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Beats by KHARMA

Tracked Out Stem Files
& why you need them

Tracked Out Stem Files – and why you need them

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Table of Contents

If you’re looking to record your songs professionally, you really can’t go without the tracked out stems of a beat. Tracked out stems are of tremendous value but that’s only if you use them appropriately. For some artists, this is new territory. So, allow me to explain why you’re much better off buying a beat license that includes these stems.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What tracked out stems are
  • What they are typically used for
  • Why they are so much better than a single MP3 or WAV file of a beat
  • Why they are more expensive compared to licensing options with a single MP3 or WAV

What are Tracked Out stems?

The terms ‘Tracked Out Files’, ‘Track Stems’, or Tracked Out Stems’ are commonly mentioned in online producers licensing option. They generally come with a more expensive (non-exclusive) license.

Licensing Table

First, we have to separate two different types of stems typically used in the music industry.

  1. Individual stems (Tracks)
  2. Group stems

Individual Stems (Tracks):

Individual stems are single instrument tracks or vocal tracks. For example, an individual audio file for the Kick, Snare, Guitar, Piano or Lead Vocal, backing vocal, ad-lib etc. When you’re buying beats online, these are usually considered as the stems.

Group Stems:

Group stems are a group of sounds of a category packed in a single audio file. Such as the group of all drums, the group of all guitar tracks or the group of all recorded vocals of a track (also known as an acapella track). These group stems are often used by mastering engineers, video editors and producers in film productions.

Individual Stems vs. Group Stems

In order to increase the overall quality of your song, you’d want to go for the individual tracks, rather than the group stems.

Producers generally consider ‘tracked out stems’ as the individual stems anyway so no worries about that.

On a side note: After a song is mixed by audio engineers, they sometimes export your song to group stems for mastering purposes. But to avoid confusion, we’ll not go into the details of that in this guide.

What are tracked out stems used for?

There are many reasons why professionals work with stems but it all comes down to the same thing.

Being in CONTROL!

  • Being in control of the overall mix
  • In control of the song arrangement
  • Controlling the volume levels of each individual track
  • Being able to control certain frequencies of an individual track
  • And so on…

Producers and audio engineers need to have control over the mix in order to deliver a song that meets the industry quality standard.

This is where tracked out stems are used for.

What if you’re an artist, recording and mixing your own songs?

A lot of independent artists record and mix their songs themselves. If that’s you, the same principles apply.

Tracked out stems will offer endless possibilities to make your vocals stand out better and increase the overall quality of your songs.

Small tweaks to the volume levels of the beat stems can already make a world of difference. You don’t have to be a professional audio engineer to do that.

The same applies to equalizing instrumental tracks to make room for your vocals. Take control of the entire mix and do not depend on just your vocal tracks and a single file of the beat.

Facts are every song needs (small) adjustments in different areas. Always!

Why stems are better than a single MP3 or WAV file

First of all, if you’re serious about your music career, don’t use MP3 files for your songs. 🤦🏽‍♂️

MP3’s are not industry standard and won’t even get you close to a level of quality similar to what you hear on the radio. Simply because the quality of MP3 files are poor.

If you’re outsourcing mixing and mastering to an audio engineer and you send him your vocal tracks and an MP3 file of the beat to work with. He’ll probably laugh in your face.

Like I said, mixing songs is all about being in control. Having just a single track to work with that’s also of the lowest quality possible prevents the audio engineer from doing a proper job.

But there’s another reason why I would not recommend a single-track MP3 or WAV file–for that matter.

Beware of Mastered versions!

If you’re buying beats from online producers, almost all single-track (MP3 or WAV formatted) beats have been mastered by the producer before they uploaded it to their store.

What this means, in simple terms, is that they’ve boosted the volume and enhanced certain frequencies of that beat. They do this to improve the quality and have it meet the volume standards in, for example, their YouTube videos.

However, for some producers, it’s also the version that they sell to you when you buy a license.

This greatly impacts the quality of your song. Because, after you’re done recording your vocals, you’ll have to send it off for mastering yourself.

Unfortunately, you can’t master an already mastered instrumental!

