Choosing A License

Choosing A License

When you are planning to buy a beat, there is more to consider than just the download format of the production audio file. Obviously, the production audio is an important element to your project, but the real value of your purchase is carried by the license.

The license is essentially a permission slip that gives you legal rights to use the music for your own benefit, profit, and purposes. Without a legitimate license, you will be facing a number of problems legally and financially when people in the music business begin to pay attention to your work. Therefore, you should purchase a license that covers you for all the ways you intend to use the music that you create.

Pre-Approved Licensing

Pre-approved licenses are the licenses which are available as instant purchase options for beats in our catalog. Each beat in our catalog may have a different set of "pre-approved" licenses available for it which is determined by the licensing producer. The exact terms of each pre-approved license may also vary slightly from producer to producer as well, so you should pay attention to the specific terms on the license when making a decision.

Just because two producers are selling a pre-approved "Premium License", doesn't mean that the terms on those licenses are exactly the same. As a matter of fact, a producer could even decide to vary the specific terms on his "Premium License" between beats in his own catalog.

Note: If you want to purchase a license cooked to your exact specifications, and it's not available as a pre-approved license for the music you are interested in, you can make a custom offer to the producer using our "make an offer" system.


It is important for you to understand the terms included on your license and how they translate into your ability to exploit your works.

Mechanical Rights

The mechanical rights portion of your license sets the stage for how you are permitted to create and distribute derivative works (your own recordings) using the beat. It outlines your obligations for paying royalties and giving credits.

Recordings

The number of master recordings you are able to distribute under the license. A master recording is essentially a completed song which you have released. The standard number of recordings for a license is 1, however, it may include more in order to give you the opportunity to create a remix or other version for distribution without needing to purchase another license.

Free Copies

The "free copies" limit allows you to distribute a certain amount of units of your song without the obligation to pay royalties on those units. It's important to note that this "free copies" distribution limit also applies to free downloads, or copies given away for promotion, since those copies are still royalty bearing regardless of whether you collected money for them or not.

If the license permits multiple recordings as described above, then this "free copies" limit applies to the whole of the recordings and not for each individual recording. In other words, let's say you are permitted 3 recordings and a "free copies" limit of 5000. If you distributed 5000 copies of your first recording, then your "free copies" limit will have been exhausted for the remaining 2 recordings, and any distribution of the remaining 2 recordings will bear full royalties.

Free Term

The "free term" defines the amount of time you will have after the release of your permitted recordings to take advantage of your "free copies" limit permitted by the license. Any copies distributed after the expiration of your "free term" will bear full royalties.

If the license permits multiple recordings, then each recording permitted under the license will have it's own individual "free term" which begins after the recording is released.

Grace Period

The "grace period" is the maximum amount of time that you will have to release your first recording under this license before the "free term" is commenced. This means that if you have a "grace period" of 6 months, and a "free term" of 2 years, and it takes you 2 years to release your first recording, you will effectively only have 6 months left to distribute any "free copies" included under your license.

Royalty Rate

The "royalty rate" defines the amount of money (per unit) that will be due to the beat author(s) after any "free copies" limit has been exhausted under the license. This rate is expressed as a percentage of the current statutory rate, which is a rate determined by the United States Copyright Office. Currently, the rate is set at 9.1 cents per unit.

Therefore, if the royalty rate on the license is set at 100%, then you will owe the author the full 9.1 cents per copy once royalties become due. Similarly, if the royalty rate is set to 50%, then you will only owe 4.55 cents per copy once royalties become due.

Credits

The type of credits that you are required to give to the author are included on the license. Written credits should be included on the packaging, cover, or media itself. Audible credits should be included in the track itself. The other option that you might see is "tags on beat", which means that the producer has left one or more audible voice tags on the delivered production audio file.

Exclusivity

Buying an exclusive license for a beat does not mean that you are receiving any ownership rights of the beat. It simply means that the producer is agreeing to not license the music to any other party during the term of the "exclusive" agreement. This gives you the benefit of being able to release your recording on the beat before any other artist (unless the other artist received a license to use the beat before your exclusive license was secured).

An exclusive license also does not mean that the music can never be licensed to another party again. It only means that the music can not be licensed to another party during the term of the "exclusive" agreement.