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How to write contract for artist interested in my beat?
Old 4 days ago
Gear Head
Deramo's Avatar
🎧 5 years
How to write contract for artist interested in my beat?


I couldn't find a perfect place within this forum to post this question but I think this is the closest I can get.

I normally sell beats on Beatstars. I've done this for about a year only so when I first started off I copied another producer's licenses and use the same "license-terms" and templates as him. More specifically, I'm pretty new to this license-stuff and the sales have taken place almost automatically and it have worked out for me cuz I get payed and the customers are happy so I have never really had to digged in much deeper into licenses.

What has happened now is that an artist has sent me a private message on Instagram, where I promote my beats, and says he wishes to work on a specific beat with me and asks me if I'd like to send him the beat so he can put lyrics onto it. The artist is not world-established but also not un-established and from his previous stuff I consider he has a lot of potential in growing since he already has thousands of followers and fans.

To sum it up, I would normally just tell the guy to buy any of my licenses for the beat through Beatstars, but since this is a big chance for me to get my beat out to someone seriously good with a lot of potential I'm willing to send my beat to him with no charge.

BUT, If I do so, I would still like to get some percentage of any money he could potentially earn through streams.

So here I am, wondering if I should write a specific license for him, something that ensures I don't get ripped off for giving away my beat for "free", while my conscience clashes with the fear of scaring him off for being too complicated to work with.

Is anyone here better acquainted with this than I am? How would you do this? Is there any good templates for this online covering my exact situation? I've searched the web but it feels kinda overwhelming to take on so any advice from someone familiar with this stuff would be appreciated. Something that can be important to add is that the artist lives in the US and I live in Sweden so we can't just meet up and do this thing face to face.

(I hope my english is ok, it's not my native language).

Kind regards!
Old 2 days ago
Here for the gear
Invest in yourself. Go to an entertainment lawyer and get a contract done. With that, you will have a template that you can use in the future.
Old 2 days ago
Gear Addict
ChuyLocs602's Avatar
🎧 5 years
I am in a similar position...at least in the sense of being ready to send out beats. So I have contemplated in how to go about things. I’ve picked up bits and pieces of knowledge from several online resources. The direction I think I am going is emailing a .rar or .zip file which includes the beat and like a read me file that just specifies that I’m privately distributing my intellectual property for creative or collaborative purposes but I still retain full rights and is subject to renegotiation if desired to be publicly distributed. Then the artist should come back to you with split sheet agreements.
Old 2 days ago
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I can only comment as it relates to U.S. The most complicated aspect is dealing with the sound recording rights and compensation for the sound recording (the recording of the beat). But in this scenario, it sounds like the OP isn’t asking for money for the actual recording of the beat (ie. the “multitracks”). In the U.S. that would make this whole thing rather simple because the songwriting is much more straightforward. The main thing would just be to make sure you have your splits for the songwriting (also called the “publishing”). More often than not, the music is worth half the songwriting, but not always, because it’s whatever people decide. But half for the music and half for the lyrics/lyrical melody is a good default starting point. So basically you would need what we call a “split sheet” which is just writing down what the split will be – nothing complicated. The artist, if they are smart, will ask for a mechanical license. This allows them to manufacture and distribute physical product and also allow them to distribute the recording to the various streaming services. That’s basically it. After that you just need to collect your royalties. In the U.S. things have gotten complicated recently, but performance royalties (radio, tv, non-interactive streams) come through your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC in the U.S.). Other streaming stuff comes through HFA and Music Reports and, now, the MLC (which is brand new and we are all figuring that one out).

In the U.S., you retain your rights to your copyrights (in this case, the sound recording and the composition copyrights to the beat), unless you explicitly transfer them. So just sending someone a beat would not give them any legal right to distribute what they do with it (not saying that doesn’t happen though). Fair use would protect the artist if they record over the beat for personal use, such as evaluating if they like what they came up with. But they couldn’t then go out and do anything with that recording because your copyrights in the beat are exclusive to you. They can only do something with it when you explicitly grant them the right to do so (or transfer the copyrights – which is common with the sound recording, but rare with the composition, of the beat).

It’s obviously slightly more complicated than this. But that’s it in a two paragraph nutshell.

I will say this though: if you have ANY desires to make any kind of full or even part-time money placing beats, then you should hire an entertainment attorney to craft a template for you for this type of transaction. The REALITY (as someone who’s dealt with hundreds and hundreds of music contracts) is that there is no template that fits EVERYONE. Everyone is different and has different risk tolerances. There are always various risks in any transaction and some or worse than others depending on who you are, what your goals are, whether you are loaded or dirt poor, etc. etc. etc. So a template for one person isn’t necessarily a good template for another person. Otherwise, everyone would use the exact same contract which obviously doesn’t happen for this reason. So if you are halfway serious invest in getting a template made up for YOU. Then you can swap out names, numbers, and various other little things for each individual situation as they come up. You pay once, and then you are good for a long time. I hate paying attorneys more than anyone. But I can also say, as someone who’s been making records as my full-time job for over 20 years, that you have to bite the bullet on some things.

Now if this is just a hobby and you don’t have any aspirations to make it a job, then none of this matters.
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