If you're an artist who shops beats on places like YouTube and Beatstars, you probably have noticed how many beats there are that say they are “free”. Free beats seem a lot more preferable than paying for beats... and this is true... depending on what “level” of artist you are. When I say “level” I'm not really referring to skill set. What I mean is what level are you at with you career as an artist. Are you just starting out?... Been doing it a minute but still trying to find your way? Got a small fan base and building?.. etc..
Being honest, I feel like, exclusive is always the way to go for SERIOUS artists. When you're an artist really building a career in music you have to match your seriousness with action. When you're really going for it you don't want to release songs to the world that someone else can come and snatch up (at least the beat part). You want to be the only person with this beat because it's for YOUR song. Also, with the limited rights leases you automatically put a ceiling on how much you can do with the song. What if this song is the one and you don't have full control of it? What if it's blowing up and then someone else buys the exclusive? Imagine someone else owning the rights to your hit beat! It's about ownership, also. The moguls in this game make the big bucks because of ownership. In the long run (or short run, as much as possible) you want to own as much of your musical works as possible. That way you can decide to sell it off, place it on TV etc, if you want to. You at lease have options. Those options are not available to you with leased and free beats.
But again, there's levels to this thing. For artists just starting out or artists that aren't fully on board with this music thing as a career, the lease options are probably a wiser choice. If you're not intending to make money off of your music at all, then the free beats may be the way to go, at least for now. You have to decide for yourself where you're going to take your career because... how do you get somewhere if you don't know where you're going? There really are levels to this. Decide where yours is gonna be and get to work on it!