The issue of royalties from DJ mixes has been an issue for a long time. Mixes, unlike radio plays, vary so wildly that it’s difficult to keep track of what’s being played where and when. Estimates report “that the number of tracks sampled each year in mix and remix contests equals around 120 billion.” That’s a lot of data to keep track of, especially when considering samples, vocal cuts and fade in/outs out of transitions. It’s often the case (unless you’re playing a prog house set) that you won’t even play a full track, let alone an identifiable sample edited by pitch, reverb, and other effects.
Dubset wants to solve this issue once and for all.
For the past two years, the company has been testing its MixSCAN technology on its host site, TheFuture.com, with about 100,000 users. MixSCAN can identify individual tracks within mixes and distribute royalties to underlying rights holders in a matter of seconds. It can also measure how much of the track was consumed, which helps solve the problem of determining the value of fragments of songs.
Major artists are already supporting the technology, including Tiesto, Afrojack and David Guetta. It’s not really surprising considering these artists want a constant revenue stream from wherever they can muster it. (But that’s beside the point.)
All three have started uploading their entire libraries to Dubset’s music registry.
Although Dubset CEO Bob Barbiere said, “This program begins and ends with DJs. Rather than trying to ban their medium, we have a way to make it legal,” it seems the technology is geared primarily toward recouping major labels and industry execs. Even Ethan Rudin, Rhapsody’s chief financial officer, the company that partly funded Dubset’s startup, said Rhapsody is “particularly interested” in any program that monetizes electronic music. The majority of listeners in today’s economy are literally freeloaders, not only expecting DJs to give tracks away for free, but actually turning away from them if they don’t. Many fans, including myself, choose to find other ways to support artists including attending shows and purchasing merch, but it’s too little too late.
Still, Dubset will help in potentially keeping mixes up on streaming services. By acquiring the rights and dishing out royalties, the issue of mixes with unapproved or unauthorized tracks will be solved and artists will be able to upload whatever they want – as long as the original artist gets paid.