For a long time, DJ mixes were a no-no on most music-streaming services due to the complexities of licensing such material. That left an opportunity for services like SoundCloud (where mixes could be uploaded but didn’t generate royalties and might face copyright takedowns) and MixCloud (whose initial radio-style licence did pay royalties for mixes, as long as they stayed within its rules).
More recently, the work of companies like Dubset has seen DJ mixes make their way onto the mainstream services too: startup Dubset has been working with Apple Music for several years already, while that streaming service also recently added live DJ sets from the Tomorrowland: Around the World festival. Deezer launched a pilot of DJ mixes in December 2019, meanwhile, promising that “each featured artist gets their fair share of revenues when you enjoy their mix”.
What about the DJs though? A new deal between Boiler Room and Apple Music is interesting on that front. The former has made more than 200 mixes from its first decade available on the latter service, with a similar declaration to Deezer’s. “The partnership launches with the common aim to compensate all artists involved in a DJ set. Not only does that mean payment for DJs but crucially also, compensation for the artists, producers and songwriters behind the music in the mix,” explained Boiler Room.
Unsurprisingly, specific details on how the royalties are being calculated and paid out from these mixes have not been made public. It’s not a simple task for an archive of mixes like this, but it’s encouraging for the electronic music sector that Apple and Boiler Room are taking on the task, among the other efforts listed earlier. Boiler Room is also getting a weekly show on the newly-rebranded Apple Music 1 radio station to promote the mixes and interview some of the people behind them.