1. Music Licenses – Understand them
Know the difference between exclusive and non-exclusive licenses. An exclusive license will grant you the exclusive (hence the name) right to use the beats for your projects.
A non-exclusive license will give you the right to use the beat for your musical projects, however the producer retains the right to sell the beat to other artists too.
2. Music Licenses – Know which one to buy
Exclusive licenses can be expensive, but essential if you're looking to commercially release an album. If you're however recording a demo or mixtape, a non-exclusive license is fine, however make sure you check with the producer what rights you get as these will vary from site to site.
3. Prices, don't pay too much!
Owners of beat sites often get carried away by their big ego's and will charge inflated prices for standard beats.
A rough guideline for prices follows:
Non-Exclusive Licenses - $15 - $50
Exclusive Licenses - $100 - $1000
Of course, the above prices depend on the producer's popularity and talent. However, we would not recommend paying more than $1000 for an exclusive license bought online from someone you have never met in person.
4. Websites, only buy from trusted ones
Any proper online business will make sure they have a trustworthy image. Therefore make sure that the site you're buying from has at least one or two of these:
- Full contact details, phone number, email, mailing address
5. Look for trust symbols
On top of the above, the website should also have third party trust symbols. These are certifications from other companies that prove the website is trustworthy and not fraudulent.
Some symbols to look for are:
- BBB Certification
- Paypal Verified
- Shopping reviews
- Hacker Safety Certifications
- Antivirus Safety Certifications
Also make sure these symbols link through to another page that explains what they mean and how the website in question fits the criteria.
6. Email the site and check if they reply
Crazy, but certain beat sites will not bother doing this. Would you want to do business with someone who doesn't care about talking to you?
Also, this will prove that the website is a serious online business with a team of human beings running it properly.
7. Look for testimonials
This is not essential, but it's always good if you can see that others have dealt with the site before and have been satisifed with their beats.
8. Avoid producers who only use a Soundclick/MySpace page to sell beats
A domain name costs less than $15 a year, surely it's not a good sign if someone doesn't even have the money to buy that and set up their own independent website?
9. Search for the site on Google
This is a quick easy way to check a site's reputation. Do any bad comments show up, or anything else unusual?
10. Is the site alive?
Does anyone update it or is it dead? We're all very busy making beats, but adding some small updates once in a while is within everyone's reach. Therefore look for blog posts, new beat uploads and even small updates such as changing the current year noted on the site!