Unlimited Lease Beats – The Good & the Bad

The most modern beat license today is the unlimited beat lease license. Many producers are providing this option, and it’s pretty popular among artists.

But what is an unlimited beat lease exactly?

In short, this lease grants the artist or licensee unlimited rights to the beat. It’s similar to the unlimited rights that is received with an exclusive rights agreement, but without sole use of the beat. This means that the producer can continue to lease the beat to however many artists they want.

That’s a short explanation of what this new lease option is. Now let’s dive in a little deeper and go over the pros and cons of it.

home studio where unlimited lease beats are made

The Good

Unlimited lease beats, also known as unlimited license beats, provide some awesome perks for artists. Perks such as:

Unlimited Rights – An unlimited lease allows the artist or licensee full permission to distribute however many copies of the recording they want. This license usually includes unlimited music videos, paid performances, and monetized streams as well. Sounds pretty good right?

Cheaper than Exclusive Rights – An unlimited beat lease will be cheaper than the exclusive rights for the beat. This can be good for artists who want unlimited use of the beat, but can’t afford the exclusive rights. This is possibly the next best option.

The Highest Quality Files – Another great perk of the unlimited beat lease is the fact that the artist or licensee gets the highest quality files. This usually includes a high quality MP3, a high quality WAV file, and the track stems. In comparison, a basic lease usually only includes the MP3 file. The unlimited lease option is usually on the same level as the exclusive rights as far as the quality of the files included.

The Bad

While I listed some positives above concerning unlimited beat leases, there are some negatives that need to be pointed out as well.

Numerous Artists with the Same Unlimited Lease – Having unlimited rights to a beat is what all artists would prefer, but what if an unlimited number of artists also have that same license for the same beat? This could be an issue, especially for artists who have decent exposure and notoriety.

Think about it. This means that hundreds or thousands of different artists can have this same license to the same beat. What if just a couple of them start getting major play and notoriety? If I was an artist, I wouldn’t want to hear my beat on the radio or Spotify with someone else rapping or singing on it.

Exclusive Rights of the Beat Can Still be Purchased – Some producers offer both unlimited leases and the option to purchase the exclusive rights for the same beat. So, if artists have the unlimited lease license of a beat and you purchase the exclusive rights, you haven’t really gained much. Sure, you now own the “exclusive rights” but the other artists with the unlimited lease still have their unlimited lease agreement too. And in many cases, these leases never expire since they are “unlimited”. Now, some producers do put an expiration date on these lease agreements, but not all.

On a side-note, beats that are available for both lease and exclusive rights aren’t real exclusive beats in my opinion. Check out more about what true exclusive beats are below:

What are Exclusive Rights to a Beat?

Have Any Questions?

I hope this has given you a full understanding and educated you on what unlimited beat leases are and what they mean. There are some good things and some not so good things with this lease option. It’s good to know about both sides and that’s what I wanted to provide.

At Melodi Beats, we personally don’t offer unlimited lease options simply because of some of the negatives that go along with them. We don’t believe they are the best option for artists because of some of the possible conflicts that are involved. Instead, we offer100% exclusive beats – exclusive beats that have never been used or leased by anyone else.

If you have any questions or want more clarity, feel free to contact us via the contact tab in the menu or comment below!

16 Responses

  • When purchasing an unlimited lease, is there a set amount of years for how long your song can be posted online?

    • Hey Chan. It depends on the producer who is providing you with the unlimited lease. Each one can be different so it’s important to find out from the producer. In most cases though, I do not think there is a time limit or a certain amount of years that the lease is good for when it is an unlimited lease.

  • As a producer if we lease a beat to an artist a limit or unlimited lease, does the producer still get paid through royalities on the record sales?

    I ask this because what if the artist blows up and sells a million copies.

    • Hey Dre. All of that information should be included in the lease agreement or contract. For example, a limited lease should include the number of streams, sales, or downloads allowed in that lease. Once that number is met, a new lease must be purchased. Obviously an unlimited lease would not have a limit for streams, downloads, or sales.

      As far as royalties go, the lease agreement or contract should include the publishing breakdown. An example would be that the artist gets 50% of the publishing rights and the producer gets 50%. If the producer is leasing the beat royalty free, then the artist would have 100% of the publishing rights and the producer would have 0%.

      So to answer your question, the producer only gets royalties if the royalty agreement is included in the lease agreement. This is typically referred to in the publishing breakdown section of a lease agreement.

      You can check out a lease agreement example here.

  • Hey, thanks for this article!! I want to know more about why beats that are available for both lease and exclusive rights aren’t real exclusive beats. I want to know your opinion. Because for me, if more than one person got a lifetime license, there’s no more exclusive license option…. idk

    • Hey Franco! Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, if a beat has been leased to other artists, and you buy the “exclusive rights”, you aren’t truly getting the beat exclusively. Exclusivity means “restriction to a particular person”. So, if other artists have a lease agreement with a beat that you bought the exclusive rights for, is that “restricted” to you only? Are you the only one with it? No, because the artists who leased the beat have it as well. I have a whole article that describes what exclusive beats are if you want to read more detail on it.

