Dubset Media Holdings and Apple Music have announced a partnership, which will allow DJs to stream remixes and mixes that had previous been absent from licensed services due to copyright issues. Dubset will use their proprietary technology, called MixBank, to analyze a remix or long-form DJ mix file, identify recordings inside the file, and properly pay both record labels and music publishers.
The proliferation of EDM and user-generated content has created a major sticking point: how can people stream user-generated remixes, mash-ups and DJ mixes on a service that otherwise offers only the standard tracks and albums it licenses from record labels? It’s a problem for these services, too. People that want to hear this kind of un-licensed content can look elsewhere. In fact, the IFPI estimates that 20 percent of Internet users worldwide regularly listen to some kind of unlicensed music services.
But licensing remixes and DJ mixes, both based on original recordings, is incredibly complex. A single mix could have upward of 600 different rights holders. According to CEO Stephen White, a typical mix has 25 to 30 songs that require payments to 25 to 30 record labels and anywhere from two to ten publishers for each track. Dubset leverages their technology to identify the tracks and then automates the licensing payouts with over 14,000 labels and publishers.
Here’s How Dubset’s MixBank Works
MixBank matches the recordings used in the remix or DJ mix against a database of three-second audio snippets from Gracenote. The “brute force” fingerprinting can provide MixBank with up to 100 possible matches for each three-second match. MixScan then “pulls apart the mixes” and identifies the recording, as well as its stop and start point in each mix. It then matches the songs with the corresponding rights holders.
Any file submitted to Dubset is required to jump through a number of hoops before it is distributed to a digital service. Once an uploaded mix is analyzed, a process Dubset says takes about 15 minutes for a 60-minute file, MixBank checks the recordings, as well as its underlying composition, against the controls and restrictions set by rights holders. For example, rights holders can blacklist an artist, album, or track. They can create a rule to limit the length of a song used in a remix or mix. Rights holders can prevent an artist from being associated with certain other artists and they can control which territories will and will not get the content. Then there’s an optional review process at the end so a rights holder can give a final approval for the file before it is distributed.
The process then moves to the creator. A notification is sent when the content either cleared or didn’t clear. If it cleared, the creator can select the desired distribution services. If the file doesn’t clear, the DJ receives an explanation and can make necessary changes before submitting it again.
In many ways, Dubset is like any other distributor. The service pays Dubset for the content. Dubset then figures out which label and publishers to pay. It retains a percentage of revenue for the service and pays the creator (the remixer or DJ) a share of revenue. Unlike Beatport’s streaming service, major labels and independent labels are paid at the same rates. Big DJs and small DJs also earn the same rates.
The agreement with Apple, and agreements with other services to follow, are sure to well received by remixers and DJs. “Remixes are a huge part of our culture - they allow DJs and fans to put our own creative spin on music,” says DJ Steve Aoki. “Apple working with Dubset now is a really simple solution to something traditionally complex, and allows everyone to make money on this content for the first time.”
Apple is just the start, says Dubset. “The goal is to bring this to all 400 distributors worldwide. When you think about unlocking these millions of hours of content being created, it’s significant monetization for the industry.”