hip hop beat

Should you buy or lease that hip hop beat?

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So you found a hip hop beat on SoundCloud or YouTube and wrote a killer hook to it and you’re certain you have a hit on your hands. The next step is getting in contact with the music producer and obtaining the rights to the beat.

At this point, due to the normal enthusiasm you feel after you’ve created something great, it can seem like an excellent idea to buy the exclusive rights to the beat — but there are a few things you should think about before diving in and making that purchase.

What is your goal for the song?

This might seem obvious, but I’ve run into multiple artists in the music industry who don’t have a clear goal or realistic expectations when it comes to a potential song. Many simply answer that they think the song is going to “blow up” and “get them on” without a plan to get to that point.

Now, if you’re savvy enough and have label contacts you can shop the song to, buying the exclusive rights might be a good idea and you can probably stop reading this and get to work. However, if you are like the majority of artists who are just looking to get noticed, you’re going to need a better plan than posting to ReverbNation and SoundCloud and hoping for the best.

What is your budget?

It may be difficult to figure out how to make money with music, so you need a plan if you want your song to enjoy any modicum of success — and that plan will most likely involve spending money. So, after setting your goals, you’ll need to develop a budget for the track. This should include considerations such as the beat (obviously), the recording session, the mixing and mastering of the track, any artwork needed, any video that will be shot, and any marketing and promotions that will be run for the song. Once you have your budget set, you can move on to the next step.

How much of your budget should you spend on the beat?

Now that you know how much you can spend, you have to start divvying it up. Let’s say you have $1,000 to spend on the song and the exclusive rights to a beat cost $750. Can you confidently spread the rest of your budget across recording, artwork, marketing, etc.? Maybe. Is it a good idea? Absolutely not.

In order to garner the attention and buzz you’re hoping for, you should probably allocate at least half of your budget to marketing and promotion, and you obviously don’t want to skimp on recording, mixing, audio mastering, or artwork. So that leaves you with about 30 percent of your budget or less. So unless you can increase your budget, you’ll have to be extremely smart with your money, which means purchasing exclusive rights to a beat is probably not the best use of your money. What any independent artist should do instead is look into leasing beats.

Why lease a beat instead of buying it?

First off, if you didn’t know, yes, there is such a thing as leasing a beat, and it’s a prevalent practice in the independent hip hop scene as it benefits both the rappers and producers involved. A typical beat lease price can be anywhere from $15 to $35 in most cases, so you’ll immediately save money that can be better used elsewhere. Most lease agreements allow you to sell up to 2,000 copies before renewal, meaning you can still sell the track to recoup your money while taking a smaller financial risk up front. Also, if the song does blow up, you always have the option to buy the exclusive license to the beat at any time. So, by leasing instead of purchasing, you put yourself in a low-risk/high-reward situation, a good place to be when figuring out how to grow as an independent artist.

What can you get from leasing versus buying a beat?

When it comes to acquiring hip hop beats for your music projects, the key distinction lies in the rights associated with buying and leasing options. When you purchase a beat, you gain exclusive rights, affording you complete ownership and creative control over the composition. In contrast, leasing a beat provides a more budget-friendly alternative, granting you rights for a specific number of copies or streams while the producer retains ownership. This choice becomes particularly relevant for any smaller artist who may make the strategic decision to lease beats, as it offers an economical way to access professional beats while preserving financial flexibility for other critical aspects of music production.

Will producers be pushing me to buy the exclusive rights?

They shouldn’t. From an independent producer’s standpoint, beat leasing is almost always in their best interest. While selling a beat for a couple hundred dollars is a nice payday up front, exclusive rights means they can no longer profit from that beat, for the most part. There’s the off chance they’ll gain royalties from the track if it blows up, but their earning potential for that beat is likely realized if they opt to sell it exclusively. If you run into a producer who is pressuring you to buy, you might want to find someone else.

Is leasing a beat the way to go?

In most cases, yes. Leasing beats online is easier on your wallet and it is more beneficial to the producer. There are certain scenarios where purchasing exclusive rights would make sense, but those are very rare and chances are if you’re an independent rapper, leasing rights to a hip hop beat is the better avenue for you.

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About The BeatLandLorde

The BeatLandLorde is an independent producer who works at a desk by day and makes scorching hot beats by night.

5 thoughts on “Should you buy or lease that hip hop beat?

  1. As an artist, I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Each producer has different terms in their contracts about what you can do with a leased beat, it’s incorrect to say you can always buy the exclusive rights later because you can’t do that if someone else buys the exclusive rights, and your argument is flawed/biased because you’ve only presented one side of the argument. I don’t understand why you say if you have label contacts and are savvy it might be a good idea to get exclusive rights? Does label contacts help with exclusive rights?

  2. As a producer I’ve run into a lot of artist that don’t know the difference in Exclusive and Non Exclusive. Just like the first comment, artist use the term “bought” and think they own the exclusive rights to a track and don’t have the proper paperwork to confirm such agreements. I find myself at times having to educate those particular artists on the differences. And also as a producer if I can get a number of people purchasing a non exclusive beat it makes for a larger payday in the end when working with non class A artists.

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