Within the past 5 years or so, the term beat lease has been the phrase that pays when it comes to purchasing a non-exclusive license to a beat online. I often get emails from artists asking me exactly what a beat lease is. I understand that the legal lingo may become a little confusing, so I’d like to clarify a few things about a non-exclusive beat license (lease). The following are some terms you may come across when reading through beat leasing terms online:
A set number of Master Recordings: A Master Recording is defined as the audio file created after the artist records his or her vocals to the beat. Most leasing terms allows for the profitable distribution of one Master Recording. Although the artist may record as many takes of the song as he or she wishes, they may only distribute ONE of these recordings for profitable use.
A set number of profitable distributions of the Master Recording: One factor outlined in almost all beat-leasing terms is a limit on the amount of profitable distributions of the Master Recording allowed by the artist. For the sake of an example, let us say that the producer’s contract allows for 2500 profitable distributions (that is the amount that we allow at our site)of the Master Recording. This simply means that the artist may record their vocals onto the beat, place the song on 2500 CDs, DVDs, cassettes, or any other form of recording media, and sell those for profit. If the artist were to sell any more than 2500 copies of the song, they would be breaking the contract. If the artist would like to further distribute the beat for more than 2500 copies, he/she must purchase an extended beat lease.
A set length of time for profitable distributions: Another term you may run into with the beat lease is the overall time span of your allowed profitable distributions. Some common lengths of time are 1-3 years, depending on the producer. If the terms allow for one year, the artist can distribute his/her 2500 profitable copies over the course of one year. After this time, the contract runs out and the artist loses his/her right to distribute the song for profit, even if they have not reached their 2500 copy limit.
The producer retains ownership rights of the beat: Leasing a beat is almost like borrowing or renting the beat from the producer for a period of time. The artist has the right to record over, distribute, and make some money off of the producer’s work, but the producer retains ownership of the beat. If you lease a beat, the producer keeps his/her right to continue leasing the beat to other artists (hence why leasing grants “non-exclusive rights”).
The artist must give the producer credit for his/her work. Most beat lease terms include that the artist must give the producer some form of credit for his/her work in creating the beat. This usually includes either verbal or written credit. Verbal credit would be a “shout-out” in the song where the artist verbally states who the track was produced by. Written credit is usually included in the CD booklet or on a website where the song is located.
These are the main terms of agreement you will come across when leasing a beat online. Every contract is different, and you will more than likely come across different terms when reading through beat lease contracts online, but these are the ones that you are sure to come across most frequently.
That’s all for now…I hope you understand the beat lease a little better now!