If you are reading this article, that means you are somehow related to the music industry. The e-commerce and internet changed beats buying processes quite significantly during the past decade, and the previously strange term “buy/lease beats online” become a norm in the most developed countries.

However, to those who are just starting to discover this universe, one of the first questions can arise about what is so-called “Free Beats” is? And why they are Free? 

I have been selling beats online for a couple of years. Before I started doing anything related to beats sales, I was on the other side. I used to rap, I used to produce beats for myself, as well as record local artists in my studio, who had been bringing to the recording sessions free beats from online producers.

 

 

I still perform from time to time and record some tracks. Because I’ve been on both sides of the table, I can imagine the situation that you’re in right now. And it is no doubt, I get the “Free Beats” question A LOT.

 

Perhaps, the reason why you decided to read this article is:

  • You’re starting with music and want to take it seriously.
  • You’ve been doing music for a while but now is the time to step up your game and be done with the free beats. 
  • Or, maybe you reached that professional level when the properly licensed beats are the only way to go. 
  • Maybe, you just want to educate yourself and won’t have to worry about legal issues down the road.

If you recognize yourself somewhere along these lines then you’re right where you need to be. I’m going to give you all the information you need to make the best decision for your music and know everything about buying beats online.

Let’s deconstruct the terms “Free beats” and “Free for Profit” first.

 

Free Beats

If you google the phrase “Free beats” instantly you’ll get a bunch of links (mainly youtube or eCommerce websites) offering download music free of charge. However, those who download those free beats and play them will notice – besides music the producer tags will appear every 30 / 60 second along the track. That is one of the major signs that the beat is “Free”. The Tags are used by producers for two purposes:

  • To place a signature on the beat (which become a trendy thing – remember DJ Khaled’s tag “We the best music”)
  • To protect the beat from commercial usage without a license purchase.

Simply, because the end goal of beats is to be purchased/leased by an artist and be used to record a song, once you buy a license for a beat, it will no longer have the tags in it.

 

Of course, if you downloaded a beat without a tag, but don’t have a license agreement from the producer for it, then you could consider it as a free beat too. But in both these cases (free beat with and without a tag), that means you’re not authorized to use the beat for commercial purposes. This crucial point has been a discussion between artists and producers for years. It’s worth explaining in more detail, and you’ll read more about it soon.

The main confusion appears at the point when the producers who provide free beats are not doing so intending to have their music used for free. When you’re looking for beats on YouTube, most of the titles you’ll find say “FREE BEAT”.

By writing so, producers hoping to gain exposure and get their music out there, so the Free Beat phrase is used as a clickbait. 

However, many artists sincerely take these beats and use them without giving credit or compensation to the producer. Causing frustration of the producer, but… In defense of the downloaded – How can you complain when someone uses your work for free when you offer it for free? Right?

Well, not exactly so, and here is why… It all turns around the simple rule that the author holds all the rights and decides the conditions of the usage. The key phrase here is the “license”.

In defense of the producers, who post and sell beats online, I can confirm that many artists are taking advantage of our craft and hard work. Beats are downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, and most of them are illegal.

So, it makes a logical turn when the producer asks someone to buy a beat with a proper license that comes with it, even if it was downloaded for free.

 

Free for Profit Beats

This is quite a new term in the game of beat leasing which deserves its description. These beats are:

  • Give by producers for free to download
  • They have one or no tags at all
  • Most often they are the highest mp3 quality 
  • And the most important producers provide a certain level of license to everyone who gets it.

For example, by downloading one of my beats FREE for PROFIT, you still do agree to a contract and get some usage rights. It’s just those rights are pretty limited.

 

What can you do with Free Beats?

Let’s myth bust the term “Free Beats” – You can’t do much with them… At least, nothing commercially or profitable.

 

Producers offer free beats to let artists…

  • Try it out before they buy.
  • Record vocals and see if their vocals match the key of the beat.
  • Record a demo and get feedback before purchasing a license for it.
  • Make sure that it’ll be worth the investment.

That’s why there’s no such thing as a ‘free beat’ under such phrase, in case of a profit.

Remember – If you’re using a beat for which you haven’t received a license agreement in writing from the producer, you’re unauthorized to use it and you could get in serious trouble.

So, if you are going to ask for something for free, ask for a ‘free license’ instead. Or get one from the author of the beat you like.

Therefore, the “Free for Profit” beats come in handy here, because you can get the beat for free and make a proper release for the test run with profit.

 

Terms of Free for Profit Beats

As I mentioned before, by downloading one of my beats named “FREE for PROFIT”, you get more freedom of action. However, you still do agree to a contract and get some usage rights. It’s just those rights are pretty limited.

 

Those usage rights for my FREE FOR PROFIT beats are as follows:

𝐔𝐒𝐀𝐆𝐄 𝐃𝐄𝐓𝐀𝐈𝐋𝐒: This beat is available for you to use and keep 100% profit on Youtube & Soundcloud, and you need to credit me for the composition (Produced by Fenixprod). 

