Before you spend your hard-earned money on rap beats online follow these 10 tips to ensure you’re getting the most value possible! I know it can be a daunting task filled with many questions such as where should I buy them? How much should I pay? What are leasing & exclusive rights? etc.. Don’t worry you’re not alone and I’ve got you covered! Let’s jump right in shall we?
1. How To Get FREE Rap Beats
There are tons of producers out there but they’re not all on the same level. Some are making a full time living making rap beats, some are just starting out and others are somewhere in the middle. The ones that are just starting out or are somewhat in the middle are likely giving away some of their beats for free. They will likely want to keep their tag “recording saying their producer name or brand” in the beat or at the very least they may require you to either mention them in the song or give them credit for producing the beat wherever you upload the song on the internet.
A good place to start finding free rap beats is simply by searching YouTube, Google, and Soundcloud for “Free Rap Beats” or “Free Hip Hop Instrumentals”. Start making you a list of all the producers you like that are giving free beats and visit them often to see what’s new and show them love and support. If you release anything using their beats make sure you let them know and share your music link with them. You never know, if you do a really good job they may want to feature you on their website or start working with you exclusively!
2. How To Get Special Discounts
If you’re finding it hard to find free rap beats that fit your style then it’s time to narrow your focus a little more. Most producers have their own website and usually will have a mailing list that you can sign up to. Many of them will offer special discounts exclusively to the people who are on their mailing list. They could run a special deal at any time and will often do discounts around Holidays.
So find producers that make rap beats that fit your style and sign up to their mailing list. Not only will you likely get special discounts but they will likely send you an e-mail whenever they upload new beats. How cool is that? You won’t even have to look for the new stuff because it will be sent directly to you! Also, I might add that many producers “even ones who are making a full time living” will give away a free rap beat as their way of saying thank you for signing up to their mailing list.
3. Finding Dope Producers
If you’re on the hunt for dope producers and are also looking to get on their mailing lists for updates and discounts here’s an easy way to find where they’re lurking at on the internet. Even though serious producers typically will have their own website they will often upload their beats for sale on reputable 3rd party websites such as Airbit.com, Beatstars.com, 20dollarbeats.com, and Soundclick.com to name a few. These are like producer hubs where you can find a large majority if active producers on the internet.
Most of these sites rank their top-selling producers on a chart which will give you a quick idea of who’s bringing the heat! You can then click on a producer’s name and it should take you to their profile which will also have their personal website listed if they have one. Remember to go to their website and see if you can sign up to their mailing list. It’s also important to note that just because a producer is ranked high on the charts doesn’t mean the producers who are ranked lower aren’t just as good. It simply means they’re doing a good job promoting their beats so don’t be afraid to dig deep into those charts!
4. Using Trusted Websites
While we’re still on the topic of websites it’s a good idea to purchase from reputable websites. What I mean by reputable is that the website is a legit business and you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off. For example all the sites I listed above are legitimate websites. But I can’t vouch for each and every producer’s personal websites. For example, if you purchase a beat from a producer’s personal website and the wrong beat is sent to you and you contact the producer about the issue but they won’t respond that’s not legit business!
Look for certain logos on their website that state things such as Pay Pal Verified or BBB Certification. Of course, anyone can grab a picture and throw it up on their website so if you still have doubts contact them personally and see if they respond back. Or do a google search on the site or producer to see if people are speaking positively about their experience with them. If you still have doubts then just purchase the rap beats you want from them on one of the 3rd party sites I listed above “if they’re on there”, if not then just keep it moving.
Don’t pay ridiculously high prices for leases. It’s understandable if you’re buying exclusive rights to a rap beat. If you don’t know the difference between the two don’t worry I’ll cover them in the next two tips. For a lease, you should expect to pay around $10-$30 dollars per beat. For exclusives rights, it can cost anywhere between $300-$5,000 and up!
Shop around and compare what some of your favorite producers are charging for beats. If you fall in love with a rap beat that’s significantly more than $30 for a lease then hold off on purchasing it until you shop around a little more to see if you can get a better deal. If you can’t find anything cheaper that fits your needs you can always come back to it later.
6. What Are Leases?
When you are purchasing a rap beat there are two main options, Leases & Exclusives. When you lease a beat aka purchase a license you’re simply paying the producer for permission to use the beat and remove the tag. It doesn’t mean that you own the beat. The producer still retains full ownership of the beat and can continue to lease the beat to other artists. It’s up to the producer what permissions he chooses to give you with the lease.
The producer may offer several different leasing or licensing options depending on what you want to do with the beat. The more permissions the producer gives you with a lease the more it’s going to likely cost. Here’s what you can expect from a standard lease.
- Voice tag removed
- 1 Recording “can only use it for 1 song”
- Can sell up to 2,500 copies of the song
- No commercial rights “can’t be featured in a movie, video game, commercial, radio, etc..”
- Can monetize 1 YouTube video using beat with up to 50,000 views
- 12 Months “Lease is good for 12 months or until you exceed the number of copies sold or YouTube views
Leases are perfect for artists on a tight budget who are just starting out and are trying to grow a fan base by releasing singles, demo’s or mixtapes.
7. What Are Exclusives
Exclusive rights are much more expensive because the producer is giving you exclusive permission to use the beat in a way no one else can. This means the producer has to take the beat down from his or her site and can no longer lease it to anyone else “if they were leasing the beat beforehand”. When you have exclusive rights you can basically do whatever you want. This means you can do bigger picture stuff like try and get your song that’s using the beat on the radio, featured in commercials, movies, video games, etc..
