Buying Beats Online: The Beat Lease Explained
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:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting!