Remixers and DJs Rejoice! Soundcloud Reveals an Alternative to Takedowns
Any EDM fan has seen it: producers having their unauthorized remixes taken down by Soundcloud because of copyright claims, or DJs having their mixed pulled down for using certain tunes. (Or, even more frustratingly, producers having their own music taken down as a result of incorrect automatic flagging)
Soundcloud has received a lot of hate for it, but the truth of the matter is that it's not Soundcloud's fault. When a copyright holder (such as a major label) files an infringement claim against a DJ mix or an unauthorized bootleg remix, Soundcloud can't legally ignore it. They have been in a difficult position, as the platform owes much of its success to the work of up and coming producers and DJ - who frequently remix popular tunes without permission, or feature popular tunes in DJ mixes.
Soundcloud stands apart from the Spotifys and Apple Musics of the world because of this grassroots community of content creators - but hosting this sort of community on their platform is a huge liability when it comes to copyright law. But with Soundcloud's recent deal with Sony rounding out their agreements with all 3 majors, they are finally in a position to move forward with an arrangement that should make both the big labels and the grassroots creator community happy. And it looks like they are planning to do just that.
In a recent Billboard piece, it was revealed that Soundcloud will be rolling out a feature that allows them to host DJ mixes and user-generated remixes, with monetization that will provide revenue for the copyright holders.
In a measure aimed straight at the dance music fans and musicians who make up the core of its audience, the company will offer a number of authorized, user-uploaded remixes and DJ sets on both tiers, utilizing innovative contracts that allow it to monetize content from the labels and publishers with which it has struck deals. SoundCloud will scan uploaded music to determine if it includes samples; if it does, any revenue generated will be divided among the relevant copyright holders. (Labels and publishers will still have the option to ask the site to take down music that involves their copyrights.)
It remains to be seen how effective this new model will be, and if the major labels will choose to let it flourish, or continue asking Soundcloud to take unauthorized remixes and DJ mixes down in spite of the opportunity for revenue. It would be foolish for the majors to continue the takedowns, given the viral success of so many unauthorized remixes, so we hope they see this value and allow the user-generated content monetization to become widespread.