Are free beats on YouTube really free?
Have you seen or downloaded a beat that is advertised as “free”? If you’re an artist, there’s a high probability that you have, let it be on platforms like YouTube, BeatStars, or a producer’s website.
What is a "free" beat?
When you find a free beat online, you might feel excited, thinking, “Wow, I can use this for my next song!” But then you start wondering if there’s a catch, like “Is it really free?” or “Maybe there’s something hidden in the details.”
Let me be honest with you. As producers, we use the word “free” to grab your attention—it’s like a trick to get you interested. Imagine you’re in a store, and one aisle says “costs money,” while the other says “free.” Which one would you check out first?
It might seem like we’re playing games, but there’s some truth to it. When we say a beat is free, it usually means you can use it for things that don’t make money.
Now, what does “monetize” mean? It means to earn money from something. You might be thinking, “I don’t make money from my music, so I can use the beat, right?” But think about where you share your music. If you use places like Apple Music or Spotify and use services like DistroKid or Ditto, they collect money for you.
The same idea applies to platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud—they help you make money from your music. So, when we say a beat is free, it often means you can use it for things that don’t earn you money.
What can you do with a "free" beat?
Well, here’s why the catchy trick we use actually has some truth to it: you can grab/download the beat for free to practice with.
Think about it – how many times have you sung or rapped to a beat and didn’t like how it turned out? Everything might sound awesome in your mind, but when you actually record your voice, it might not match your vision, and you might end up not liking the song at all.
We don’t want you to spend money unnecessarily, so we suggest you download the beat and record your ideas. If you’re happy with how it sounds, you can then go back and buy the lease for that beat. This way, you can release your music to the world.
Doing this saves you a lot of trouble and gives you the chance to get feedback on your music from people you trust before deciding to buy the lease for the beat.
Do "free" beats even exist?
YES! Well, there’s a special case for free beats. Sometimes you’ll come across titles like “free for-profit” or “free for monetization.” But be careful! Always check the license agreement because there are probably some limits, like how many times you can share it, where you can distribute it, or if you can play it on the radio.
The risks of using a "free" beat
So, what could happen if you use a free beat to make your music?
Usually, free beats come with a bunch of voice tags added by the producers. So, if you sing or rap over it, there’s a big chance that your cool lines could get covered up by someone saying things like “buy your tracks today” or “D..D…D…DJ Seip.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, having a producer tag at the start of a song can be cool, especially if it’s from a well-known producer. But, let’s be honest, nobody wants to hear it five times in one track. That’s just annoying.
When you get a free beat, it’s often in an mp3 file since its smaller and easier to send through emails. At first, you might not notice a difference, but when you play it on bigger sound systems, you will. After DJing more than 10 years in Clubs all over the world im confident in saying that low quality MP3 files sound terrible on big sound systems compared to high quality MP3 / WAV files. If you’re serious about your music, you want it to sound as good as possible for your listeners.
Also, when you upload your music for distribution, they usually ask for a high-quality WAV file, like “WAV, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz.” I won’t go into all the technical stuff right now, but just know that if you start with an mp3, you can’t bring back the quality of a WAV file, even if you save the final song in that format.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t make money legally from a song made with a free beat unless it’s clearly mentioned in the license agreement that comes with the beat. If you release it, the producer has the right to take down the track. If this happens three times on YouTube, they might suspend your account, and that’s something nobody wants to go through.
How to buy beats online?
When you buy a beat, you’re basically renting it. This means you’re giving the producer a certain amount of money, and in return, they let you use the track for your projects. This agreement is called a license.
The main things to know about beat licenses is that there are two main types: exclusive and non-exclusive.
The big difference is that non-exclusive beats can still be sold or rented to other artists, while exclusive ones can’t. However, just because you buy an exclusive beat license online doesn’t always mean you own it entirely. Other artists who rented it before you bought the exclusive license might still be able to use it, following their terms. In case you want to buy an exclusive beat online and actually be the only artist that is going to release a song on it, make sure to reach out to the producer and ask. They will be able to tell you if the beat has been bought before or not. Any honest and real industry professional will be glad to sell you an exclusive or off to make you a custom beat to your taste to ensure you get what you are looking for.
Which beat license should I buy?
I provide three types of licenses: Starter, Professional, and Exclusive.
Both Starter and Professional options are not exclusive, as I mentioned earlier. The main difference is how you can use them. The Starter license has a limit on the number of times your music can be sold (up to 5,000 sales) and also played (up to 50,000 streams). There are also restrictions on the number of radio stations and music videos where your track can be used.
With the Professional license, there’s no limit. If you believe your music will get more than 50,000 streams, this license is for you.
Additionally, with the Professional license, you get high-quality stems/trackouts for the beat. Stems are separate audio files for each instrument of the beat. This is useful during the mixing stage of your song. You can get a better result because you can adjust individual elements, like turning down the bass if it’s too loud, instead of adjusting the whole beat (which is what you can do with a Starter license).
Now, for an Exclusive license, you get everything from the Professional license, but I take the beat off my store, giving you exclusivity.
This doesn’t mean others who leased the beat before you have to remove their songs. They can still use the track as long as it’s within the terms of their license. This is a common misunderstanding!
Let’s summarize what we just went over, you can only use a free beat for things that don’t make you any money, like practicing or recording before deciding to invest.
Even if a beat is said to be “free for-profit,” check the rules/license terms because there’s probably a limit on how many times your music can be played (and you might need to give credit to the producer).
So, while there might not be a truly “free beat,” the idea is to make sure your investment is as safe as possible.