Should you lease beats online?
Ok, I see a ton of artists that have this question. It’s actually a pretty simple answer. Hell yea you should. Lil Nas blew up off of a $30 beat lease. Crazy huh?
I’m going to tell you the correct way to lease tracks (and how not to do it).
To begin with… BRUH… stealing a beat off of Youtube is not a lease. That’s stealing, and you have no legal rights to it. At all. In fact, that’s an easy way to get sued. You also shouldn’t do the “free download” option on Beatstars. Why? Most of those beats are for non-profit use (duh, that’s the only reason why they are free). Also, those free beats are often lower quality, or have the producer’s tag all over them, multiple times in the record. Recording over tons of producer tags is ghetto. Don't be ghetto lol.
Here’s the proper way to lease a beat. Go to the producers website, select the beat, and pay for it. Easy. Hold up, take a step back for a second. Read the license that comes with the leasing option you are picking.
Here’s an example of what it the license will look like:
Let’s really dig into the numbers.
I can sell up to 2,500 physical copies. Even if I only sell them for $1.00 a piece, you would make 100x the amount you paid for the beat. Hmmm…
I can also get paid performances from this beat? Ok cool, so promoters can book me. Nice.
I can also shoot a music video for this? And there isn’t a limit on how many views I can get before I’d have to potentially upgrade the beat license? Cool.
I can get up to 250,000 streams on the song? Whoa. That’s about $1,000 in royalties on Spotify. (Much higher on Tidal). Nice!
Oh crap, but I can only get it played on one radio station?!? Who cares? Do you know how hard it is to get your song on one radio station? It’s hard! And trust me, if you’ve sold 2,500 physical copies, are getting paid performances, can shoot a music video and have made $1,000 in streaming income from a $24.99 purchase, you are doing pretty darn well. And in 2020, you absolutely do NOT need the radio to blow up. Don’t get it twisted, radio DJ’s are still vital to an up & coming artist’s success. But they are no longer the ONLY way to get a buzz.
Here are some pros of leasing a beat:
1. It is less expensive than purchasing a beat exclusively. Plus it is pointless to buy a beat exclusively unless it is getting hundreds of thousands of views/streams. Imagine paying $1,500 to exclusively buy a beat, just to get 100 views on Youtube. Wait until the song really starts blowing up and then purchase an exclusive.
2. Buying a lease protects you legally and gives you a ton of flexibility.
3. You have a ton of buying options. You can buy the MP3, Wav, track outs or exclusives. Leasing is perfect for artists on a budget.
4.With most leases, you can get paid shows, radio play and hundreds of thousands of streams.
5. If the song doesn’t blow up the way you imagined, you’ve only spent $15-100 on it, instead of thousands.
6. The producers are usually really easy to work with and contact should you ever need to upgrade your license.
So, Kayo you’ve given me a ton of pros. What are the cons to leasing a beat?
Well there are only a few.
1. Someone else could potentially make a song to the beat you purchased. (I’ve literally only had this happen to me one time that I know of. To decrease the likelihood of this happening, you can use lesser known producers).
2. If the song surpasses the license limits, you will have to upgrade the license.
3. Someone else can buy the song exclusively. While this does not make your license unusable, it can make things more difficult for future long-term usage.
If you are going to lease a beat, you just need to keep this one thing in mind: YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE BEST SONG POSSIBLE. Look at it this way: there could potentially be a few other artists that use the same track you picked. Be sure that their version sucks compared to yours. And then push that song as if your life depends on it.
In closing, you absolutely should look at leasing beats for your new project.