if someone were to purchase exclusive rights while you are leasing a beat, you keep your rights to continue distributing your song until either (a) you run out of distributions or (b) your term expires. I cannot speak for other producers here, but I believe this is the most fair way to treat this situation.

Q. Can my song be played on the radio during a lease?

A. Again, I can answer this question only for my terms at Adamack Beats. The simple answer is yes, you may submit for and receive radio play while on a lease, but the Standard Lease limits the amount of radio play to 10 spins. If your song begins to receive national attention while on a lease, I ask that you please contact me immediately so we can discuss exclusive rights or other options which would be more suitable for such a situation.

Q. If I am on a lease with a beat, can I lease it again to receive more distributable copies?

A. Yes, if you are currently leasing a beat, and would like to add more distributable copies to your total, you can purchase another lease at any time. You may also purchase exclusive rights at any time, and I will deduct the amount you have spent on leasing the beat from the exclusive rights total.
I hope this article has helped to clear up any questions, concerns, or worries you may have had about buying beat leases on the internet.

If you have any other questions, you can contact me any time at adamackbeatz@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting!

Comments

Bluebonnet Bomber April 10th, 2016

Once again my friend,you’ve been very informative.Thank you!

phetole May 11th, 2016

I like the beats

3 Fires October 4th, 2016

Hey, thanks for the info. My question is how do you have any control over whether or not people leasing your beats keep to the terms of the lease? How do you know how many radio spins they have or copies they sell? Thanks a lot.

Grant Christian December 12th, 2016

Very helpful! I have one question though, I am a beat maker/seller. How do I hold someone accountable to distribution limits and renewing leases?

OgGhosta December 21st, 2016

How can I (a producer) keep in track of sales an artist makes?

AJ February 15th, 2017

I’m a nonprofit 14-year-old artist right now. I want to know if you use a beat for nonprofit and you post it on a website like SoundCloud or YouTube (not monetized, of course) and someone buys exclusive rights for it, do I have to take the song I made with it down?

Fuhk_WF March 12th, 2017

How do you keep track of a beat that has a limited amount of distributions?

Grant Christian March 15th, 2017

Very informative! I know you touched on it, but if someone buys exclusive during a lease, once the lease terms are up must that person stop sales of their track completely?

Jasmine April 13th, 2017

Answered a lot of my questions , thank you !

Stanley April 20th, 2017

How do I keep track of the distribution limit of each customer? Is there a way to keep track or do I just have to trust that they will not exceed the limit? I mean couldn’t they easily sell well over the limit without me ever knowing?

PK April 22nd, 2017

Is it possible to find a beat onwer once you have sold the exclusive rights to the beat

Lil Rose April 24th, 2017

I was thinking about using the beat “Stars” and I thought about making a song with my friends and post it on soundcloud and If it gets popular like famous I might want to make a profit of of it

adamack May 17th, 2017

If you were to purchase a non-exclusive license to a beat and someone else buys the exclusive rights, you have the right to exercise the remainder of your Non-Exclusive agreement. If you are talking about a free download which you haven’t purchased a license to, then the policy for this depends on the producer who you got the beat from. Hope this helps!

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