      And I agree with you…if an unlimited license is purchased for a beat, then exclusive rights should not be available. But, I don’t think that’s how most producers do it.

  • I’m highly concerned about the publishing shares that I see in so many of the unlimited lease contracts only because of the fact that i’ve never dealt with purchasing beats online before. I read in another post that the publishing splits are typically for only when a label is involved. But if i’m an independent artist not signed to anybody, do I still have to deal with the publishing splits if i’m just putting my music onto Tunecore or Distrokid & pushing my content out that way?

    • Anthony you are right in the fact that traditional publishing splits (performance royalties) are usually for finished songs that are placed with a label. But, now days, publishing splits and performance royalties can also be associated with the any sort of performance of the finished song, whether in-person performances or even digital streams. These splits/royalties can be setup with a label or simply between the artist and the producer as long as both have a PRO.

      The key is simply looking over the license or contract of the beats you buy. They should state the details of what the artist is entitled to as well as the producer. For example, if the license/contract states that you are allowed 1,000,000 monetized audio streams, then you get 100% of that income from those streams. This is normal for most contracts/licenses. If you are simply receiving revenue from audio streams through your content being sent out through Tunecore etc. then you just need to see what the beat license(s) say about your allowed number of monetized audio streams. In most cases, you receive 100% of the revenue as long as you don’t go over the number of streams listed in the beat license.

  • Hey could you help me ? I will pay for your advice I’m going to put out some music soon and have never dealt with paying anyone before but I know my music is going to be big so I would like to plan ahead I bought unlimited licenses to a few beats and would like to see if you can break down some of the wording in the leases if not thanks again anyway💜🖤

  • Hi. My daughter leased a track and was wondering if you could explain what this part of the contract means: “licensee may not perform the song publicly for-profit performances and for an unlimited non-profit performances, including but not limited to, at a live performance (I.e. concert, festival, nightclub etc), on terrestrial or satellite radio, and/or on the internet via third-party streaming services (Spotify, YouTube, iTunes Radio etc)” she’s allowed 100,000 monetized audio & video streams.

    • Hello Ruth! It looks like the contract states that the licensee, which I am guessing is your daughter, may NOT perform the song publicly for for-profit performances. Meaning she can’t perform the song live in a performance if she is making money off of it. It looks like she CAN perform an unlimited number of non-profit performances…meaning she can perform the finished song an unlimited number of times if she is not making money off of it. Lastly, she is allowed 100,000 audio and video streams in which she makes money from those streams – on services such as iTunes, Youtube, Pandora, etc. Did she lease this beat from me or was this another producer? Only reason I ask is because my leases typically allow for-profit performances.

      Brad

  • Can you make money from royalties by leasing beats. And once the lease expires how exactly are you making money. Assuming that the artist makes a hit

    • Hey Nana! Yes you can make money from royalties by leasing beats, depending on the lease agreement. In most cases, the artist is allowed so many copies of the finished song sold, streams, etc. If the song is a hit and the artist sells more copies than what is allowed in the lease agreement, the mechanical royalties that are listed in the lease agreement start to kick in. With leases the royalty rate is typically 100%. So, if the lease agreement allows 100,000 copies of the song to be sold and the song sells over 100,000, every copy sold after that would generate royalty income for the producer.

      There are other opportunities as well, such as performance royalties/publishing shares. Performance royalties would give the producer a portion of the profit from live performances, radio plays, etc. This would come through the PRO (Performing Rights Organization). Lease agreements usually give the producer 50% of the publisher’s (writer’s) share.

      If the lease has a time limit and actually expires, the artist or label must renew the lease agreement or work out another deal, otherwise they can get in serious trouble and lose any money made after the leases expiration date.

      Are you can see, it all comes down to the lease agreement. The producer can write the lease agreement and include whatever they want in the agreement. If the artist agrees to the agreement and leases the beat, the agreement is enforced.

      Hope this gives you some answers to your question!

      • Hey Brad, so if I buy an unlimited license, I will never have to pay royalties or split the writers or publishers share of the record?

        • Hey Nate. No, that’s not true. Most unlimited licenses DO have a publishers share/split in the license when it comes to publishing rights (with a PRO). They usually have the same royalties and publishing splits as a normal lease does. Streams, downloads, etc. should all be unlimited and royalty free in most cases. Publishing rights with a PRO (performing rights organization) is usually still split in some way between the artist and producer though. But, ultimately it depends on the specific license that you are getting with the unlimited beat lease you are purchasing. You want to make sure to look over the license or find out the contents of the license prior to purchasing it.

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