By using the FREE FOR PROFIT version on youtube 𝐃𝐎 𝐍𝐎𝐓 𝐏𝐔𝐓 𝐂𝐎𝐏𝐘𝐑𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓/𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓 𝐈𝐃 𝐎𝐍 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐔𝐍𝐋𝐄𝐒𝐒 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐇𝐀𝐕𝐄 𝐄𝐗𝐂𝐋𝐔𝐒𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐑𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒.

To distribute your work with this beat on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music you need to purchase a license.

If you’re in the possession of beats without a license agreement from the producer, you could consider that a free beat as well. In that case, unless specified, you’re not authorized to use the beat for commercial purposes. 

So how to properly understand the beats buying process? You’ll learn everything about it below, just keep on reading.

 

Buying beats online – How does it work?

Each beat / instrumental is sold by producers via an online store. By purchasing a beat through it, you are purchasing audio files that are copyrighted by the producer. In return for your payment, the producer grants you several rights to use the beat, which comes in form of a document – the License Agreement.

There are a few types of agreements:

  1. Non-exclusive licenses agreement.
  2. Exclusive licenses agreement.

The biggest difference is that a non-exclusive license for one beat can be sold to several artists. Yet, an exclusive license can be sold only once and to one artist only.

This article covers only the subject of non-exclusive licensing.

If you want to learn more about the Exclusive License, click the button below. I wrote an entire guide about the difference there. 

Different licensing options – Which one to choose?

The Non-Exclusive licenses come in several different options forms, based on the price, the file format of the beat, and terms of use. Each producer is free to call them by different names, but they are all the same. Let’s cover the most common ones:

  • Basic lease (other names: Beginner; MP3; Starter, etc.)
  • Premium lease (other names: Mixtape; WAV; Intermediate, etc.)
  • Professional lease (other names: Album; Track Stems; Artist, etc.)
  • Unlimited lease (other names: Gold; Full Monetization, etc.)

The more expensive the license, the more rights are granted by the producer. Also, the more expensive your license, the better quality audio files you will receive. Here is the example of my licenses on the page:

BASIC

$50Non-Exclusive
  • Perfect for independent artists
    starting to work on a small-scale project and grow their passion
    Semi-professional license that is typically used by beginner artists that want to promote their song on SoundCloud or YouTube (non-monetised)
    This license comes with an industry quality single WAV-track but not with tracked out files.
    Distribution on all major platforms is limited and paid performances and radio airplay is not permitted.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY WAV + MP3
  • Free Downloads & Streaming
    (Soundcloud, Audiomack etc.)
  • Paid Downloads & Streaming
    (Spotify, Apple Music etc.)
  • Use for 1 music video
    (100.000 Youtube / Vimeo Streams)
  • Limited to 100.000 Streams
  • Sell up to 25.000 Copies
    (Single, Mixtape, Album)
  • 2-years Term
  • Tracked Out Files
  • Paid Performance
  • Radio Airplay / Broadcasting
  • Youtube Monetization
  • Credit must be given while releasing
    «Produced by. Fenixprod»

PREMIUM

$100Non-Exclusive
  • Perfect for artists who wants
    to release on streaming platforms and monetize their works
    Professional license that is the most popular among artists that are releasing their song on platforms like Spotify, iTunes or perform with the song in live (paid) performances. This license comes with high quality tracked out files which are essential for mixing songs professionally. We do not recommend this license if you’re looking to create a music video for YouTube.
  • TRACKED OUT WAV + MP3
    Beat Stems
  • Free Downloads & Streaming
    (Soundcloud, Audiomack etc.)
  • Paid Downloads & Streaming
    (Spotify, Apple Music etc.)
  • Use for 1 music video
    (500.000 Youtube / Vimeo Streams)
    *No monetization allowed
  • Limited to 500.000 Streams
  • Sell up to 50.000 Copies
    (Single, Mixtape, Album)
  • 3-years Term
  • Tracked Out Files
  • Unlimited Paid Performance
  • 5 Radio Stations Airplay / Broadcasting
  • Youtube Monetization
  • Credit must be given while releasing
    «Produced by. Fenixprod»

UNMILITED

$200Non-Exclusive
  • Perfect for professional artists,
    and full monetization usage
    Professional license with no limitations on streams, plays or sales. This license is generally purchased by artists that believe their song has the potential to surpass the streaming caps of other licenses. We strongly recommend this license to artists that want to create and monetise a music video for YouTube.
  • TRACKED OUT WAV + MP3
  • Free Downloads & Streaming
    (Soundcloud, Audiomack etc.)
  • Paid Downloads & Streaming
    (Spotify, Apple Music etc.)
  • Use for 1 music video
    (Unlimited Youtube / Vimeo Streams)
  • Unlimited Streams
  • Sell Unlimited Copies
    (Single, Mixtape, Album)
  • 4-years Term
  • Tracked Out Files
  • Unlimited Paid Performance
  • Unlimited Radio Stations Airplay
  • Youtube Monetization
  • Credit must be given while releasing
    «Produced by. Fenixprod»

What is the best license to buy?

