Published on July 29th, 2009 | by FuNkwoRm


MUSIC INDUSTRY 101: What Is A Beat Maker vs. Producer?


by Lola Sims

Ignorance to an industry that you claim is a big part of your life as well as your livelihood is a major mistake. This type of ignorance can ultimately lead to you being mislead, taken advantage of, and at worse screwed out of money and royalties. Understanding the difference between a beat maker and a producer is the Industry 101 lesson of the day.


Usually this is the person who sells or leases the beat to an artist before ideas, lyrics, arrangements, etc. are done. This person has no influence on how the record turns out or the direction of the project. Once you get the beat, exclusivity not a lease, your pretty much done with this person until your album is released.

Industry Terminology Leased Beat Means that the beat maker is free to let other artist lease the beat until exclusivity is bought. As soon as exclusivity is bought (make sure you have your paperwork straight) the lease is then that of the purchaser.


A producer is the person who decides the direction of the project. They take the beat and help it to evolve into a song. They are there in the studio and have active voice in the arrangements, pitches, and tone. They are then given producer rights for their input and hard work. Sometimes a beat maker is involved in the production of the song depending on their level of involvement. This starts to get a little tricky depending on the situation. For example producers like Jazzy Pha, Jermain Dupri, and Timbaland have beat makers signed to them. This allows them to have a variation of different sounds to fit different artists. But because they have these beat makers signed to them, they are able to take the headline credit for the work even though they are just involved in the direction. Although the beat maker receives payment they often don’t receive the credit at the end of the day.

I bring these points up because, I have noticed recently that a lot of Independents are attributing album points, credit, and money, to beat makers when they have nothing to do with the actual project. Anyone who doesn’t tell you this, when you are working with them, definitely doesn’t have your best interest at heart. If you, as an Indie buy a beat and you go into the studio and decide your own direction for the song, its arrangements, and breakdowns than you ARE the PRODUCER


I’m not saying that sometimes these worlds don’t collide because they do. We see this in someone like producer, composer, song writer, Bryan Michael Cox, who is responsible for hits for Danity Kane, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Fantasia, Toni Braxton and a number of others.


Lola Sims is a publicist for artists

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About the Author

FuNkwoRm is a music producer, creator of the hip hop comic strip, Rap Ratz, and has a dope backspin.

  • This subject has been argued time and time again, and most times people still get it WRONG. Thank you for shedding light on this, and for helping to steer our peers in the right direction.

  • Stereo

    For the young beat makers out there if you wanna step your game and cash up learn how to cut vocals (arrange), write and/or tweak lyrics, have some engineering knowledge, and be a great problem solver…this would make you a producer!

  • This true is true. I try to tell artist out there that they need a producer to arrange their music from beginning to end and they must master their music. A beat maker can not do this, they can only provide you with a beat and they are usually assistance to the producer. not everyone who uses fruitloops is a producer okay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love ya

  • I agree with Stereo. There is no easy option but to learn the proper way, and get to grips with the equipment they use in the studio ie protools making music is also not just putting a bunch of samples together that things a kids toy lol..

  • nigga

    fuck this


    this subject is like trying to explain the difference between red and burgundy and maroon to a blind man…

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  • 1freshbeat

    Free hiphop instrumental beats for private non profit use:

  • Andre jones

    SO if i am a beat maker and my sing sells platinum and i can find it on wikipedia will mt name show up as a songwriter and will i get performance and mechanical royalties??

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  • Killa MusiQ

    If all you did was make the beat and had no creative direction in the song as a whole, then you are considered what we call a “programmer.” If you, (for instance) made the beat while the song was being written then you get your writers and publishing. However, you don’t get production credit/points/etc. unless you coordinated everything for the song as a whole. Basically producers are the “boss” when it comes to the song.

  • Kathi Cochra

    Lola, how would an artist go about properly citing the person who put the mix beat together? In this case the mix beat is public on for use, but the lyrics are original by the artist singing.

  • Kellz The Producer

    Need beats? Visit my website at to browse rap beats I have produced influenced by today’s top artist.We don’t just provide great CUSTOMER SERVICE. We build RELATIONSHIPS!!!!!

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  • Rare MindFrame

    Im a music producer, I promote artist i produced and others. Sub Share and enjoy

    Thank You for the support

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