This articles explains the difference between Sample packs, Construction Kits, Beats, background music and MIDI Compositions, which are either royalty free or require sample clearance or a royalty shares.
Our Sample packs are 100% royalty free, but not all Sample packs are!
All sample packs, construction kits, MIDI packs and Beats should come with a license, but the terms and conditions included can differ depending on the product provider. Some will require clearance or registration which means the sample pack provider can take a percentage of the revenue you make. Others will only want a split in royalties if the tracks using the samples are successful, for example if your track is hitting over 1 million streams, or your releasing the music through a major record label.
>Other sample or music sample providers will allow you to use their music and samples only if its part of a video campaign or podcast. The samples or music provider will own 100% of the track, sample or loop, but the license you purchase will allow you to use the music as part of the background, again a podcast or advert. You will not be allowed to pass this music off as your own and it will remain the property of the provider.
What Are 'Beats'?
A current and popular term for a type or sample pack, or even construction kit, is 'Beats'. These are similar to construction kits but much less versatile as you are buying a produced track which comes with individual stems, rather than the tools to make your own track. Beats are the most popular in the Hip Hop and Trap genres, and are marketed towards vocalists, rappers or Mc's who will use the beats to record over. Generally Beats are produced as a pre-set arrangement, however the stems are included which makes them versatile enough to be re-arranged or even remix.
Are Beats Royalty Free?
Unlike sample pack and construction kits, Beats typically involve a royalty split. Although Beats can be royalty free, the majority will include a strict royalty share license. The Beat provider can take anything from 50%, or less, of publishing royalties, and 2% to 10% on mastering royalties. Mastering Royalties mean if the track is remixed, or a loop of the track is used, and a new production is created, then the Beat maker will still hold a royalty from the recorded rights.
Are MIDI Packs Royalty free?
Much Like Sample packs, MIDI packs come with a license, but generally they are royalty free. The copyright of a composition is different to the composition of a recording. A composition is an intellectual property and much less black and white than a recording. If the MIDI file is a rip off of someone's song, then it will be classed as theft of someone's intellectual rights. A combination of chord progressions and rhythms, whether used before, is much harder to class as intellectual theft as lots of songs are made from very similar chords, rhythms and concepts.
Ultimately always check the license, if they are being sold as royalty free and the product license states confirms this, then it the sample pack, construction kit, MIDI or beats producer should have created the product without ripping or stealing from anyone else, if they have then one, shame on them and two, it is their look out. The license takes away the buyers responsibility and the ownership is on the head of the seller.
What is copyright?
A copyright is put in place to stop others copying or using the copyright owners work and passing it off as their own. A song gains copyright once it has been recorded, this can be notation, written lyrics as well as an audio recording. it’s wise to hold evidence showing when it was recorded, which is easy in the digital world, however if using more traditional recording methods, then posting the recording back to yourself in an unopened envelope will provide a time/date stamp.
A song can have multiple ownerships and multiple types of copyright depending on the contribution towards the final copyrighted song. The different types of copyrights are, recording copyright and song writing copyright.
I have set out the differences below
Song writing Copyright
This is known as intellectual property, it is the ownership of the lyrics and a combination of melody, chords and rhythm composition of the song. In most cases the ownership would be the composer of the song and the lyricist as they will hold initial intellectual copyright. If another song performer would then perform a copy, or cover of the song in a public place, then permission, or a license would be needed, otherwise this would breach the copyright of the song. If the original recording of the song is played in public, then permissions or licenses will also be needed from the songwriter copyright owner.
Also know as master copyright, and is separate to the song writing copyright. Whoever owns the recording of the song, this could be the composer, record label, or a music studio, or a combination of people can own the recording copyright. This Recoding ownership would depend on the contract and agreed conditions set out with the composer prior to making the recording. This copyright would be relevant if the recording was played in a public environment, or part of the recording is used, or a new song using a sample of the recording was used.
Copyright owners want you to play their songs and recordings as this creates them revenue. Permissions to play the song or/and a recording of the song in a public space is obtained through an agreement or a license. Typically the license is purchased by the venue or business owner and gives the business, or venue, permission to play the copyrighted music and recordings. The revenue gained through purchasing the license is then distributed to the copyright holders, this payment is known as a royalty.
A royalty is a payment made to the copyright owner for public use of a songs composition or recording. This could be part of a song, a recreation of a song, a performance of a song or playing the whole recording. The idea is the copyright owner gains a payment when their music contributes to a potential financial revenue, this could be music played in a public venue, a remix, or a covers bands playing the song owners music.