As producers we often find ourselves out growing the day one DAWs we use to create music. This happens for many reasons either our direction and approach has changed. Or we simply want a new sound that reflects where we are creatively in our lives. While some may simply want change creatively. Replacing everything from their DAWs to studio equipment that have been in use for years inside their studio setups.When it comes to audio production change can either make or break your workflow. Sometimes we may find a better solution to our previous set ups that increase our productivity and overall experience creating music.
In my expireence the best times to expirement using a different digital audio workstation would be when having beat block. Yes like writers block producer also go through beat block from time to time and it is rough and can last for a while depending on the producer. Exploring other options can somethimes help getting out of the creative block. Now this isn't the only way to deal with producers block just a means of evaluating the current state your workflow and creative process. As every DAW has its own approach to getting the job done. Sometimes different layouts can present new creative possibilities that weren't noticeble or present in our previous DAWs.
When I started making beats the first program that I started out with was Sonar at the time it was a solid program and it still is.But creatively it wasn't a good fit for me. I later choose to use FL studio which is another great DAW in its own right respectively. However it wasn't quite enough for me creativly at the time. I needed something the that had some what of an unorthodox feel and approach. I moved on to another digital audio work station that did. One day a friend of mine was messing around in Propellerheads Reason and showed me some of its features capabilities for beat making. At that time it had its limitations but creatively it was good fit for me.Because of its limitations I often found my self going back and forth between Reason and FL studio at the. I even explored the possibilites with a few other DAWs like Reaper,Studio one and Abelton live. All of which are great programs each with their own unique way of creating music But in the end I always up using Reason as my go to DAW.
Artists who are serious about their craft know that other then believing in yourself you have to invest. Whether its the time you spend recording and writing songs. Its an investment nonetheless just as the energy you put into anything of importance to you. The same can be said when buying beats online. Since buying beats is an important part of your craft you'll want to make sure that you're getting the best value for your hard earned money. So for today's post I’ll be going over music licensing for beginners.
1-What is a “lease”- Generally any beat that you pay a producer or beat maker to use his or her beats non exclusively is considered a lease. A commonly used term that you'll see online when your looking to buy beats. Some producers will even use different names for their licensing services. The different names that are used will determine your limitations with their beats. Other factors that will determine the limitation of your license. Two factors that will have an impact on your licensing limitations will be the price and the producer. While most standard leases are priced anywhere from $25-$30 dollars its not uncommon to see higher priced leases that are $100-$200 dollars offering less limitations.
2-Royalty free- There are usually no royalties when leasing beats online. Depending on what the intentions of the licensee purchasing the beat are. In most cases beats being bought by artist online for use on their mix tapes or E P’s won't be required to pay royalties as long as long as they stay within the guidelines of the producer/artist agreement. Some producers will allow commercial use of their beats that may include radio and TV use by artist. These are limitations you as an artist should look for in your producer artist agreements.
3-Contracts- When you buy you beats whether in person or online its always good to have an agreement as to what your rights and limitations are once you've purchased your beats. Most producers who are serious about their craft will include some sort of an agreement letting you know what your limitations are with their beats. To avoid any misunderstandings and legal headaches its always a good idea to ask the producer questions that you may have if you don't see a license that fits your needs.
4-Exclusive Rights- This license is the most expensive because the producer is giving up the right to resell the beat to other artist and allowing you to use it exclusively on your projects. Depending on the producer you may be required to pay royalties. Now this is common practice amongst artist and producers in the music business. A percentage of royalties generated from the song that the producer's beat helped you create gets their share of those royalties. The price can be anywhere from$300-$1000 dollars and up. This will also depend on the producer's experience. Some producers will even allow artist to make them offers to help accommodate artist who are on a budget.Jun 032017
A few days ago an artist sent me a link to songs that he’d posted on his You Tube channel. In hopes of collaborating on a few songs with me. Now his songs were good and he has some real potential. However there were a few things setting him back. One of them being the quality of the recordings. His vocals sounded like they were competing with the volume level of the instrumentals he had chosen. While his songs were original the beat selections weren't. Most of the instrumentals he had chosen for his songs were already commercially released. This tends to be an issue amongst artist's who may just be starting out.
Even if the song you've recorded over the instrumental to sounds good. It will always be held to the standard of the original song. As most listeners will already have developed an attachment to the original. And the element of surprise will be lost. As listeners will already know what to expect. As your delivery and cadence may even resemble the original. The possibility of listeners returning to hear your music will decline. Using original instrumentals can help contribute to more than just better sounding recordings. It will also help with establishing a brand as an artist. Having all original material goes hand in hand when establishing an identity as an artist. Listeners want to be able to feel like they've discovered something new.
