In a streaming service first, Apple Music has launched a robust track-identification feature capable of analyzing full DJ mixes and ensuring music rights holders are paid.
The feature was developed as an extension of Shazam's proprietary track identification technology. Apple added Shazam to its growing portfolio of services via a highly visible $400 million acquisition back in 2018.
DJ Mixes have proven to be a thorn in the side of content creators and digital platforms alike. Without an efficient methodology to break down a DJ mix into the sum of its parts, rights holders and DJ's have historically been unable to effectively monetize them. Consequentially, many artists and labels have barred their music from appearing in DJ mixes outright, leading to the automated removal of infringing content on major platforms such as YouTube.
Apple Music's solution, however, is likely to dramatically shift creator sentiment around the viability of publishing and monetizing mixes. That is, assuming the technology is accurate enough to instill confidence in music rights holders. Oliver Schusser, Apple's VP of Music & International Content, told Billboard the technology has sustained rigorous pressure testing. To bring the accuracy of the technology up to snuff, Apple iterated upon the feature for over a year, while testing via trial and error.
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Currently, Apple Music's mix catalogue contains over 1,200 mixes including selections hosted by iconic dance music brands Tomorrowland, Boiler Room, and more. With the advent of this feature, mix suppliers such as festivals, venues, labels, and other non-rights holder entities will also have the potential to seek monetization from these assets.
The end result not only yields a fairer outcome for all parties involved from a compensation perspective, but also paves the way for a more seamless path to discovery for artists. For paid subscribers, that means the possibility of picking out individual tracks from a mix and saving them directly to their Apple Music libraries.
“Apple Music is the first platform that offers continuous mixes where there’s a fair fee involved 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,” said Charlotte de Witte in a statement. “I’m beyond excited to have the chance to provide online mixes again.”