So, you’re starting to get your name out there. Artists are really feeling your beats. Perhaps artists are even asking you to send beats for them.
But, should you send the beats tagged or untagged?
That’s a very common question.
Artists would obviously always want beats untagged, but from beatmakers point of view it’s different. Anyone can steal your beats if you send them untagged!
…And yes, that happens a lot online.
If you’re a total rookie, tagging a beat means to use a vocal tag (often saying your producer name) to protect your beats from stealing. A tag can be used throughout the beat (e.g. every 8-16 bars).
Let’s dive in.
What’s Your Objective?
First of all, you have to figure out what you hope to achieve by sending a beat to someone.
Is your only goal to work with the artist because you love making great music? Getting paid might not be your priority.
Or, perhaps making beats is becoming more of a business to you and getting paid is essential.
Whatever your objective is, you have to acknowledge it first.
Making Beats As A Hobby
Many beatmakers just want to make great music together with artists because they love the craft. You could say it’s more of a hobby and making money some day is just a little extra.
In this case, you can send untagged beats to artists. Why not?
However, I do recommend building deeper relationships with the artists. A working relationship is more beneficial than sending beats to random artists you’ll never hear from again.
I Want To Sell My Beats
For many, getting paid for the beats is crucial.
After all, we spend years of our time and thousands of dollars to learn our craft. We use the skills we’ve acquired to help artists make their vision come true by creating beats for them.
Getting paid for our hard work is not greed or selfishness, it’s wise.
In this scenario, you should send tagged beats to artists at first, especially online. This ensures that the artist will have hard time using the beat before discussing further details with you.
You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to steal a beat that’s not protected in any way, even if it’s just an MP3. Artists who steal beats don’t care if they are MP3 or WAV, as long as they can get it for free.
Working With Artists And Getting Paid
Instead of just selling beats to artists, you may be interested in working more closely with them as a music producer. But, you also hope to get paid for your hard work.
This situation is a bit trickier and you’re taking a small leap of faith in the artist.
First of all, it’s important to let the artist know that you want to work with them, but you expect them to pay you, as well.
I recommend approaching this situation one song at a time.
Create one song together with the artist and make it as good as possible. If you have any doubts about the reliability of the artist, you can add a few vocal tags in the song when you’re sending it.
After the song is done, you expect a payment from the artist. Until then, you don’t do anything else. If they have no problem paying you in time, awesome! If they don’t pay, you forget about any future collaboration with them.
CAUTION! Do not agree to big projects or royalty deals before being fully confident about the artist. It’s easy to convince someone to take on a massive project by offering them 50% of the revenue. In reality, you might get nothing. Always test the waters first.
Major Placement Opportunities
You might come across a major placement opportunity. A record label or an major artist might be looking for beats.
Most often, they expect to receive untagged beats.
After all, this is the big league. They don’t want to hear a beat that’s tagged every 8 bars. They forget them.
It’s unlikely that any major artist or record label would steal a beat. They have money to pay for the creators. They don’t want to ruin their reputation by not paying a producer. If they would steal a beat, you can confront them because you know 100% who they are.
CAUTION! There are a lot of online scams about this. A so-called A&R might be looking for beats for major artists. Often, they ask you to pay them first. Beware of these! Always do your research before sending untagged beats or paying anyone. Usually legit A&R’s do not ask you to pay for something like this.
When sending beats to anyone, tagged or untagged, always have your information clearly written in the beat file. If the artist don’t know who created the beat, how can they contact you to use it? Here’s a guide how to rename your beat files professionally.