Changing The Music Game Forever

As an independent rapper or singer, you’re probably familiar with the concept of leasing beats.  Beat leasing has been around for more than a decade, with websites like SoundClick and more recently Beatstars bringing the idea mainstream and giving upcoming artists access to high quality instrumentals at a reasonable price like never before.

The set up works like this: the producer gets to keep ownership of their beat while selling non-exclusive licenses to artists for a small fraction of what it would normally cost to buy exclusive rights.  

This allows producers to continuously sell leases of the same beat, providing them with a steady stream of instant income without having to chase placements and wait for inconsistent industry payouts.  Artists benefit by getting instant access to professional beats that can be monetized on streaming platforms without having to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for exclusive ownership of the instrumental in question.  Everybody wins.

Non-exclusive beat licensing has changed the music game forever.  Hit songs like Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road are now emerging from $30 MP3 leases and even major labels are starting to browse the Beatstars Marketplace for tracks for their artists.

The Birth Of The Non-Exclusive Feature

But now a new concept is materializing.  One that has the power to improve the lives of independent artists and disrupt the industry once again: the non-exclusive feature.

Until recently, the thought of an unknown SoundCloud rapper securing a feature from a big-name industry artist was nothing more than a pipe dream.  An established rapper like Rick Ross, for instance, charges upwards of $80,000 for a single verse.  But these top tier acts are starting to partner with production powerhouses like Legion Beats and recording hooks and verses to be sold off non-exclusively to newer artists with much smaller budgets, just like producers did with their beats.  

In the same way that you can get affordable access to world class production thanks to platforms like Beatstars, you can now get features from household names – even if you have no following, clout or major label-type budget.

What’s most exciting about this is that non-exclusive features have the potential to transform the careers of artists on a level beyond what beat leasing has done.  The name recognition of a major artist alone will add tons of ears to independent musicians’ songs and provide their careers with added credibility in the eyes of their fans, followers and perhaps even music industry insiders.

While some may scoff at the thought of other artists out there having access to the exact same verses from these big names, the reality is that at the end of the day, the best music will always rise to the top.  It’s up to you as the artist to release the highest quality tracks that will cut through the noise.  It’s not the tools at your disposal that make the difference, it’s how you’re able to use them.  

Blazing the trail for this new opportunity are the music production juggernauts Legion Beats and Anno Domini.  Their Icons Packs, a series of bundles that include unreleased beats with commercial rights and features from big name artists, have begun to put non-exclusive features in the spotlight.

Their latest installment of the series, Icons 3, includes 30 unreleased beats with commercial rights and verses from Rick Ross, Rich The Kid and Dizzy Wright that artists can incorporate into their own songs and then release onto streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for only $197.

Icons 3 allows rappers and singers to tap into this brand new opportunity before the general public becomes aware of it, providing a distinct advantage to artists who take decisive action and jump at the chance to invest in their music career.

The Future Of Non-Exclusive Features

Where the non-exclusive feature space goes from here is still up in the air, but chances are it will become a main staple for independent artists looking to get ahead.  And best believe, Legion Beats and Anno Domini will be leading the charge, as they always have.

So don't sleep.  Begin exploring non-exclusive features before the cat is completely out of the bag.