Beats are a type of recording that’s typically an instrumental and provides the backing track or structure to your song. Although beats can provide the perfect accompaniment to your verses and chorus it’s important that you have the right licensing permissions in order to distribute your release digitally.
To get everything cleared for release you will need to obtain a beat license that covers the below:
- The license must be made out to you, the licensee.
- The license contains the name of the beat.
- Confirmation that the beat does not contain any third-party samples or other third-party material, or that if it does, that they have been cleared by the licensor (the beat producer).
- Confirmation that the beat producer (licensor) controls all rights in the beat (that includes both the copyright in the composition and the sound recording).
- The license needs to be valid for more than a year as the distribution agreement between Spinnup and you, the user is for at least 1 year.
- Confirmation that the licensor is providing you (the licensee) with a license (in respect of both the sound recording and composition) allowing for commercial exploitation of your new track containing the beat across all digital platforms.
Other important information
Limits on downloads/streams:
Most beat licenses typically cap the number of downloads and/or streams of your new track covered under the license. Please make sure that the license allows sufficient use of your track and that you monitor usage to ensure you obtain a new license before the caps are exceeded. If the usage caps are too low, you may have to obtain a new license that allows for a higher number. We recommend starting with at least XX number of uses for up-and-coming artists. If you’re a more established artist, then look at what streams your other music is getting and base your usage cap off this.
Third party samples (in the beat):
If your license states that ‘Sample clearance is the responsibility of the licensee’ this is very important. This means that you need to obtain additional confirmation from the beat producer as to whether any third-party samples were used. If none were used – great! If samples were used – don’t panic! All you have to do is ask the beat producer which samples they used, and then you will have to contact the owner of the rights in the sample to clear them for use in the beat.
Guidance on YouTube Beats:
- We cannot accept ‘free-for-profit’ or ‘free-to-use’ YouTube beats without a license.
- This is for a number of reasons:
- Often the person who uploaded the YouTube beat isn’t actually the rightful owner
- In most cases there are restrictions to how you can you the beat e.g. non-profit, only on Soundcloud and Spotify
- Most importantly, beat licenses contain important terms about the rights that are being licensed to you, how you are/are not allowed to use the beat and information about any 3rd party samples that the producer might have used in the beat. They also confirm that the beat producer also has the required rights and authority to grant you a license in the first place.
- Ultimately it is for your legal protection.
- However, if you do find a YouTube beat you love, beat producers do usually link to their Beat store in the description the video where you can purchase a license.
If you create a release using beats, please select this option in the upload process when asked how your tracks were created, see image below. You will need to make sure that you have obtained a license containing the above content before you submit your release, as it is your responsibility to make sure you are sufficiently covered. If you don’t do this, you risk your release being removed from stores at a later date.