While many vocal artists are willing to purchase beats and tracks to use in their songs, there are a number of artists that do not regularly purchase beats, but seek sources where they can get free beats. At soundclick.com producers have been allowing artists to download free beats for some time. The beats tend to be tagged with audio snippets identifying the producer or beat selling page. While some artists, especially those that are serious about their craft eventually buy the beat before releasing the song, the a large number of rappers that are satisfied with simply rocking on free beats – tag or no tag.
As a part of my job I listen to a lot of music on the internet. Artists, mostly indie, send me links to their music and I usually take a listen to the songs and leave them a comment. Because computer based recording systems are more common the number of artists recording their own songs has increased and as a result, more artists contact me asking me to listen to their tunes. I typically expect to spend two hours per day listening and commenting on the tracks just to keep up and sometimes this is still not enough time.
One of the trends that I have noticed is that artists – especially rap artists are now recording a larger number of songs on the tagged beats and are using them as primary demo’s and for mix – tape releases. Unfortunately, this practice is not really the best way for someone, especially an aspiring artist, to get noticed. For most listeners the tags on the beats scream amateur, and it is often very difficult to take an artist seriously when he / she hasn’t bothered to invest the time and money required to present a reasonable product.
In addition to this stigma, a number of producers have begun a counter – movement and are no longer permitting the downloading of free beats from their soundclick page. They argue that the number of free downloads is far greater than the number of licenses sold. They also argue that the artists are using the tracks to do songs, and not just as a test run. As a result – rather than give away the tracks, the producers are starting to sell them at a very low cost. While all producers are not yet on board, the leading producers who provide the lions share of the downloaded tracks are unified in their approach on this matter and the movement appears to be gathering momentum.
With these new developments, artists are being challenged to find free beats. A handful of producers accommodate hungry artists by giving them some free beats in exchange for joining their mailing list. This symbiotic relationship allows the producers the opportunity to communicate directly with a large pool of artists and allows them to develop a relationship with large numbers of artists that are interested in their type of music. In exchange, the artists get free beats without tags that they can use and everyone wins.