It all depends on your budget, as well as the goal – how and why you want to use the beat. If you’re looking to create quality music or at least want to make music the right way, then make sure you get the Tracked Out files of a beat.

 

Most people that buy beats online go for the cheaper licenses. One that comes with fewer user rights and low-quality audio files. The user rights granted in those cheaper licenses might be sufficient for them. Yet, more importantly, are the quality of the audio files.

 

Therefore, the best option is to go for a license that comes with Tracked Out Files. In my case, that would be the Tracked Out or Full Monetization license.

Don’t know what Tracked Out Files are? I’ve written an article about tracked-out files and why you need them.

If I buy a beat with a Basic License – Can I upgrade my license later?

Yes, on my website you can do that! 

Or just contact me!

I haven’t seen many other producers offering this service so far. Meaning that it might not always be an option.

 

The reason why I do offer licenses to be upgraded is that I know what it’s like when you’re transitioning from free beats to buying beats for the first time. Money is always an issue, right…?

 

If you do not have the funds to go for a more expensive license, you can always upgrade later. You’ll only pay the difference between the standard prices of the licenses.

 

If you want to know if other producers offer this service too, you would have to reach out to them yourself. I can’t answer that question for them.

 

Once I buy a beat – Do I own any copyright?

Yes. Once you write your lyrics and record them over the beat, you will own the copyright to your lyrics only. And what you will create with the beat is a New Song, also known as a “Derivative Work.”

 

 

This means that you will own and control 50% of the so-called “Writer’s Share.”

The producer will own and control the other 50% of the Writer’s Share.

 

You have been licensed the right to use the beat and commercially exploit the song you make with it. Based on the terms and conditions of the license agreement you’ve purchased. The producer will remain the sole owner and holder of all rights, the title, and the interest in the beat.

 

More about this here -> The Ultimate Guite to Beat Leasing.

 

What happens to my song when someone else buys the exclusive rights for the beat I’ve licensed non-exclusively?

When it comes to buying beats online, you’re granted the rights the moment you purchased the beat. The license will go into effect immediately.

So, when someone else purchases the exclusive rights, it will not (immediately) affect you. Your non-exclusive license will still be valid.

 

But there are some things you need to know…

In the old days, you were granted user rights in the non-exclusive licenses without an expiration date. A lot of producers still operate this way.

Nowadays, some producers sell licenses that expire after 1-6 years. I’m not an example, therefore my licenses expire after 2-4 years depending on the license tier purchased.

What does this mean? This means that you will have to buy a new license after that term.

 

 

If someone purchased the exclusive rights during your term. That will only mean that you will no longer be able to renew your license after your term is due.

Important: Producers don’t always show this information in their licensing tables. Make sure you check that before you make the purchase. There’s usually a button below the tables which lets you view the actual license agreement. I have them too (scroll up to see the image of my licensing tables).

 

One more thing regarding non-exclusive licenses!

I’ve noticed recently that some producers include a new term in their license agreement. One that grants the producer the right to end your license agreement even before your term is due.

 

The producer includes an exit clause in their agreements stating they’re allowed to terminate the license agreement upon written notice to you.

 

In return, they will pay you double or triple what you’ve initially paid for the beat.

That does not have to be a problem for you, but whether it is, depends entirely on the success of your song.

Again, always check your agreements before buying beats online!

 

What if I buy a beat with a non-exclusive license and my song blows up?

It’s one of the most common questions after what is a “Free Beat” and what beat license to choose. That’s why I’ve written an entire article to answer this question.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, click the link below. 

Is it safe to buy beats online?

Most producers use a Beat Store Provider to sell their beats online. The most common ones are:

All these platforms have a good reputation for representing producers and their music. The majority of online producers are also signed up with either one of them. That’s why a lot of producers’ websites and music players look alike.

 

These music players have an ‘instant delivery’ feature included. After you’ve made the payment, you will be redirected to a download area where you can safely download the files. You’ll also receive an order confirmation by email.

 

If you’re not sure if a producer is affiliated with one of these platforms, try to locate their producer name’s on the different platforms. If they are on it, you can make the purchase directly from the platform itself, just to be safe.

 

If they’re not on these platforms, reach out to the producer with any concerns you have. I’m sure they’ll respond once you tell them that you’re interested in buying beats from them. Make sure you’ve checked the website for an FAQ section, though. If you’re asking questions for which the answers are right in front of you, they do not always respond.

 

Keep in mind – On platforms like BeatStars, Airbit, or Soundee, producers still create their own license agreements. They operate on their own terms!

 

Before you buy a beat, always check the full license agreements or licensing terms. Those flashy pricing tables don’t always show you everything!

 

Final tips for buying beats online:

  • Pay with PayPal or Stripe (they have buyers protection)
  • Check if the producer sells through a BeatStars, Airbit, or Soundee player
  • Read the License Agreements (!)
  • Reach out to the producer with your concerns

 

Did you come here looking to learn more before buying one of my beats?

If you have any questions or help, don’t hesitate and reach out to me.