The Pros & Cons of Free Backing Tracks - Music Made Pro

· By Will Harken

The Pros & Cons of Free Backing Tracks

So you want to find the perfect free backing track for your vocals? Before continuing your search, you should know the true pros and cons of free backing tracks. Read this article to see what you might be missing.

 

The Pros

Free Backing Tracks Are... Well, Free

If you are just starting out, free can be a good thing. It can be scary to hire someone to make a custom track for the first time.

 

And it can also be scary to spend hundreds of dollars on pro backing track. So if you're just getting started in music, free backing tracks can be a good option for you to sing or rap over. Get your feet wet!

 

If your first single is a financial flop... no harm, no foul. Just a nice little learning experience that didn't cost anything other than some of your time.

 

Backing Tracks Are Fast

There are A LOT of free backing tracks for songs these days. And there are more online marketplaces than ever before.

 

Like BeatStars.

 

 

Most online marketplaces have filters for you to search by BPM, key, genre, or anything else that might be important to find the downloadable backing tracks you need.

 

So if you need a major backing track (happier) or a minor backing track (sadder), these services will have you covered.

 

This gives you the ability to launch your first single SUPER FAST.

 

If you have a DIY studio setup, you could potentially finish a single in half a day. And move on to the marketing of your release. Like TikTok. Or music videos. Marketing is equally, if not more, important.

 

Even if you hire a mixing engineer to mix your vocals, using a backing track will undoubtedly be faster than hiring a producer to make a custom backing track.

 

High-Quality Tracks Can Still Be Free

Because the market of producers and beatmakers is so oversaturated, you can find high-quality beats for free.

 

Even just a decade ago, you would have probably heard a noticeable quality drop if you used a free backing track.

 

But here in the 2020s, the price and the quality of backing tracks aren’t necessarily related.

 

That being said, you WILL run into some quality issues if you mix your vocals overtop of an MP3 if that’s the only audio format available (more on this in the CONS section).

 

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Start a song here to create a one of a kind backing track.

 

 

The Cons

Free Backing Tracks Aren’t Unique

If you're using a track that is free for literally anybody and everybody, 100 other people could end up using the same backing track. 

 

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That might not be an issue to you, personally.

 

But if your audience finds out your music isn't as original as they thought, your reputation could take a hit. This definitely depends on your genre/audience though.

 

Additionally, Shazam and other music identification services might not be able to identify your version of the song. So curious listeners might see the name of another song when they hear yours.

 

The best way to avoid this is to license an exclusive beat. Usually pricier, but there are ways to get exclusive beats for cheap!

 

Often Not As Creative Or Original

Most producers will start working on a track knowing it’s a freebie.

 

Because they don’t stand to make money directly, they may not try as hard to make the track super original.

 

They might, for example, load up a simple track they worked on previously. Make a few changes... maybe to instrument melodies and chords. Then export the backing track and call it a day.

 

Then they will probably spend the left-over time on a track they can actually sell. 

 

This isn't always the case, but free backing tracks might not be as complete or creative as they should be.

 

That being said, most music isn't super original or unique anyway. A lot of songs within a genre sound the same. So it might not matter to you.

 

Related Article: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A MUSIC PRODUCER?

Usage Caps

Free accompaniment tracks for singers will often have usage caps. Meaning, you can only get so many listens or views on the song before you have to “upgrade” your license.

 

Usually, there will be an agreement document on the website where you downloaded the track. Worst case, you can email/DM the producer and ask.

 

Just be sure to understand your usage rights before your download the backing track and record your next single.

 

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Possible Quality Issues With The Song

When a backing track is free, you will usually either get access to a high-quality WAV or a lower-quality MP3.

 

Personally, I would advise against mixing your vocals over an MP3. But lots of people do it. And if you can get away with it, and don’t care, go for it!

 

Mixing a song with just the vocal recordings and a single WAV of a backing track can work. But the truth is, you will get a better result if the mixing engineer has stems of each instrument layer in the song. That way, they can dial in each individual part to taste.

 

From what I’ve seen, you usually have to pay in order to get stems from a producer.

 

Get The Perfect Backing Track for Your Song

Click here to start a song with an ORIGINAL backing track. It's not free, but it's affordable and it's music that's truly yours. Be sure to select "Original Music" and "Full Buyout License" during checkout.

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