This also means that the producer will provide you with the whole rap beat tracked out also known as stems. This is all the individual tracks to the beat. For example, the kick, snare, hi-hat, strings, brass are all in separate high-quality WAV files so you can have a mixing engineer professionally mix your vocals with all of the elements of the instrumental.
Since the producer made the beat they will likely include in the contract that they are entitled to a certain percentage of royalties (usually half). Songwriting isn’t just writing lyrics it’s also writing/producing music and the producer is entitled to their fair share for their contribution to the song. Some producers will actually work personally with the artists that purchase exclusive rights from them to ensure that the song comes out as professional as possible. Remember the producer wants the song to be a success not only for you but also because they’re entitled to their fair share of the royalties.
Just a few more side notes. Sometimes producers will put in their exclusive contract that you’re not allowed to sell the beat to anyone else. This is smart on their part because they need to be connected to the new owner “you” of the music because the two of you are both contributing to the song. If you were to sell the beat to someone else things can get really complicated rather quickly.
Also if you are trying to get your music placed somewhere commercially (this is where you can now license your song out to others) check and see if the producer is already signed to a publishing company. If they are it can make things really difficult when dealing with licensing companies and they may choose not to work with you because of the complications. Also, make sure that it’s stated in the contact that you have full permission to license the music without the co-writers “producers” permission. Once again this makes dealing with licensing companies much easier because they don’t have to go back and forth with anyone other than yourself.
Samples can bite you in the butt if you aren’t careful. This isn’t as big of an issue if your leasing rap beats for promotional purposes such as singles, mixtapes, and demos. But if you’re wanting to purchase exclusive rights you need to know if the music contains any samples. Samples are audio clips that have been taken from other recordings. If you want to get super technical just about every sound that’s on a keyboard or virtual instrument is a sample unless it’s being digitally produced using a synthesizer. These aren’t the kind of samples I’m talking about.
I’m referring to samples of actual songs not samples of sounds. For example, if someone sampled a 4-second clip from an old vinyl record you’ve never heard and is being used in the hook section of your song you need to know about it. Because later down the line if your song becomes a big hit and you start making some serious money the owners of the music that was sampled will likely hunt you down and sue you if you can’t come to an agreement outside of court.
This can really eat into your profits and cause you a lot of headaches. Samples aren’t as much of a big deal for labels who have the connections and money to “clear” aka “license” the samples but most independent artists don’t have that kind of loot or clout so unless you’re the exception tread lightly. Again this mainly applies to commercial use applications where you would need to obtain exclusive rights to the rap beat.
9. Professionally Mixed
This one is very important! If you’re going to be spending your hard-earned money on a rap beat you need to make sure the quality is on point! Not just the production quality such as instrument selection, arrangement, and musicianship but also THE MIX!! In short, mixing is when someone uses tools such as equalizers, compressors, volume faders, and pan nobs to ensure that the music is evenly balanced and everything has its own space.
Leasing a beat that’s poorly mixed is a terrible mistake! There’s only so much a mixing engineer can do if you bring him a horribly mixed beat that you’re about to drop your vocals on top of. If you bring him a turd all he can do is hand you back a polished turd.
But how the heck are you supposed to know if the track has been professionally mixed? Good question! Simply load up a beat you know has been professionally mixed such as a mainstream beat off YouTube. Adjust the volume of the two beats so they’re at the same level and now compare the quality of the sound. Carefully listen to the mainstream beat for a moment then pause it and now play the beat you’re thinking about purchasing. Go back and forth a few times and you should be able to tell if the beat is poorly mixed or not.
One more test is to turn both the beats down really low but still keep them at the same volume. Nothing should really stick out too much at this volume on the mainstream beat. However, if you hear things sticking out quite a bit on the beat you’re wanting to purchase it’s a sign that everything hasn’t been balanced properly through mixing it correctly.
10. Tempo & Key
My last and final tip is just as important as the rest. Have you ever been in a clothing store and see something you thought looked dope but when you tried it own you realized it didn’t look right on you or you didn’t like the way it fits you? The same applies to music. Just because you think a rap beat sounds dope doesn’t mean it will fit you as an artist.
When picking the perfect rap beat to flow on you first need to take into consideration the tempo of the song. Rappers who like to rap fast typically pick slower tempo beats around 65-75 BPM because there’s more room within each bar to fit more syllables. Rappers who prefer a mid-speed that’s not too fast or too slow typically enjoy a tempo around 85-95 BPM. And if you’re shooting for a more upbeat party or dance track you will likely find what you looking for around 120-140 BPM.
If you figure out which tempo fits you best it can help you narrow down your search on sites that I listed above because they often allow you to search for rap beats based on tempo.
Another important piece of information to factor in is what key the rap beat is in. If you’re going to do any type of singing or harmonizing you will need to know the key to the song. Also if you plan to use any pitch based effects such as Autotune knowing the key can help you dial your settings in quickly. When most artists are trying to develop their own sound it’s important to understand which keys fit your vocals the best. Again this will help you narrow down which rap beats are right for you and some of the sites I listed above will also let you search for beats based on the key.
But be careful when leaning too heavily on the beat websites search engines for information such as Tempo and Key. Not all producers correctly fill out this information when uploading their beats but it will still help you narrow down your search. If you would like to easily detect the tempo yourself use getsongbpm.com and for detecting the key of a song I recommend using another free online tool called audiokeychain
How Did I Do?
Did you find this article helpful? Have a question or some feedback? I’d love to hear from you so make sure you drop your 2 cents in the comments section below!