This week Apple and a company called Dubset announced a partnership that will bring an onslaught of unofficial remixes and DJ mixes to Apple Music. Thousands and thousands of mash-ups, bootlegs, club mixes, and more are set to launch on Apple’s streaming service. It’s a groundbreaking announcement, not because it’s on Apple Music (statistically you use Amazon Prime Music anyway) but because of Dubset’s technology and the exciting precedent it sets.
What is Dubset?
Your bootleg remix or recorded club set are illegal. Let’s just get that out of the way. Any use of a piece of recorded music in its original (or slightly modified) form requires royalties to be paid. This is a major challenge for aspiring DJs and producers who want to share their work, but may not have the funds or knowledge of intellectual property law to properly license music.
Dubset is a “digital distributor,” a category of music industry companies that provide large libraries of music to streaming services. While companies like TuneCore and CD Baby focus primarily on small, unsigned artists, Dubset takes a slightly different approach.
Using a technology called MixBank, Dubset’s systems can fingerprint an audio file even if that audio file has been altered in remix form or is included with many others in mix form. From there, MixBank queries libraries like Gracenote to identify the tracks in question, and tally and deliver the appropriate amount of money owed to the labels, songwriters, and artists.
MixBank allows Dubset to distribute unlicensed remixes and club mixes, something no one has ever been able to do before. While similar technologies exist on sites like Mixcloud, Dubset’s MixBank is the first major technology of its kind to be third-party distribution, meaning any service on Earth can tap into their advanced fingerprinting technology-enabled library of music.
Why should the Dubset deal matter to me?
If the tech alone doesn’t tickle your nerd bone, there are still many reasons to be excited about this announcement. First and foremost, Apple Music has a gigantic user base (almost 20 million) that will now be exposed to the big wide world of small-to-medium EDM artists. Remixes and sets from the smallest to the top unsigned DJs and producers can now find their way to Apple Music.
What is even more exciting is the precedent that sets. Apple is (off-and-on) the most valuable company in the world. Dubset’s technology is almost exclusively designed to monetize EDM content from top to bottom without the need for complicated licensing agreements. This deal should, and hopefully will, influence every music streaming service to enhance their platform with Dubset, and in the process give new voice to millions of DJs and producers who typically go unheard.
Until this deal, without a license your bootleg of Roses would never make it onto Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or any other service without striking a deal with the label and publisher. Now, it’s possible for every one of those tracks can be properly licensed and paid for after the fact, funded by user subscriptions to the music streaming service.
The Dubset/Apple Music deal breaks brand new ground for EDM artists hoping to make it big with their music, whether it is a remix or a club set. While it has yet to be seen how MixBank and Dubset will handle future submissions, soon even a bedroom producer might be able to find his bootleg remix on every streaming service — assuming the service will take them.
Watch this story closely. With Apple clearly planting a flag in EDM territory, it won’t be long before other services like Spotify follow suit. According to their CEO Stephen White, “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.”