You might be looking at all these different options and contracts from all different producers wondering "What the hell is all this shit?? Why are these so complicated?! 😩"
Put simply, these are real LEGAL DOCUMENTS that will hold up in a court of law. They all contain the type of convoluted jargon that only lawyers can fully understand.
Click the file below for an example PDF of my Basic "Charlie's Choice" Lease document. As you can see, it's... a lot. All of it is necessary though to protect all interested parties in all aspects of the transaction.
If you value your music and long term career, you should take every contract you purchase from producers very seriously.
With that said... if you have any legal questions concerning the documents you purchase, it is highly recommended that you consult with an entertainment lawyer.
Remember, one thing is definitely true for every single contract you will buy - You are essentially buying the right to use the beat, not the beat itself.
Beat Leases are always going to be on a Non-Exclusive Basis; meaning that you can use the beat to record your song and exploit it for your profit by releasing it commercially... but the producer can still resell the beat to other artists.
It is only when an Artist decides to buy the Exclusive Rights to the beat, that the producer will no longer resell it in lease form.
Non-Exclusive leasing is generally meant for Artists who are just starting out, and these are usually pretty budget friendly.
I've seen prices as low as $5 for a basic Limited MP3 lease, all the way to $300 for the full package (MP3, WAV and Tracked-Out Stems with Unlimited Rights). Pricing is entirely up to the producer.
The type of lease you purchase depends on where you are in your career and what your professional goals are as a Recording Artist.
If you are just starting out and have a small or no fanbase yet, a basic license is your best bet. You can always upgrade later if needed or, if your song goes viral... it will be necessary to void the lease and renegotiate terms on an Exclusive basis with the producer.
*Fact - The beat for "Old Town Road" was leased by Lil Nas X for $30 from a Producer named Young Kio, who sampled the banjo from a Nine Inch Nails song. Once the song went viral, they reconnected and renegotiated the terms so both of them would win.
Once you get yourself relatively established and have a few hundred loyal fans who stream and buy your music consistently, an Unlimited License would suit better.
What are Tracked-Out Stems and why do you need them?
Stem files are each individual instrument of the beat, exported from the recording session one by one, and generally compressed in a ZIP file (or archive).
Stems are necessary for placing your vocal tracks into the right "pocket" within the mix. They are also good to have if you want to rearrange the beat to suit your vocal/song vision as a whole which most contracts that include stems will allow, to an extent.
It's still possible to get a good vocal mix without the stems, as long as you have a good mixing engineer. Still... if you are serious about your music career, have a loyal fanbase ready to listen and you want your song to stand out and compete with major label Artists, you should definitely invest the extra dollars into the Stem lease option. Or even go as far as negotiating Exclusive Rights.
Beat Leasing is not going anywhere. We are in the middle of a MASSIVE shift of ownership from the major labels over to the independent creator community.
It is now industry standard even for major Artists to find and purchase beats from independent producers on the internet. It's easy as hell, and makes accessible the huge market of talent that exists all around us.
No need to wait months and months just to find out your submission to a major label or artist manager got thrown out and will no longer be used.
Also, there are a lot of producers (like myself) who offer contracts that help the Artist maintain 100% of the publishing ownership in their new song.
Well, I hope this cleared things up for you a little bit.
This industry is constantly changing and like I mentioned, we are in the middle of a shift which will inevitably bring about even more changes to the legal aspects of the business.
Keep yourself up to date with valuable industry knowledge and you'll do just fine.
Now go listen to some beats and get your lease! -----> BEAT PLAYER
Stay Chill 💽,
- Charlie Hayz