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QOTD: What kind of licenses are there for music producers?
In general there are 3 different types of music licenses: Non-Exclusive, Exclusive and Sync.
When you sell a Non-Exclusive license (or ‘Lease’ license) to an artist, you retain all the rights and you can sell it to multiple artists at the same time. The pricing for a Non-Exclusive license usually varies anywhere from $10-50. When an artist purchases a Non-Exclusive license you will send them either just the MP3 file, or the MP3 & WAV file for the purchased beat together. Many producers split their Non-Exclusive licenses into various sub categories, such as an ‘MP3 Lease’ which is the cheapest option starting at around $10 and includes an MP3 file only, an upgraded ‘WAV Lease’ for an additional $10-20 which is slightly more expensive and includes the higher-quality and more desirable WAV file, and finally a ‘Trackouts Lease’ which includes all separated instrumental lines (e.g. kick, snare, hats, piano, bass) of the beat in WAV format and bundled together in a ZIP file for the purpose of studio mixing and mastering, for an additional $30-50.
When you sell an Exclusive License (or ‘Exclusive Rights’), you are selling that beat to just one single artist. It is marked as sold and no longer licensed to other artists. Usually artists prefer purchasing an Exclusive Licenses as it makes it exclusively theirs and no other artists will have the same beat on their album, but it is also a question of budget as an Exclusive License is several times more expensive than a Non-Exclusive License. If you’re a beginner producer you might sell an Exclusive License for $50-100, if you’re an intermediate producer (2-5 years) you might sell it for $300, if you’re an established independent producer (5+ years) you might sell it for $1000-2000 and if you’re a major label producer you can sell your beats for up to $1 million if you’re Timbaland!
The third license type, often ignored, is a Sync License. This is when you combine audio with a moving picture, in other words when your beats are used in Film, TV or YouTube videos. They are typically sold to broadcasters, advertisers and filmmakers who can use your music in their projects, such as a movie soundtrack, TV commercial or website. The reason Sync Licenses are so important is that many music producers limit themselves to selling mechanical licenses (Non-Exclusive and Exclusive) for audio usage of artists only, even though Sync licensing is a huge part of the licensing market. Having your beats featured on TV, for example, can earn you a great upfront licensing fee and a nice recurring royalty check in the long run.
When you’re selling your music productions online, I would advise you to always sell these 3 types of licenses: Non-Exclusive, Exclusive and Sync. Don’t miss out on that third one!
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