Over the past few months, Dubset Media Holdings has launched a campaign to change the way DJ mixes and remixes are monetized.
The company is, in essence, a service provider which will provide streaming sites and publishers a clear method of obtaining royalty payments through use of its Mixbank technology. In March we reported on Dubset's partnership with Apple Music, in which Dubset will determine royalty payments for remixes and DJ mixes hosted on the tech giant's streaming service, which currently boasts over 13 million paid subscribers.
Just today, Billboard reported Dubset has teamed up with the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), a long-running organization dedicated to "protecting its members' property rights on the legislative, litigation and regulatory fronts." The partnership will allow the 2,500 members of the NMPA to opt-in to Dubset's payout system both for music distributed through Apple as well as similar partners which have yet to be announced.
Dubset's actions underscore various efforts to pay producers and DJs for remixed or mixed material. Online DJ mixes have typically appeared in a licensing "no man's land" on streaming sites like SoundCloud, though that company may be enforcing a broader crackdown on such practices in the near future. Speaking on behalf of Mixcloud, the service RA uses to host our weekly DJ mixes, co-founder Niko Perez said "Every time a DJ or radio presenter uploads a set to Mixcloud we audio fingerprint everything to figure out what's in the mix. A lot of [Dubset's] technology is something we've already built and put in place."
MixCloud, however, operates under a blanket radio license and determines the content of mixes after its uploaded by users, while Dubset is prepared to apply its services prior to delivering content to Apple Music, though it's only handling single track remixes (as opposed to full DJ mixes) for the time being.
We spoke with Dubset's CEO, Stephen White, on the significance of the deal.
Can you describe the new partnership with NMPA?
The NMPA negotiated deals on behalf of their membership so that members don't have to negotiate those deals on a one-off basis. We've worked with the NMPA to put a framework of a deal in place and activate their catalogs within the Dubset platforms.
How does your service work?
We process mixes and remixes with MixBank and MixScan; the latter identifies all of the underlying sound, start and stop times for each of the songs that are used and underlying label and publisher information. We then clear it through our licensing platform, apply the appropriate deals and distribute the music.
How much will a producer whose song is used in a mix that's analyzed by Dubset and distributed via Apple Music be paid?
We're not talking specific numbers, our goal is to bring mixes and remixes into paid environments. The reality is they haven't been available on legal services to date.
How does your model differ from a popular service like Mixcloud, which uses a blanket radio royalty model for tracks included in DJ mixes?
We're taking a fully-licensed, 100% clear approach that enables producers to create and distribute derivative works. It's a broader set of coverage, we take on full responsibility for this clearance. It's a very different approach than trying to operate under a compulsory or radio license. The key here is the ability to make changes (to the original material), to modify it in some meaningful way, that's what we mean by derivative.