Updated: Aug 24, 2019
So you’ve been a hermit for the last few years putting in 10,000 hours mastering your craft, well maybe not quite that much but you feel ready to try and sell your beats. Aside from making sure your mixes all sound proper, there are many things to consider when taking the leap. You can lease, sell them exclusively, or a combination of both. Below we break down the two different options and what each entails; you may just learn a thing or two so pay attention.
A lease is where you can sell the same beat to multiple artists on a non-exclusive basis. This means you as the producer keeps 100% of the copyright and publishing. You set limits for how many copies they can sell, how many streams allowed, music videos, paid or non-paid shows, and so on. This is all up to you on what you want to allow but assuming your lease price will be pretty low, you want to make sure it makes sense for you from a business stand point.
Typically, lease prices vary from $10-$75. Producers will set different prices for an MP3, WAV, and track-outs. A popular trend is an unlimited lease, which is typically around $100, where the artist basically can sell as much as they want but still don't own any of the publishing or copyright. I am not a big fan of that option, but whatever is attractive enough for an artist to buy is the name of the game. Now that we covered the basis of leasing, let’s talk about selling your beats on a exclusive level.
So this is where your negation skills will come in handy; based on the artists clout and track record you have to adjust accordingly. Do they have a big fan base, good amount streams, performing at paid shows on the regular? These are all things you want to consider when selling exclusively. You want to make sure you get a pretty penny for your work, but if it makes sense to sell it lower to someone who can put your name on the map don’t be afraid to lower it. I think a good price for selling exclusives starting out is around $150. Remember this is all just my suggestions but I feel it is a affordable price for an artist who is a little more serious and well established and wants to work with a producer that's on the come up; of course your beats gotta be banging.
Selling Exclusively does not mean you have to give up all of your publishing though. A lot artists will argue that they own it entirely if they buy exclusive. I say if they want to get the whole pie, raise that price up a good amount. I personally wouldn’t let it go for less than 3-4 times the base exclusive price. Typically you should keep at least 50% of your publishing and even some of the writing. Imagine the song blowing up on the radio, TV, or lands in a popular film and you aren’t seeing any of those back end royalties; that would suck! If you need some pre-made contracts, let us know and we can set you up.
There is money to be made both ways. I suggest to offer both. Remember if you’ve leased a beat a few times and then someone finally buys it exclusive, you have to remove the beat and the exclusive artist can file a cease and desist letter to all the lessees. This will be up to them how and what they will let the lease holders do with their work.
When you are ready you should create an account one one of the beat selling sites such as Beatstars or Airbit. They have really changed the game and made it easy for the upcoming producer to start selling. It's fairly affordable, and they even have all the options for how you want to set your parameters and limits.
Remember to treat it like a business. Get your logo popping, make a marketing plan, don't be afraid to do paid advertising, go to local music events, and network. Creating some beats and throwing them up online is not enough to get your beat selling business off the ground. I wish you luck, if you have any questions or need assistant please don’t hesitate to reach out. Chow