New Deal Allows Indie Publishers and Songwriters to Profit from DJs' Work

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Almost two months to the day after it announced an important partnership with Apple Music, digital distributor Dubset Media Holdings is announcing another deal, one that's big news for music publishers and songwriters with smaller industry footprints.

The National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) and Dubset have reached a deal that will allow the NMPA's independent members, both publishing companies and songwriters, to take part in a new streaming "sub-economy" that only recently became technologically feasible. This new revenue source is through derivative works, or pieces of music that are wholly or partially based on others' creations, like DJ mixes and remixes. Through its MixBANK, Dubset cross-sections these creations and identifies their constituent parts (a vocal line here, one-half of an entire song there), determines the appropriate royalty splits, then services them to its clients, like Apple Music. 

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Making participation in this new sub-economy available to individual songwriters and smaller publishers is a noteworthy advance, especially within the digital music economy, which so often seems to reward the largest of players.

Before Dubset unveiled the technology last March, there was no reliable and automated way for these works to exist for listening -- legally. “The amount of new mix content distributed daily is estimated to be fifteen times as large as that of traditional music,” states Bob Barbiere, Chief Operating Officer of Dubset. “Due to complexities associated with identification, and cross-clearance of copyright protected works used within mixes, music services were not able to offer it to consumers." The result is, as mentioned, a brand-new revenue stream for artists, songwriters and the industry.

Dubset isn't the only company making advances in this highly technical space. SoundCloud's new subscription service, Go, uses an undisclosed process to identify derivative works, which its platform has plenty of. (This, despite a recent report to the contrary.)

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As well, the Berlin-based Geo Track ID has its Advance Track Identification technology. Consultant Ronny Krieger explained that system last year: "In a dance music context, [sampled] music is being played at different tempos, different keys, and for the most part the existing [sample identifying] algorithms fail. But we came across GTI... I selected two types of DJ mixes -- one simple, one complex -- and two versions of each mix, with extensive effect use, because that is often where the algorithms fail, and GTI identified all of it. There was zero failure. I think it was a major relief for GTI as well [laughs]."

The further these technologies go towards the center of the digital economy, the closer we'll all be to the web's long-promised creative "democratization.” Or at least, the less far we’ll become.