Amid conversations around rights and royalties it looks one party has been absent from the discussions – DJs. TheFuture.FM is a DJ-centric music streaming service that’s had to tackle the legalities of remixed music, which wouldn’t otherwise appear on the Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services. But the site finally has it figured out with the announcement of what it claims to be the world’s first DJ royalty program – DJs now won’t have to be tied a music label to make and profit from legal remixes.
You may argue over the artistic merit of DJs. They’re mixing, matching, blending, someone else’s work, but if Avicci or David Guetta mean anything to you EDM junkies, you can’t deny that DJs are a staple in today’s music culture. The launch of a royalty system exclusively tailored to this type of music and these creators makes complete sense given the genre’s increasing popularity.
Dubset Media Holdings, the parent company that owns TheFuture.FM, credits its new MixSCAN technology for the brunt of the heavy lifting. MixSCAN is like a forensic music detective. The backend engine algorithmically deciphers uploaded audio files – and these files are usually remixed, meaning hacked, layered, or rearranged. Once it’s able to recognize the song (or songs) that were originally remixed, the relevant rights holders of the original tracks are identified and then paid. The days that remixed songs are taken down by DMCA requests, leaving behind empty URLs might be over soon enough.
Remixes are also a popular and smart social media strategy on YouTube. The fastest DJs to release a remix are usually the ones to reap the most traffic once the original songs are officially released (or leaked). But oftentimes creators will overlook or ignore the legalities. With this in mind Google might want to seek out Dubset Media Holdings (or vise versa) to get a hold of MixSCAN, which ties neatly into YouTube’s content identification efforts.
MixSCAN is only half of the complex royalty equation. DJs can also profit from their remixes, legally. There are three ways to make money. First, fans can pay to have exclusive fan access to their favorite DJs on a yearly basis. Second, a DJ can make money from the typical pay-per-play royalty. Then there’s money that can be made should the DJ play his or her music over livestreamed broadcasts. Dubset claims that DJs can on average make $82,000 per year for every 10,000 fans. That income is a stretch, however. If you’ve looked at the Spotify royalty system, you need 15,000 plays to make around $50. To claim that DJs will make $10,000 per year on pay-per-play royalties is difficult to swallow.
The one percent of TheFuture.FM using DJs might be able to edge out a living, but based on the meager royalty payouts that are a standard in the music industry, banking on these royalties especially if you’re not at Avicii’s level. At least emerging DJs won’t have to hide underground any longer and can share their remixes freely without running the risk of take requests.
Despite any skepticism, it’s am ambitious undertaking, and if you’re interested in helping out with MixSCAN’s final tweaks and getting a few perks in the process, TheFuture.FM’s IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the final development stages is live right now.