The code of the beat.

Should You Tag Your Beats?


Beat-Jacking Concerns Shouldn’t Take Away from the Experience of Your Music

By Amir Said (Sa’id)

Here’s my suggestion regarding beat-tagging: NEVER, EVER, EVER tag your beats!
Beat tags put off too many people—A&Rs don’t like it, and inquiring rappers hate it because they can’t really dig in and write to the beat as soon as they get it.

And think about it: When it comes down to it, a beat tag is really a marketing tool; it’s a means for a beatmaker to let it be known that they were responsible for the creation of the beat. However, a beatmaker’s stamp of authorship should be their music itself, not a vocal tag that streams in and out of their music, with no real purpose other than to advertise that they are indeed the beatmaker of record.

The biggest argument for tagging beats on the grounds of beat-jacking is a weak one. Beats get jacked and/or “borrowed!” That’s nothing new; the digital era just made the practice of beat-jacking faster, easier, and more efficient. And if you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of “dry” beat-jacking going on right now, anyway. If you didn’ already know, perhaps it should be remembered that “biting” another beatmaker’s style and soound is also a form of beat-jacking, albeit indirectly. Moreover, if you’re an unknown beatmaker with quality production, then getting a beat jacked isn’t as bad as you may think.

If your beat gets jacked and someone tries to use it on an RIAA sanctioned commercial release, the paperwork (proper credits and such) will be scrutinized, which means that in the event that your beat gets jacked and makes it on to an officially released album (not a mix tape), then your chances of recourse for filing suit and/or getting the “right attention from the right people” is excellent. That is, provided you have the original data (files, etc.) for the beat in question. Plus, if you register your music with a performance rights society, such as ASCAP or BMI, you’ll have much better legal protection than a mere vocal tag.

The BeatTips Manual by Sa’id.
“The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education.”

Articles, Beatmaking, BeatTips Jewel Droppin', Editor's Choice, Music Business, The BeatTips Community (TBC), Themes, Theories, and Concepts

About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

  • That’s always been a question I’ve had about posting beats online. Beat tagging has always been more of an annoyance than exactly helpful.

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  • It helps to have your music copywriten but there are a lot of broke/uninformed producers out there. So they become the easy target because the real producers get these no names to send them beats and then remake their beats. I have seen it happen more than a few times.
    Get your paper work together and this will not happen to you because you will pray that they do.

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