This is a major issue for artists that typically go for the cheaper licensing options. Even worse for those who download beats (illegally) from YouTube! 😤

Here’s an example of a song by someone who used a mastered MP3 file off of an online producers YouTube, made a song to it, and then mastered it again.

And here’s the original beat:

Notice how his version sounds squashed and super low quality. The vocals are also completely off balance compared to the instrumental. It’s nowhere near industry standard quality.

This is a perfect example of what your song could potentially sound like when you’re using mastered single-track versions of a beat.

Again, some producers sell these mastered versions with their cheapest licenses.

In my case, only my MP3 license comes with a mastered version. All other licenses come with non-mastered versions of the beat.

Why licenses with tracked out stems are more expensive

Producers ask a higher, yet fair rate, for licenses that come with tracked out stems. It could be anywhere between $100-200 a license.

By now, you’ve learned all about the benefits of using stems and hopefully, we can agree that it’s a good investment to make.

It simply gives you the best bang for your buck and it’s all about creating a song that has the potential to become big. 🚀 This is in both you and the producer’s best interest.

If I may speak freely about my own reasoning for the price, user-rights and benefits of the more expensive licenses.

With these tracked out stems, I’m giving you more control over the instrumental. The opportunity to make a good quality song with it.

But, besides the stems, you’ll also get better user-rights. This allows you to distribute the song across multiple streaming platforms, maximise your exposure and see a higher return on investment. 🤑

What if you really can’t afford the more expensive licenses?

Understandable! We all have to work with what we have.

In that case, I would recommend getting at least a license with a WAV version. It’s limited in terms of mixing and mastering but with the right audio engineer, you can get a pretty good sounding mix.

However, I do not recommend this for singles, albums, EP’s, (official) music videos or any tracks that are going to be sold on iTunes or other platforms. Or streamed on platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music.

These are the platforms where songs blow up these days. You can get added to Spotify playlists or get on the radar of major labels through the exposure you’re getting there.

Trust me, you don’t want to have a hit record in your hands but miss your big break because of a low-quality song. 🙂

Did you come here to determine which license to buy from my store?

If you came here to make up your mind about which license to buy from my store. Hopefully, I’ve given you the answers that you were looking for.

If not, feel free to reach out anytime.

On a different note; If you’re not up for making the investment right away and your budget forces you to go for a less expensive license. Just know that you can always upgrade your license at a later stage. You’ll only pay the difference between the set price of the licenses. (This does not apply to all online producers!)

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Price: $50

 

Beginners license that is typically used by beginner artists that do not expect the song to go big.

This license comes with one single industry-quality WAV-file, but not with tracked-out files. (harder to get a better mix).

Radio airplay is not permitted. 

This license does not give the rights to a music video.

 

Allowed on Spotfiy & Apple Music
- but only for up to 50,000 streams combined

 

 

Price: $99 $95

 

Professional license, most popular among artists that are releasing their song on platforms like Spotify, iTunes - or perform with the song in live (paid) performances.

This license comes with high-quality tracked-out files which are essential for mixing songs professionally. 

Allowed 100,000 streams and 10,000 sales - possibility to upgrade if you get above it.

 

We do not recommend this license if you’re looking to create a music video for YouTube. 

 

 

Price: $199 $195

 

Professional license with no limitations on streams, plays or sales.

This license is generally purchased by artists that believe their song has the potential to surpass the streaming caps of other licenses. 

We strongly recommend this license to artists that want to create and monetise a music video for YouTube. 

 

Allows for radio play.

 

This license allows your song to be played on TV/Movies.

Basic License 

Trackouts + Premium License

(Most Popular)

Unlimited License

 


Price: $30

 

Promotional license that is typically used by beginner artists who does not want to profit from their song.

Comes with MP3-file.

Radio airplay is not permitted. 

This license does not give the rights to a music video.


Not allowed on Spotify, iTunes Music, YouTube with monetisation, or any other service with monetisation.

Good for FREE mixtapes and FREE downloads.

