Apple Music announced today that it’d created a process to correctly identify and compensate all the individual creators involved in making a DJ mix. Using technology from the audio-recognition app Shazam, which, Apple Music works with major and independent labels to devise a fair way to divide streaming royalties among DJs, brands, and artists appear in the mixes. This is intended to help DJ mixes retain long-term monetary value for all creators involved, ensuring that musicians get paid for their work even when other artists iterate. And, as one of Apple’s first significant integrations of Shazam’s technology, it appears that the company saw value in.
Artists are entitled to royalties when a DJ plays their song during a live set. Artists are allowed to royalties when a DJ plays their music during a live setting. Historically, it’s been difficult for DJs to stream mixes online since live-streaming platforms like YouTube or Twitch might flag the use of other artists’ songs as copyright infringement. Still, dance music further complicates this since small samples from various pieces can be edited and mixed into something unrecognizable.
Apple Music already hosts, including sets from Tomorrowland’s digital festivals from 2020 and 2021; it only formally announces the tech that enables it to do this, even though . As part of this announcement, Studio K7!’s DJ Kicks archive of mixes will begin to roll out on the service, giving fans access to compounds that haven’t been on the market in over 15 years.
“Apple Music is the first platform that offers continuous mixes where there’s a fair fee for the artists whose tracks are included in the mixes and for the artist making those mixes. It’s a step in the right direction where everyone gets treated fairly,” DJ Charlotte de Witte said in a statement on behalf of Apple. “I’m beyond excited to have the chance to provide online mixes again.”
For dance music fans, the ability to stream DJ mixes is groundbreaking. It can help Apple Music compete with Spotify, whichin paid subscribers as it . Even as Apple Music has introduced , and acquisitions, the company hasn’t yet outpaced Spotify. However, the addition of DJ mixes adds yet another unique music feature.
Still, Apple Music’s dive into the DJ royalties puzzle doesn’t necessarily address the broader crises at play among live musicians and DJs surviving through a pandemic.
Though Mixcloud allows DJs to stream sets and monetizes using pre-licensed music, Apple Music’s DJ mixes will not include user-generated content. MIDiA Research, in partnership with Audible Magic, found that user-generated content (UGC) — online content that uses music, whether a lipsync TikTok or a Soundcloud DJ mix — could be a music industry goldmine worthin the next two years. But Apple is not yet investing in UGC, as individuals cannot yet upload their mixes to stream on the platform like they might on Soundcloud. According to a from June, Apple Music will only host mixes after the streamer has identified 70% of the combined tracks.
Apple Music didn’t answer questions about how royalties will be divided, but this is only a tiny step in reimagining how musicians will make a living in a digital landscape. While these innovations help get artists compensated, streaming royalties only account for aof how musicians make money — Apple pays musicians . In contrast, competitors like Spotify pay only fractions of cents.
This led the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) to launchin March called , which demands a one-cent-per-stream payout that matches Apple’s. But live events remain a musician’s bread and butter, especially given platforms’ paltry streaming payouts — of course, the pandemic hasn’t been conducive to touring. To add insult to injury, the Association for Electronic Music estimated in 2016 that dance music producers missed from their work being used without attribution in live performances.