Alright guys, I promised to write about this for you. I already did a video to this earlier in the week, but I will take it upon myself to make a very informative post about why you should have music licenses in your music production. If you are a recording artist, you should read this too and ensure your producer and productions are properly licensed too. Artists also need to learn what type of licenses they should go for. So without further adieu, let's get started.
Why it is Important to Have a Music License?
The answer is very simple, it is to protect your hard work and the permissions that come with it. You should always strive to sell your beats with the means of what it is for to your customer. You should never send them beats without properly having the proper knowledge impressed upon them by you. I am sure you would hate to see your beat that you spent 3 hours making end up on national television without your name on the credits or no where to be found or mentioned. I learned this the hard way when I was in college. I would send beats to my artists and usually I would worry about the credits later. That was just me being a nice guy. But as time progressed, I realized I wasn't getting properly credited for my work and people/fans of my artists were being told semi-true information. It was considered semi-true because either they were asking "Who produced this record?" or "Who mixed and mastered this record?". Sometimes I would even see albums go for sale on bandcamp by my artists with my beats on the project and to this day I don't even know if they sold. It is very complicated if you don't have music licenses, so as you can see from this experience, they are much needed.
I will introduce the 3 licenses I use when I have artists handle my beats.
1) The Exclusive License
The exclusive license is the grandfather of all music licenses. It is a very cool license because you have the opportunity to cash out BIG in one sitting with just one beat. The exclusive license has been around since the beatmaking game (back in the 90s). The license allows the artist to have full control of the beat with only a few rules such as a small percentage in royalties and proper album credits. The exclusive license is a nice trade off because usually artists that buy exclusive licenses will normally give you a lot of money depending on your rate (i.e. if you sell your beat at 600 dollars (exclusive), you will get 600 dollars in return for the license). It builds credit to your music production and lands you a nice official placement too. Usually, you should try to save exclusive licenses for artists that are established or semi-established.
2) The Non-Exclusive License
Alright, this one is pretty cool and I will tell you why. See when we started to get into the file sharing era, music became more than just going to Tower Records and buying a CD. We were now able to buy music online and even rip it from the internet. Now this license isn't to support music piracy, it is actually a way for you to make money while not even dealing with that factor. Yes there might be times where someone might use your beat without permission or illegally, but this license will help you out a lot (and the last one will conclude what I am saying too).
With the Non-Exclusive license, you are able to sell the same beat OVER and OVER again to multiple artists at a decent/affordable rate. It is pretty cool. The exclusive license only lets you sell the beat once and never again. If you have a beat for 30 dollars as a non exclusive and you sell it 10 times in one week, you just made 300 dollars off that one beat! (Then you gotta factor in taxes but I will show you how to do that in the future).The license also allows you to provide limits on the beat, meaning allowing a certain number of copies to be sold, maybe a one time for profit use with a film, and even how much money an artist can earn performing it before paying you. Usually a Non-Exclusive license will lead to the artist to buy the beat exclusively. This license does not allow you to have a formal placement though.
3) Free Beat License
This one I found out not too long ago. Due to the fact that everyone is now downloading music for free and ripping it from youtube, the behavior has trickled down to a little over 50% of music artists nowadays. Most music artists tend to step into the mindset of not attempting to buy beats or even learn how to make their own to avoid paying for beats all on their own. This does not mean you have to as well. This license is pretty cool.
The Free Beat License MUST BE USED INTERNALLY within your intranet as a music producer. If you have committed artists, community members or subscriptions they are only allowed to use this license. This license allows you to give your beats away for free to the internal artists BUT with very little freedom. Like for example, they can't drop the song using your beat without putting your twitter name in the credits or if they do record to it and put it on an album/compilation, it must be a snippet. Something along the lines of what I just described to you. This license will allow more activity with your beats because naturally people are not going to buy right off the bat, they need to build a relationship with the vendor first
So I hope I was able to help you out with this! If you don't get certain things, do reread again or hit me up and I can try my best to explain it. If you are a music producer, I hope you are making your licenses now. Good luck to you all!
A curated blog playlist of the best songs from the musicians that create art