Are YouTube Beats REALLY Free?
Are YouTube Beats REALLY Free?
It’s very common for rappers and independent artists to search for free type beats on YouTube. There’s an endless amount of high-quality beats on YouTube that are available for free for non-profit use or free for profit use. But are these beats REALLY free?
It’s always best practice to read a producer’s terms of agreement before using their beats whether they are listed as free or if you purchase them. There are general guidelines for what you can do with free beats. Let’s breakdown the general guidelines for free for non-profit beats and free for-profit beats
Free For Non Profit
If you find a beat on YouTube that’s listed as free for non-profit use, that generally means that you can use the beat as long as you are not making money with it. For example, if you have a YouTube channel where you’re not getting paid when people watch your videos, you can upload your music using free for non-profit beats without getting in trouble. The same goes for SoundCloud as long as you are not getting paid when people play your music.
Alternatively, if you cannot upload your music over free for non-profit beats to Spotify. Even though they pay only fractions of a cent per stream, you are still generating royalties whenever someone streams your music.
Furthermore, if you want your music to be played on the radio, you can’t legally do so by using free for non-profit beats. Music generates royalties whenever it’s played on the radio, and therefore does not qualify as non-profit use.
Different producers have different terms, so when in doubt, check the description of their YouTube videos and website so you know exactly what you can do with their beats. In general, if you’re using a YouTube beat that’s listed as free for non-profit use, it’s okay to use them on sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, or Datpiff as long as you are not getting paid whenever someone streams or downloads your music. If you want to make money with your music by making it available to stream on Spotify, purchase on iTunes, paid live performances, radio airplay, etc, then you should avoid using free for non profit beats or purchase a lease from the music producer.
Free For Profit Beats
Despite the term “free for-profit” sounding pretty straightforward, it may not mean what you think it does. It’s especially important to read the description so you don’t run into any copyright issues.
Even though you see “free for profit” in the title of the YouTube video, your usage of that beat will likely be limited. For example, many producers say you can only upload your music over their beats on YouTube and SoundCloud, and they require you to purchase a lease if you want to upload your music to Spotify and Apple Music Other producers will say that after you hit 10k streams, you will need to purchase a lease. Furthermore, there are some producers that have no limits whatsoever and don’t care where you upload the beat or how many streams you get.
The confusing part about using free for-profit beats is that there’s a lot of nuance to the term, so you need to make sure that you read the description of the YouTube video before you download a beat and use it in a way that infringes on that producer’s copyright.
Should You Use Free Beats On YouTube?
While there are general guidelines, there’s no standard for what’s considered to be free for non profit or free for profit use. When in doubt check the description of the YouTube video, the producer’s website, and contact the producer if you have any questions.
If you’re a new artist or a hobbyist and don’t plan on making money with your music, you may way want to consider using free for non profit beats. If you’re a serious artist that wants to start making money with your music, I would actually recommend that you consider leasing your beats instead of using free for profit beats. You may find that many beats that are listed as “free for profit” only apply to YouTube and SoundCloud usage and don’t allow you to use them on Spotify. In that case, you’d be better off purchasing a lease from the producer. Also, most producers offer the .wav and/or the trackout files to their beats when you lease them, which will help your music sound noticeably more professional.
In closing, always check the description of the YouTube video and the producer’s website before downloading and using their beats. If you use their beats in a way that goes against their terms, they have the rights to sue you or have your music taken down. You can easily avoid any legal trouble by making sure you are clear on their terms and by contacting them.