Updated: Jan 14, 2020
When purchasing a beat online to use for an upcoming project, you often have the choice between an exclusive or leased beat. To choose which is best for you, you must first understand the difference between exclusive or leased beats.
When you lease a beat, you are only permitted to sale a certain number of copies. When you sale the allotted number of songs, you must renew the lease for the beat. Usually, you can use the beat for as many years as you want, as long as you don't exceed the number of copies you purchased. You may only make one version of the song, and any remixes warrant another lease purchase. Because of the limitations of a leased beat, the cost will not break your wallet.
The producer will only send a MP3 version of the beat with the lease instead of a WAV. file, but the quality is typically good enough for Soundcloud or streaming purposes (although WAV. files must be submitted to Spotify, iTunes, etc., you can make WAV. versions of your song in the studio even with an MP3 beat). Another downfall of leasing your beats is that there's no limit to how many people can lease the same beat, so other rappers will have similar sounding songs.
Although you can lease a beat at first and buy it exclusively later, this only works if somebody else doesn't beat you to the punch. If another rapper buys your beat exclusively, you can no longer renew the lease. You may finish selling the songs in the original contract, but afterwards, you no longer own rights to sale anymore and you can't buy exclusive rights, either.
Buying a beat exclusively assures that you have full rights to the beat with unlimited use to make an original mix, a remix, or 100 remixes if you want. You can sale as many copies as you want, as you completely and totally own the beat. The producer will send you the WAV. file as well as full track-outs to change things up as you wish.
Depending on the website or producer who sold you the beat, other rappers may still have the beat from where they previously leased it. To avoid this, you may want to aim for new beats or custom beats. After you buy a beat, nobody new can ever lease it and it gets removed from the producer's website.
An exclusive beat will be more expensive because it turns ownership from the producer over to you. This, mixed with the high-quality sound and unlimited usage, makes exclusive beats the ideal option for full-length albums and professional projects.
Basically speaking, leased beats are better for mixtapes and small projects that will be given out for free in the attempt to get your name out. If you're looking to make an album, shoot music videos, or put your music on streaming platforms, exclusive rights are the better option. In general, I would spend the extra money to buy a beat exclusively no matter what. This way, if your song gets popular, you won't have to worry about running out of copies to sale, and nobody else will have your beat in any capacity.
A likely endgame for many rappers is to decide to produce beats on their own eventually. While this may not be step one in your career, it is an avenue that you may decide to travel down one day in the future. If you're interested in learning to create instrumentals, you'll need a software. The FL Studio 20 Fruity Edition is perfect for beginners. It has 19 instruments, 48 effects, and is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
So if you're rapping for fun or on your very first mixtape, leased beats are the affordable way to get music out. If you plan to turn rap into your career, exclusive is the way to go.
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I will get a small commission if you purchase from my link with no extra cost to you :)*