Non Profit License

This is a basic-level non-exclusive license agreement (the “Non Profit Agreement”), effective as of (the “Effective Date”) by and between the “Producer” or “Licensor”); and John Doe residing at {CUSTOMER_ADDRESS} (“you” or “Licensee”), regarding all the terms for Licensee’s use of, and the rights granted in, the Producer’s master recording and underlying musical composition entitled Track Title (collectively, the “Beat”). 

1. License Fee: Producer’s receipt of a – licensee fee (the “Non Profit Fee”) from you is a precondition to this Non Profit Agreement. 

2. Delivery of the Beat: Following receipt of the Non Profit Fee and execution of this Non Profit Agreement, Producer will email a link to the Beat in MP3 for the Beat (as such terms are understood in the music industry), to the email address you provided to Producer.  

3. Term: The Term of this Non Profit Agreement shall be ten (10) years and this license shall expire on the ten (10) year anniversary of the Effective Date.

4. Use of the Beat:

a. Non-Exclusive. The Beat is being licensed to you on a non-exclusive basis, which means for example without limitation that Producer may continue to exploit the Beat and/or license it to other third parties. 

b. Making One New Song. You will have a limited, non-exclusive, nontransferable license to create one (1) new, substantially different (i.e., with substantial unique addition) derivative musical composition (the “New Composition”) and one (1) new derivative master recording (the “New Recording”) incorporating the Beat. For example, you may choose to record your own topline vocals over the Beat, and/or incorporate all or portions/samples of the Beat into the instrumental music of a New Composition and New Recording. You will have the right to modify the arrangement, tempo, duration, and/or pitch of the Beat in preparation of the New Composition and New Recording. You will not have the right to sublicense the New Composition and/or New Recording to third parties (e.g., you may not permit anyone to “sample” your New Recording in a subsequent master recording). 

c. Promotional / Free Use Only. You may only exploit and/or permit exploitation of the New Composition and New Recording in non-paid uses—e.g., where people don’t have to pay to listen to and/or download it. For example, you may release the New Recording for free download, include it on a free mixtape or free compilation of music, or release it on non-monetized digital streaming service (such as SoundCloud, but not, for example, via Spotify or Apple Music). 

d. No Public Performances. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, you not may perform the New Recording (and/or underlying New Composition) publicly (for example, in a live concert performance, at a festival, or in a nightclub), and even if people are paying to see you perform.

e. No Radio. You may not pitch, submit or permit the pitching or submission of the New Composition and New Recording for performance on terrestrial, satellite, or internet radio (e.g., over-the-air radio, Sirius XM, Pandora, etc.)—any such use would require your purchase of an UNLIMITED License in connection with the Beat. 

f. 0 Video. You may synchronize (use) the New Composition and New Recording in zero (0) audiovisual work (“Video”). The duration of the Video can’t exceed the longer of: (i) five (5) minutes; and (ii) the duration of the New Composition as embodied on the New Recording. The Video can’t be used to promote any third- party product or service—it can only be used to promote the New Composition and New Recording. You may exploit the Video only on free-access internet video platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, and/or Vevo), and you may not monetize the Video (on those platforms or otherwise). The description of the Video on such video platforms must include credit to KHARMA as producer. You may not license or permit the Video to be broadcast on television networks, or to be otherwise licensed to third parties. For the avoidance of doubt, the New Composition and/or New Recording (and/or Beat) may not be synchronized with or incorporated in any other audiovisual work—for example without limitation, in any commercial, television show, film, or video game. 

g. No ContentID Registration. You may not register or permit the registration of the New Composition and/or New Recording with any content identification system or service (for example without limitation, with YouTube’s ContentID, whether directly or through a third party). This is a non-exclusive license agreement, and the Beat may have been or may yet be licensed to third parties for their own use; if any licensed users of the Beat tried to register their derivative songs, the content identification system might improperly flag all other users of the Beat as infringing uses. 

