BeatStars is an online music marketplace and distribution platform that allows musicians, producers and beat makers to sell, licence and distribute their music to artists, content creators and businesses.
On the BeatStars platform, music creators and beat makers can upload their original beats, songs, and instrumentals for sale, and set their own prices and licensing terms. They can also connect with other creators, collaborate, and share their music with a large community of artists and content creators. They can also connect with the creators and negotiate custom licensing agreements for specific projects.
BeatStars provides a convenient and efficient way for music creators to monetise their work and reach a wider audience, while also providing artists and content creators with a diverse selection of high-quality music to use in their projects.
The company, located in Austin, Texas, was founded in 2008 and has since become one of the most popular and widely used platforms for music licensing and distribution.
How was BeatStars founded?
BeatStars is an online music marketplace that was founded in 2008 by Abe Batshon. The company has since become a major name in the music industry. Since its launch, Be
atStars has gained a great reputation for helping musicians to receive monetisation for their work and has also helped to launch the careers of several successful producers and artists.
Abe Batshon is the founder and owner of BeatStars. He originally built BeatStars in 2008, although the idea for the company came in the mid-90s when he was an emerging hip-hop artist.
The idea for BeatStars came to Batshon after he saw a huge gap in the market for a platform where music producers could connect with artists and sell their beats online. Batshon started the company with the goal of empowering independent music producers and giving them a platform to showcase their talents.
In the early years, BeatStars faced challenges in gaining traction and building a community of users. It was difficult to persuade beat makers and musicians to part with their creative work, and similarly tricky to persuade musicians to pay money for the work of an unknown artist.
However, the company slowly gained momentum as more music producers began to see the potential of the platform.
What does BeatStars look like today?
Today, BeatStars is home to over three million registered users and has helped facilitate the sale of over 50 million beats.
BeatStars has also recently partnered with major players in the music industry, such as Sony Music and Warner Music Group, to offer their services to a wider audience. The company has also expanded into other areas of the music industry, such as distribution and marketing, to offer a more comprehensive suite of services to its users.
Nowadays, BeatStars is viewed as playing an important role in the democratisation of the music industry to the benefit of musical artists. The site has also provided a platform for independent music producers and artists to showcase their talents and reach a wider audience.
Similarly, the website is a time-saving and cost-effective way for musicians to find beats for their songs and lyrics.
How has BeatStars helped to monetise artists?
Up until the 2000s, beats were sold with 100% ownership rights. Whilst this seemed better for the artist on the surface, the reality is beats were more expensive and musicians had to work harder to reach a broader audience.
However, founder Ade Batshon completely changed this operating model. When he was an up-and-coming hip-hop artist in the 1990s, he struck up unique deals with producers which persuaded them to sell their beats are lower prices but retain the ownership rates. This unique proposition meant they would be able to sell the same beat to other musicians.
Although BeatStars would not be formed until 2008, these early deals by Batshon were made years before anybody else had the foresight to do so, which is what helped to make the website so unique. Musicians, beatmakers and producers were suddenly able to lease a beat with a non-exclusive licence, agreed upon by both the beatmaker and leaser.
The beats initially focused on the hip-hop genre, although the genre range is much broader nowadays. In fact, the hit song that thrust BeatStars into the public domain was a country song. More on this later!
How Does Beatstars Work?
BeatStars is an online platform that links music producers with artists who are looking for beats for their musical projects. Here is a guide on how the process works:
Sign up on the website
If you are a music producer and artist, you can sign up for an account on the BeatStars website, completely free of charge. Producers can upload their beats and set prices, while artists can browse and purchase beats.
Find your beats
Once you are ready to start looking for beats, you can do so by searching for your desired genre or mood using the search function on the BeatStars website. Previews of the links are also available so that you can sample to see if the track is right for you.
Buying your beats
If you’re lucky enough to find a beat you wish to use, you can purchase a licence to use the beat for your unique project. The website offers exclusive or non-exclusive licences, depending on your ultimate usage of the beat. For example, if you wished to own the beat outright, you can do so by paying a higher fee. Once the licence has been purchased, the full audio version of the beat can be downloaded and utilised at will.
