How to avoid copyright strikes in your DJ streams

Why does Copyright Exist?

It’s essential to understand why copyright strikes exist and why record labels actively seek out DJ’s illegally broadcasting their music. From the producer to the people designing the artwork, there are thousands of people involved in the process of bringing music to market. Those people and the industry deserve paying for their work.

You may believe that by buying the track from a legitimate store gives you the rights to play it on a stream, but unfortunately, it does not. Broadcasting to the public requires a licence that television stations, radio stations and even local shops have to pay extra for. These licences are a crucial income stream for the labels. Unfortunately, internet streaming services don’t have these licences. Neither do DJ’s using them, regardless of where you bought the music. 

How do streaming services find your stream?

To stop their music being broadcast illegally, streams are listened to by computer bots. These complex algorithms try to match the audio coming through the stream with the tracks in their extensive libraries. Imagine someone listening to your stream with Shazzam open on their phone. When it matches the stream is linked to the record labels that own the music.

Each record label and streaming service has its own rules, and these can differ from country to country. Most will either mute your stream, block it from being saved or take it down entirely. 

Top Tips to keep your stream live!

1. Keep your mixing fast.

Mixing songs quickly give the algorithms less time to latch onto your tracks. Keep it quick and avoid playing tracks throughout, this also keeps your set engaging and entertaining!

2. Use filters, effects and performance features to change the music up!

Changing the audio of the tracks can help avoid the algorithms matching the songs. Scratching, effects and performance features like rolls can help! However pitching the tracks up is a tactic most systems are now aware of and we’ve found this not to work anymore.

3. Use your microphone.

The microphone is a great tool for engaging your audiences! It also adds your natural voice onto the streams audio, great for making the bots think you’re not just playing music.

4. Avoid commercially popular versions of tracks.

The biggest tracks in the charts at the moment are usually the first to be flagged. Whilst it is important to play tracks the audience will want to hear, take this opportunity to play remixes from lesser known producers.

5. Play original music!

Unsigned music obviously is exempt from these issues. It’s a great opportunity to showcase not only lesser known producers but your talent at finding these tracks!

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Published: 8th April 2020

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