h. 0 Distribution Copy/10,000 Stream Cap. Your rights to exploit a New Composition and New Recording are subject to a maximum aggregate number of ten thousand (10,000) streams and zero (0) distribution copies (physical, or digital downloads), across all services and platforms (for illustrative example, if the Video had half (50%) of 10,000 plays on YouTube and the New Recording had half (50%) of 10,000 + one (1) streams on SoundCloud, that would be a breach of this paragraph). If you are approaching the foregoing cap on your rights to use the Beat, New Composition, and New Recording, you must either remove the New Composition and New Recording from all platforms, or you must purchase a new higher-level license of the Beat from Producer (e.g., an UNLIMITED License), before exceeding the foregoing cap. 

i. No Direct Use of the Beat. For the avoidance of doubt, you are not getting any right to exploit the Beat directly, only to create and exploit a New Composition and New Recording that incorporates the Beat along with sufficient new and unique material to distinguish the New Composition and New Recording from and not directly compete with the Beat. 

5. Credit: You will have the right to use and permit others to use Producer’s approved name “KHARMA” for purposes of the New Recording and “KHARMA” for purposes of the New Composition, but solely in connection with uses of the New Composition and New Recording permitted hereunder. You will use best efforts to have Producer credited as a “producer” of the New Recording (e.g., “Produced by KHARMA”) and co-writer of the New Composition (e.g., “Co-written by KHARMA [and other co-writers]” in any and all metadata, liner notes, and/or other customary place for such credits in connection with all exploitations of the New Recording and/or New Composition (as applicable), and in a manner no less favorable to Producer than credit accorded to any other producer or songwriter of the master recordings and musical compositions (respectively) bundled with the New Recording and/or New Composition. In the event of any failure to have Producer properly credited, you will use reasonable efforts to cure such failure immediately on a prospective basis.

6. Royalties: In addition to the Non Profit Fee, you agree to pay the following royalties to Producer, either by directing the distributor of your records to do so (i.e., your record label, or the digital distribution company you use, e.g., DistroKid), or by doing so yourself (e.g., to PayPal ID: whoismarcel@gmail.com, or via Producer banking information that may be provided upon emailed request): 

a. Mechanical Royalties. When a copy of a master recording like the New Recording is sold (either on a CD, or when someone buys it on a service like iTunes) or streamed (e.g., on a service like Apple Music or Spotify), copyright law requires that the songwriters get paid a royalty called a mechanical license. You agree to make sure that Producer is paid mechanical royalties for Producer’s 50% songwriting share of the New Composition, at the minimum statutory rate. 

b. Producer Royalties. For Producer’s production of the Beat you intend to use in the New Recording, you agree to pay Producer 50% of everything you make from the New Recording. 

7. Ownership: Producer has written and composed the Beat, which is commonly treated as one-half of the total songwriting on a musical composition (and you agree that Producer retains a 50% ownership of the copyright in the New Composition). The Producer is and shall remain the sole owner and holder of all right, title, and interest in the Beat, including all copyrights to and in the sound recording and the underlying musical compositions written and composed by Producer. Nothing contained herein shall constitute an assignment by Producer to Licensee of any of the foregoing rights. You may not register or attempt to register (or permit the registration or attempted registration) of the Beat with the U.S. Copyright Office. You may own a copyright to the extent of your contributions embodied in the New Song and New Recording (e.g., your topline lyrics, melody, and/or other new instrumental elements), but any registration or claim of copyright as to the New Song and/or New Recording must be as a derivative work disclaiming any ownership to the copyright(s) in the Beat.  For the avoidance of doubt, there is no intention of the parties for the New Composition and/or New Recording to constitute a joint work for purposes of copyright law, and Producer does not herein grant to you any rights in or to any other derivative works that may have been or may yet be created by third parties based on the Beat. Producer reserves to itself any and all rights in and to the Beat not expressly granted to you herein. You will, upon request, execute, acknowledge and deliver to Producer such additional documents as Producer may deem necessary to evidence and effectuate Producer’s rights hereunder, and you hereby grant to Producer the right as attorney-in-fact to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record in the U.S. Copyright Office or elsewhere any and all such documents if you fail to execute same within five (5) days after so requested by Producer. 

