Spotify and Apple Music get unofficial mixes, the best part of SoundCloud

Spotify and Apple Music get unofficial mixes, the best part of SoundCloud

Posted 23 seconds ago by Josh Constine (@joshconstine)
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SoundCloud’s big differentiator is its offering of unofficial, user-uploaded content that the major labels don’t release and that isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music. Or at least they weren’t. The first unofficial single-track remixes just went live on Spotify and Apple Music thanks to their partnerships with music rights management service Dubset.

Apple struck a deal with Dubset in March, and Spotify did in May, but the remixes are finally beginning to stream today, starting with this DJ Jazzy Jeff remix of Anderson .Paak.

Still missing are the multi-song mixsets DJs often share from their gigs. But Dubset is also equipped to distribute royalties from those and its deals permit them. Dubset CEO Stephen White tells me “Mixes are coming next!”

static1-squarespaceDubset works by scanning an entire mix and matching every part of the track to its Mixbank of snippets of official songs based on Gracenote’s audio fingerprinting database. Dubset matches the samples in a mix to these snippets, then distributes royaties for the play evenly to the original rights holders.

White says 700 million people listen to mixed content a month, making it a big opportunity. But record labels have historically fought against unofficial mixes because they considered them piracy since they weren’t getting paid. Dubset gives them a fair cut, so they’ll permit remixes and mix sets to stream on the major platforms.

The fact that unofficial content is now going live on Spotify and Apple Music could reduce the acquisition potential for SoundCloud, which the Financial Times says is in late-stage negotiations to be bought by Spotify. TechCrunch’s sources confirm the two have recently been talking about M&A. But if Spotify can get the best of SoundCloud’s content without coughing up a ton of money for a broken company that’s been struggling for years.

Without the legal grey area of music as a differentiator, Spotify and Apple Music will end up competing on product features Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist and Apple’s Beats 1 live radio station, as well as on exclusives and early access to big releases from top artists.

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