For some users, a transaction is enough to be able to utilise the website to their benefit. However, BeatStars also allows music producers and artists to collaborate with each other on projects. Producers can upload unfinished beats for artists to work on, whilst artists can upload unfinished songs for producers to work on.
The website also offers a community aspect where users can interact with each other, give feedback and share their work. The platform also provides crucial networking opportunities for users to connect with other industry professionals and potential collaborators.
Is it safe to use?
Yes, BeatStars is generally safe to buy from. The company has a good reputation in the music industry and has been around since 2008. It has a large community of music producers and artists who use the platform regularly to sell and buy beats.
BeatStars also has security measures in place to protect buyers and sellers. All transactions on the platform are processed through a secure payment system, which ensures that payment information is encrypted and protected. Additionally, BeatStars offers different types of licences with different usage rights, which can help to prevent copyright infringement and protect the interests of both buyers and sellers.
BeatStars has a diverse user base of music producers and artists from around the world. Whilst all genres are covered, the platform is particularly popular among younger generations and those in the hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music genres.
According to the company’s website, BeatStars has over 3 million registered users from over 160 countries, with over 450,000 music producers and over 2.5 million artists. The platform has facilitated the sale of over 50 million beats, and its user base continues to grow.
When an artist finds a piece of music they wish to lease on BeatStars, they sign a licence agreement that covers a standard outline of performance and mechanical rights, whilst also agreeing to waive future royalties. Beatmakers have the freedom to customize these agreements.
Typically, musicians charge between $20 and $200 for a beat, although they can select the price. Beatmakers then receive either 70% or 100% of revenue, depending on whether they have utilised the free or subscription tier of the website.
To help with royalties, BeatStars formed BeatStars Publishing in partnership with Sony Music Publishing. Sony is the world’s number-one music publishing company, home to Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé, amongst many other artists.
The aim of BeatStars Publishing is to help artists get paid the royalties they deserve and to help distribute their music to a wider audience. Although a new initiative, BeatStars has insisted this directly follows on from the same spirit as their founding ethos, which focused on finding unsigned and unmonetised talented artists.
Initially, the service was open only to a select few artists and producers. However, this has now been rolled out to all, including first-time users.
The initiative, which is open to any independent songwriters and producers, is easy to follow. The online service allows artists to upload their songs, which can receive royalties paid directly to their PayPal or bank account.
How is Sony involved with BeatStars?
The label’s influence extends to providing a publishing and administration service for BeatStars users. The hugely influential music company offers users global distribution of their music, as well as analytics and copyright registration support.
In return, Sony and BeatStars take a 20% cut of earnings for mechanical royalties, which is triggered whenever a song is streamed, sold or downloaded. There is a 40% cut for performance royalties, which includes songs used in any public setting such as a restaurant or nightclub, radio and streaming websites such as Spotify or Imagesound.
Whilst BeatStars has long provided a home for artists and beatmakers to connect, they see their next natural step in the music publishing sector, ensuring that artists are fairly reimbursed. So far the scheme is adding to their already-impressive numbers. BeatStars’ community has grown to more than three million users since its formation, receiving more than $200 million in payouts.
What is BeatStars’ biggest success story?
BeatStars gained worldwide exposure in 2019 when a beat from the website was used in American musician Lil Nas X’s hugely successful debut single Old Town Road.
In 2018, Lil Nas X was a struggling music artist. One evening after being faced with the threat of eviction from his sister’s home, Lil Nas X purchased a beat he liked from BeatStars for $30. The sample featured a catchy trap beat underneath a banjo. Days later, he wrote a song and lyrics around the beat, inspired by his desperate living situation.
After then recording the song and releasing it on SoundCloud, Lil Nas X had no idea of the success the song would have. However, the success did provide the musician with a potential problem nobody saw coming.
One year earlier, producer YoungKio produced the beat and placed it on his artist page on the BeatStars website. However, the beat was not completely original. YoungKio had taken a sample from Nine Inch Nails’ song 34 Ghosts IV and rearranged it to produce the catchy version that Lil Nas X liked so much.
