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Selling Beats & Leasing Beats for Rappers, Hip Hop Producers and Artists

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Arguably, there is nothing more important to a producer than the producer’s reputation.  Specifically, producers are valued by, among other things, their discography, the status of the artists they’ve produced, the number of Billboard hits they’ve produced, the SoundScan of albums containing masters (or “beats”) produced by the producer, and their popularity (or “buzz”) within the music industry.  With that said, new producers are eager to create a “buzz” for themselves within the industry, with hopes that their tracks will fall into the hands of an “industry exec” at a major record label, or an established artist looking to work with some “fresh” talent.  Thus, a new producer may believe that selling (or what we will affectionately call “slangin”) beats to various up-and-coming artists will accomplish this task by (1) providing the producer the best chance of getting his or her music heard as the artists seek record or production deals, and (2) allowing the producer to make some money along the way until a budgeted album project comes along.  But let the producer beware!  There are some important things that a producer must consider when slangin’ beats, and we hope to touch on some of those issues in this segment.

 

While there are numerous issues to consider when slangin’ beats to new artist, here we will concentrate on four general topics: (1) the producer-artist relationship; (2) the question of whether to lease or sell beats; (3) what a written agreement or contract to sell or lease a beat should address; and (4) other considerations.  In addition, we will talk briefly about the pros and cons of slangin’ beats via the Internet.

 

The Relationship: “Put It In Writing”

 

As a “no-name” or, to be politically correct, an up-and-coming producer, you will likely encounter a situation where an artist wants to “borrow” or “buy” a particular beat (or beats) from you, rather than enter into a full-blown production contract or agreement.  The artist may be a new or an up-and-coming talent, looking for beats to help them break into the music industry, or they may be an established artist looking for a “new” sound at a premium (or “reduced”) price. 

 

Regardless of the status of the recording artist purchasing or “borrowing” (“leasing”) a beat from you, the first thing to remember is always put the agreement in writing.  This should be done before the artist even leaves the recording studio with a copy of the beat or music.

 

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