Do you really
understand the Business side of Music Production?
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Production and how to sell beats
may be tempted to let an artist use their music tracks or beats without going through the hassle of writing out the producer
contract or agreement, or working out a license. For example, the up-and-coming artist, or new singer or
rapper may be someone that the producer is on friendly terms with. The producer may think that their friendship
will be ruined if the producer gets formal with him or her, or on the other hand, an established artist may be someone the
producer views as a “bridge” to get into the music industry. Accordingly, the producer may
fear ruining this relationship by insisting on a written agreement.
this apprehension, you must put the agreement in writing Ironically, not getting
the deal in writing poses a much greater risk of ruining a relationship than simply writing down your agreement. In
this business, countless friendships have gone down in flames – or up-in-flames, however you want to look at it –
when the money started coming in and the division of that money had not been agreed upon beforehand. An established
artist should be accustomed to using written agreements, and in most instances, will respect your professionalism
in requesting an agreement in writing. At the same time, the new artist will be forced to realize that you are running
a business, and to take you and your music seriously.
Often, an up-and-coming producer will let an artist borrow a beat – figuring “who cares, nobody’s
using it” – without thinking about the financial aspects of letting
him or her use the beat. For instance, if an artist using one of those beats gets signed and uses
the beat on the resulting album, you will not have your points worked out. Further,
you won’t know whether you are getting an advance, royalties, retaining your publishing, etc. Now
you will have to go back and work out the deal in reverse. For an up-and-coming producer, working out a
deal in reverse is not the best position to be in because the production company or record label will be applying pressure on the artist to get your
beat for the least amount of money possible; either directly or by possibly giving the artist a bad
deal which has the effect of squeezing you out. That’s just the reality
of the business. Because the beat has already been created, the producer may not have much leverage in
negotiating a desired production fee or advance.
At the same time, a producer may let an artist who is not likely to be signed, use a beat. But
what if a second artist, who may have multiple offers for a record deal on the table,
comes along and wants to buy that same beat? Will you have the right to sell him or
her the beat or music track?