Tips for Rap Artists

Everything An Upcoming Rapper Needs To Know About Music Licensing.

Many legends in the rap industry have achieved the pinnacle of success only to end up broke because they did not understand the financial aspects of the game. This is why any upcoming rapper who is serious about reaching their full potential should take time to get educated on a few music licensing tips.

  1.  Public performing Rights

If an artist wishes to perform your music in public for profit then he/she is required to pay you as the copyright owner a share of the profit usually about 50%. This  is usually the same when a artists purchases beat leases.. he/she should understand the rights you have with a beat and what you can do with the song.

 2. Reproduction Right

This allows you as the legal copyright owner to record your music onto CDs or put in online for sale so you can collect profits from it. Only you can legally do this and you have the right to sue anyone who tries to do the same with your music.


3. Mechanical License

As a rapper and copyright owner you can allow external players to `mechanically` recreate your music and publicly sell it as long as they offer you some royalty payments in exchange. This right only holds for the initial release of the song but not later work built upon it.

Music Sampling Rights

Music sampling in the hip hop community is probably most poplar with Kanye West. Music sampling involves the use of lyrics, beats or rhythms made by another artist. If you wish to sample another artist`s music then you can only do so with the permission of the song`s copyright owner. The same is true if someone wishes to sample your music then you can ask for financial compensation in return.


Leasing Rights

Leasing is kinda like renting a car but instead of a car you get a music beat from a producer. This provides a kind of temporary ownership and allows an artist to get beats they like for a lower price but the number of times they can be used is limited. The actual owner of the beat even has the right to sell it to other artists if he wishes. Once the lease expires then it must be renewed at fee. With a beat leasing contract you can still get to keep 50% of all the proceeds from sales on iTunes or Spotify.

While leasing a beat allows rappers to get it for cheap the downside is that if a song blows up the producer is under no legal obligation to give you the exclusive rights and may even sell it to another artist or demand very high fees to give you full ownership. Another disadvantage is that producers only provide .mp3 or .wav versions of the beat which obviously comes at lower audio quality.


Exclusive Rights

This is the equivalent of buying a car outright where a rapper gets full ownership of a beat and is no longer obligated to keep paying renewal fees for its use. There are no limitations on the number of videos a rapper can make or live performances either.

A producer is obligated to provide all stem files (music instrumentation) at the highest quality and so your music engineer can make whatever adjustments you deem necessary. The main downside of this model is that exclusive rights tend to be more expensive.


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