Future Type Beat
One of the most remarkable things is that neither YoungKio nor Lil Nas X had really heard of Nine Inch Nails. The producer came to know the song through the Recommended algorithm on YouTube. He then uploaded it to BeatStars under the title “Future type beat”.
Originally released independently in late 2018, Old Town Road was re-released by Columbia Records after gaining huge popularity on TikTok. The following month, the singer released a remix with American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus which helped the song to achieve 143 million streams in one week, as well as the top spot in the Canadian Hot 100 charts for nineteen consecutive weeks.
Once the song started to achieve worldwide fame, Nine Inch Nails lead singer Trent Reznor received a call from Lil Nas X’s management explaining the story behind the sampled beat. After hearing the song and enjoying it, Reznor himself gave his approval for the sample to be used.
The song remains the biggest success story in BeatStars’ history. It is also the fastest song to be certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has now sold over 18 million records worldwide.
Other success stories
Whilst Lil Nas X’s chart-topping song is the website’s overriding success, BeatStars has also been used in other popular albums.
There have long been rumours about users’ earning potentials on the platform, however, founder Batshon has chosen not to disclose much information about the monetisation amounts received by some of its most popular artists.
The website helped American rapper Future find two of the beats on his sixth album, 2017’s HNDRXX, one of which was Selfish, a chart-topping song featuring Rihanna. New York rapper 6ix9ine also features BeatStars beats on his songs Kooda and Rondo. Cardi B’s song Up also features a beat from the site, as does Drake’s Lemmon Pepper Freestyle.
It was rumoured that a BeatStars producer makes close to $500,000 per year from selling beats on the website. Whilst the company refused to comment on artist earnings, they have named current producers making a living from selling beats on the site including The Beat Demons, 50 Cent producer DJ Pain 1 and, of course, Young Kio.
BeatStars’ success in many artists’ music careers is no doubt, although it has not always been plain sailing for the company.
There have been many discussions about the checks the website has in place to prevent copyright infringement. A good example of this is the Lil Nas X success, which used a BeatStars track that sampled a Nine Inch Nails song without permission. The track was listed on the BeatStars website for over a year with the infringement undetected.
There have also been disputes between BeatStars and its users over royalty payments. Over the years, some producers have claimed that they are not being paid fairly for their work or that the royalties have been more beneficial for established producers, rather than emerging artists.
Some feel the website has become a victim of its own success. As the platform has opened up to everybody, some feel the standard of the beats has dramatically dipped as the company loses the quality control that gave the company its reputation. Others feel that a watering down of high-quality beats will not future-proof the platform for future success and established artists and producers may begin to look elsewhere.
Online reviews of BeatStars are positive. The company have a Trustpilot score of 3.9 out of 5. However, the negative reviews do not seem to pertain to a genuine experience on the website. The positive reviews are really enthusiastic, citing the platform’s ability to allow up-and-coming producers and musicians to make money from their music and collaborate with a global network. There is also a focus on the industry resources and advice the site can offer to its users.
Other negative reviews across the internet generally point towards technical hitches in their personal user experience. No consistent negative issues stood out.
In 2021, Fast Company named BeatStars as one of the 10 most innovative music companies of the year.
Pros and cons
– BeatStars provides a trustworthy platform for producers and artists to make money from their content, endorsed by star names and the biggest distribution company in the world
– The website is free for you to use, only paying BeatStars a cut if your music is sold
– Payments are encrypted and protected
– Doubts over copyright infringement checks
– The website is free for all, which negatively impacts quality control
Despite some niggling downsides, BeatStars has been around for long enough to cement its reputation as the leading platform for beat makers and producers. Recent successes with big-name artists and songs significantly aid the platform’s reputation, ensuring trust is retained for years to come.
BeatStars’ collaboration with Sony also bodes well for the future of the company, the platform’s users and the future of the music business.
With the beat-selling market getting more competitive, BeatStars should consider strengthening its copyright detection tools, as well as implementing some form of quality control over the music available on the website.
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