Beat remaking is a popular trend especially on platforms like YouTube and other social platforms.
Remaking beats is a tricky subject and has to be well handled when it comes to its legality. Most beginners that want to further their skill with remaking beats usually question the legality of doing so.
This post will give you a good glimpse into this topic so you can arm yourself with this knowledge and keep it at the ready as you go along your remaking journey.
With that said, Is it Illegal to Remake a beat?
Remaking a beat is NOT illegal, however, if the intent behind the remake is to profit or illegally distribute it, this is considered infringing on the rights of the owners of the original beat.
Like I earlier mentioned this is a tricky subject and one has to develop a good understanding to avoid any legal trouble. Therefore keep reading as we discuss this further.
A brief introduction to music Copyright
When it comes to music copyright, in the context of beats you need to understand how it works and it’s implications.
Basically, when you make a beat within your daw from scratch. It means you own the copyright to that composition.
Anybody that comes in and either samples your beat or does any reproduction of any kind infringes on your rights.
Which brings me to my next point…
Intent, Intent, Intent
This factor will heavily come into play when it comes to you remaking a beat and you have to be very careful.
If you’re remaking a beat owned by somebody else for the purpose of profiting from it, what you’re doing is completely illegal and don’t get surprised if you get sued.
However, remaking a beat for educational purposes or showcasing your talent is completely legal and no one will sue you for that.
Which is why you’ll find a lot of beats remade on YouTube and happily uploaded by various people.
They know that they are simply promoting their talent by showing people that they have the ability to remake commercial music.
Which is perfectly legal because the composition is really not being distributed or monetized.
Sometimes people will remake beats for the purpose of selling them to artists.
This is very illegal because you’re reproducing and distributing the original works of the another person.
Therefore, act in good faith and remake for non profit use so you avoid any unnecessary headaches.
It’s become completely normal now for people to post their beats on streaming platforms.
If you’re not in the mood to see that article, well the simple is YES. You can definitely upload your beats to streaming platforms.
With that said, keep the remakes of beats away from streaming services because it is illegal.
Since streaming platforms like spotify will pay you per stream of your beats it means having a remake on a streaming platform constitutes monetizing it, which is illegal.
It’s always to have a way around some beats that you might want to remake and work with.
If you want to remake a beat and end up using it for profit you could:
You can use the same chord progressions and drum patterns because they are pretty much fair game. You can copy these without running into trouble and this is one of the loopholes that come with copyright.
However, copying melodies and baselines can get you into trouble because it would constitute deriving from an original work or composition.
Therefore, most people will advise you to either try techniques like transposing melodies or simply altering them by at-least 20% so they sound a bit different from the original.
Lastly you can always count on your beat not sounding exactly the same which could be a safe bet for you because you could get a good lawyer to argue that your material is not an exact match of the original composition, but this is all very contextual and it is quite a risk on your part.
Therefore you can use a better technique which I’ll explain in my next point.
A good practice
Remaking and using a beat for the purpose of monetizing is a bad way of going about things and can lead to serious legal repercussions.
A good practice is not to remake the beat completely to sound like the original.
Try to make something similar to the beat because it can at-least help you exercise your creative abilities as well as give you full ownership of your composition with no fear of legal ramifications that may arise from the reproduction of somebody else’s composition.
The “type beat” way of doing things that most YouTube producers do is a great way to match the vibe of a beat in a very legal manner.
Remaking a beat for purely education purposes and/or non-profit ways is perfectly legal. Therefore so long as theres no monetization involved, you’re free to remake beats.