8. Breach by You: 

a. If you fail to cure any breach of this Non Profit Agreement within five (5) business days of Producer providing you with written notice of a breach, Producer will have the right to immediately terminate this Non Profit Agreement, and if Producer notifies you of such termination, you will have no further right to use the Beat in the New Composition, New Recording, and/or Video (and you must immediately cause them to be no longer available to the public). 

b. If you use the Beat, New Composition, New Recording, and/or any Video in a manner not expressly permitted in this Non Profit Agreement, you agree to pay Producer any and all amounts previously or thereafter collected, received, or credited to you or any third party in connection with such exploitation of the Beat, New Composition, New Recording, and/or Video (as applicable). 

c. You recognize and agree that a breach or threatened breach by you of this Non Profit Agreement could cause irreparable injury to Producer, which may not be adequately compensated by monetary damages. Accordingly, in the event of a breach or threatened breach by you, Producer shall be entitled to a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction restraining you from violating the provisions of this Non Profit Agreement. 

d. Nothing herein shall prohibit Producer from pursuing any other available legal or equitable remedy in connection with breach or threatened breach of this Non Profit Agreement, including but not limited to the recovery of monetary damages from you. 

9. Representations, Warranties, and Indemnification: 

a. Producer represents and warrants that Producer has the full right and ability to enter into this Non Profit Agreement and grant those rights granted herein. Producer warrants that the exploitations of the Beat permitted hereunder will not infringe upon or violate any common law or statutory right of any person, firm, or corporation; including, without limitation, contractual rights, copyrights, and right(s) of privacy and publicity and will not constitute libel and/or slander. 

b. You represent and warrant that exploitation of the New Composition and/or New Recording hereunder will not infringe upon or violate any common law or statutory right of any person, firm, or corporation; including, without limitation, contractual rights, copyrights, and right(s) of privacy and publicity and will not constitute libel and/or slander. Just to be clear, Producer takes no responsibility whatsoever as to any elements added to the New Composition and/or New Recording by Licensee or any third party, and Licensee indemnifies and holds Producer harmless for any and all such elements. 

c. Parties hereto shall indemnify and hold each other harmless from any and all third party claims, liabilities, costs, losses, damages, judgments, costs, and expenses as are actually incurred by the non-defaulting party (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising in connection with any breach or claim of breach of this Non Profit Agreement by the defaulting party, their agents, heirs, successors, assigns and employees, which have been reduced to final judgment or settled with the defaulting party’s consent. The non- defaulting party shall give the defaulting party prompt written notice of all claims giving rise to indemnification obligations hereunder, and the defaulting party shall have the right to participate in the defense of such claims with counsel of its choice at its sole expense. 

10. Miscellaneous: In no event shall Artist be entitled to seek injunctive or any other equitable relief for any breach or non-compliance with any provision of this Non Profit Agreement. This Non Profit Agreement constitutes the entire understanding of the parties and cannot be changed or waived, in whole or in part, except in writing signed by both parties hereto. This Non Profit Agreement supersedes all prior agreements between the parties, whether oral or written. Should any provision of this Non Profit Agreement be held to be void, invalid or inoperative, such decision shall not affect any other provision hereof, and the remainder of this Non Profit Agreement shall be effective as though such void, invalid or inoperative provision had not been contained herein. No failure by Producer hereto to perform any of its obligations hereunder shall be deemed a material breach of this agreement until you give Producer written notice of its failure to perform, and such failure has not been corrected within thirty (30) days of notice (or, if such breach is not reasonably capable of being cured that quickly, Producer does not commence to cure such breach within said time period, and proceed with reasonable diligence thereafter). This agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Sweden applicable to agreements entered into and wholly performed in said State, without regard to any conflict of laws principles. You hereby agree that the exclusive jurisdiction and venue for any action, suit or proceeding based upon any matter, claim or controversy arising hereunder or relating hereto shall be in the state or federal courts located in Sweden. You don’t have the right to make any money off the Beat, the New Composition, or the New Recording except as specifically allowed in this Non Profit Agreement. You shall be deemed to have signed, affirmed and ratified your acceptance of the terms of this Non Profit Agreement by virtue of your payment of the Non Profit Fee to Producer and your electronic acceptance of the terms and conditions (e.g., at the time of your payment of the Non Profit Fe