Finding an original beat in the same key as the commercially released instrumental you intended to use.Would be an alternative that will be beneficial for you as an artist. Choosing original beats is what helps with establishing a sound for your brand. One of the best places to start your search would be You Tube. Simply by typing in the artist's name followed by the words “type beat”. Will bring you to various if not similar styles of beats you're looking for. You'll even find producers who create that sound you’re looking for very well. A few great places you can also search are sites like Sondclick, Beatstars, Myflash and Soundgine. Now if you you're looking to grab a few free beats to test the waters. These sites are definitely a great places to start your search. Each of these sites have a top producer chart and that will give you a good idea on who's bringing their “A” game. A lot of producers at these site's are serious about their craft and will have links to their own beat selling websites as well. Where you'll be able to join their mailing lists and receive updates when new beats are posted. As well as beat deals and special offers.
Having access to an original beat means that you'll be able to have more control over the quality of your song. And for any reason needing changes to the instrumental. For example lets say you needed the kick and snare to be silent during certain parts of your verse. Having direct contact with the producer whom you've leased the beat from. Will come in handy in the future especially if you ever decide to purchase exclusive rights to the beat. This will also be in your benefit during the mixing and mastering stages. As Most producers online will offer mixing and mastering services to artist who purchase their beats. Using original beats for your songs can go a long way.Jun 022017
The process that goes into putting together a project can be crucial. As it can have an impact on the success of your career as an artist. Having a decent budget with solid production is the foundation of this process. Choosing the right beats that have chemistry with your sound. Is what makes memorable mix-tapes and albums. Knowing what direction you'll be taking and the message your project will convey to your audience is important. Creating a statement with your music that not only speaks for you as an artist, but for you as a brand. It all comes down to the beats you choose for your project.
The next time you come across a producers website and hear a few beats that you like. Try writing to them first before purchase anything. And if your inspired to write then use that as an indication to purchase the beat. You don't want to buy a beat that sounds great only for it to end up sitting on your hard drive for months. All because you failed to realize that the chemistry just wasn't there from the beginning. Leaving you uninspired to write to a beat that you thought would be a good fit. This can become costly over time if this is happening often. Think of it like shopping for clothes. When you see a shirt that you realy liked and tried it on. Only to find that you didn't like the way it looked on you. This same analogy can be applied to buying beats. You'll need to try before you buy if the option of "Demo Downloads" available to you.
Choosing beats that complement your sound and style are usually what will inspire you to write. There are a few things to take into consideration. When you're picking beats for your project. The tempo of the beat will dictate your approach. For example rappers that tend to have a fast pace flow will normally go for beats that have a slower tempo around 65-75 BPM. This speed allows room within each bar to fit more syllables. As the tempo increases the speed of a rappers flow will start to decrease. As for rappers who prefer Mid speed tempo's 85-95 where the pace of the beat is not too fast or too slow. And for up beat, party and club tracks will be at 120-140 BPM.
Using a websites search engine can help you narrow down your beat search tremendously. While this can be a time saver there are instances where some producers won't include tempo information. And may require you to have some knowledge of beat mapping to find a songs tempo. This can be done using your DAW. If your are able to download a demo of the beat your interested in.Jun 022017
Exclusive rights is where a producer grants an artist or company full usage rights and in some cases full ownership to a beat for a certain amount money. This process usually involves a written agreement of terms that both parties are set to follow. Depending on the conditions of the agreement if the artist or company is purchasing usage rights or ownership to a beat the producer will often request in the contract that they receive a percentage of royalties. This is referred to as a royalty retention agreement. The producer who made the beat will want their fair share of publishing in the event the song they helped produced becomes a big success. The price for exclusive rights can range anywhere from $250-$3000 and up depending on the producer. If the beat your buying has a royalty retention clause in the contract. Then you might be able to negotiate a lower price depending on the producer. Exclusive rights with full ownership will be more money because your buying the producer out of their rights to the beat.
Purchasing exclusive rights are expensive because the producer is giving you the rights to use a beat exclusively. Once the beat is sold the producer will no longer hold the right to sell or re-lease the beat to anyone else. If they had already leased the beat to other artist prior to you purchasing it this won't matter because leases have limitations and an expiration. Your rights with the beat will have no limitations and allow you the opportunity to land song placements in TV and film. You'll have the freedom to do whatever you like with the beat except resell the rights. Most producers will state this in their agreements with you. Aside from owning the beat you'll receive track outs also known as stem files to beat session. Stem files are the kick, snare, 808's, stings, piano etc of the beat. This is extremely important to have as it will allow you to have more control over the quality of your recordings. With the stem files you'll be able to bring them to a mix engineer so that your songs can be professionally mixed. No matter the price you're paying for exclusive rights to a beat you should receive the stem files.
Whether your exclusive rights agreement will have a royalty retention clause will depend on the producer and their overall experience. A producer who is just starting out might not charge as much for exclusive rights nor include an agreement along with their stem files. Purchasing exclusive rights without a written agreement is something you'll want to avoid doing. Especially if you plan on making money with the beat you're using in your song. If you want to prove you have full rights to using the beat. This will affect any future song placement opportunity's if you don't have a written agreement that proves you have rights to use the beat. Both producers and artist profit off of royalties from the songs they've created. So a royalty retention clause is nothing to be afraid of or avoid when purchasing exclusive rights.