You are in the embryonic stage of your current mixtape or album and (as most independent artists) you embark on the hunt for online producers to shop for beats. After scrolling thru swarms of Facebook spam/posts and Soundclick beatmakers you finally find the track that captivates you. You’ve determined that you need the beat but notice that there are two options available for purchasing — Leasing and Exclusives.
This common scenario is the hallmark of the independent music circuit’s economy between producers/artists. Most indie singers and rappers don’t fully understand difference between the stipulations of the agreements — rather they see the difference in pricing and consequently the decision seems quite simple to make shortly thereafter.
Legally — leasing is the process by which a customer can obtain the use of certain fixed assets (beats) for which it must pay a series of contractual, periodic, tax deductible payments. Oddly enough in the beatmaking world — producers merely NAME what they are doing as leasing because they still own the rights to the production. HOWEVER – If you were truly leasing a beat, you’d be paying month to month for having it on your mixtape/album/bandcamp.
Basically you’ve paid $20 just to USE the beat…as have thousands upon thousands of other indie artists…just like you. Ironically…you don’t lease a car or an apartment at the same time someone else does….one person can only lease at a time. What the producers are truly doing is LICENSING the beat to you for usage on your project…but one producer must’ve coined it “leasing” and the retardation has continued ever since…
Leasing is the bread and butter for most online producers as it generates the most income due to the fact that the same beat can be sold multiple times at a discounted rate.
Furthermore – upcoming artists who are willing to pay about $40 extra and want the tracked out audio stem files of the production can even find producers who’ve provided so called “Premium Leasing”. This is unfortunate to the customer who has subsequently bought the EXCLUSIVE rights to the same beat. Now the only true difference between him and the Premium Lease customer is the fact that he’s got an email contract stating “sole owner” (bullcrap ::cough cough::)
FACT! A professional recording artist (Indie/Major) will not be interested in transacting agreements to production that several other artists have already recorded to! With the advent of artists such as Drake, J. Cole…it’s becoming more and more common for artists to use exclusive production EVEN for mixtapes.
Exclusive purchasing is SUPPOSED to mean that you are the sole owner of the beat. Unfortunately if you’ve bought an exclusive beat from a Soundclick producer, you’ve most likely paid $300 for a beat thousands of other artists bought for $20. In the lease beats/Soundclick community — all it means is that the online beatmaker can no longer sell the beat (awwww man!)
With the influx of online producers…impatience and desperation has spawned a wide variety of exclusive pricing for beats. You may find a beat for $10 for exclusive rights — providing tracked out files, contracts and all! — This would be ideal for an upcoming artist on a budget. You now have the luxury of not only paying less…but OWNING the beat without the looming understanding that thousands of other artists just like you bought and are making songs to the same beat.
Truth be told — price reflects quality in most situations…and even if the beat is extravagant in sound………$10 most likely represents the quality of professionalism of the producer. You may buy his $10 exclusive beat — but because his beats are like fast food to him and everything is on auto pilot, customer service nose dives…PRAY that nothing goes wrong with the instant download because it make take days for you to finally get your order in tact.
The perfect balance is communicating with a producer with your unique preference. Find the medium of pricing and rights with the producer so that you can own a beat without breaking the bank. That doesn’t mean look for $20 exclusive beats for the rest of your life. If a producer is selling his beat for $1,000 and it’s within your means or he can set up payment plans…do what you need to do to put out the best project you can! If need be, get custom production that suits you specifically.
Shameless promo — I am a producer who creates original tracks and only provide exclusive ownerships for $150. Some think that’s just right…others think it’s expensive. But I stick to my niche. I advise you to find a producer or artist that caters to your niche without hoodwinking you professionally.
To me…leasing a beat is like dating a married woman that has a boy toy on the side plus a baby daddy plus a sugar daddy and a pimp…
To say I’d be disappointed in myself would be an understatement. My extending production catalog is the link below…