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DJs look to thefuture.fm for mix royalties

Service tallies integrated tracks and allocates payments to rightsholders

With the mainstreaming of electronic dance music, the industry has had to confront a number of challenges adapting DJ culture to more established digital music platforms. Not the least of these issues is that longform DJ mixes — which are to dance music fans what extended jams of “Dark Star” are to Deadheads — are virtually impossible to find on mainstream Internet radio or streaming services.

Since DJ mixes can contain nearly unrecognizable snippets from countless songs, attempts to stream or sell them on aboveboard platforms can run into hurdles from the amassed rights holders involved. But a newly launched startup dubbed Thefuture.fm — formerly Dubset — is trying to clean up the space, offering what it claims is the first platform to offer fully legal streams of mixed audio.

The company utilizes an audio fingerprinting technology it calls MixScan to track every song incorporated into the mixes it provides and to allocate payments to both DJs and the rightsholders of all sampled material accordingly.

Partnering with BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, SoundExchange and NARM, the service calculates royalty payments by analyzing the plays a particular mix receives, coupled with the presence of particular songs in the mix, then distributes payments to the appropriate bodies.

There are, and have been, plenty of hosting sites for DJ mixes, but few have been this frictionless. Mixes on Soundcloud, for example, have long been subject to takedown requests. Competitor Mixcloud remains a popular host for DJ mixes but demands that DJs provide a full track listing of each song in the mix to help allocate rights.

Thefuture.fm is the first service to fully automate the process. The site streams both live mixes and studio creations, and unlike a number of other mix platforms, it is completely curated. At present, the site is tubthumping audio from Kaskade’s recent Coachella perf alongside mixes from the likes of Chuckie and A-Track.

Deezer cues rollout

European streaming service Deezer continues to add new territories to its roster, this week debuting in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Launched in France in 2007, the service has also been busy forging mobile partnerships, most recently pairing with T-Mobile Austria on Thursday. Despite a proactive expansion policy, Deezer has announced no plans to launch in the U.S.

Pandora’s paradox

Pandora continues to amass some impressive stats even as its stock price remains on a lower ebb. Last week, a Sandvine study found that Pandora accounts for a staggering 6% of total North American mobile traffic. In addition, a concurrent Media Audit study found that Pandora effectively ranks as the most popular radio station in the Los Angeles market among listeners who use the service, with particularly high rates among such hotly pursued demographics as Hispanics and cellphone-only users. Yet despite these successes, the company’s stock price remains mired in the $9 and below range, and a Barclays Equity Research report earlier this month estimated the company would not be profitable until 2016.

Vevo unveils series

Carrying on with its ventures into original content, Vevo held its first official “upfront” presentation on Wednesday. Among the platform’s six new programs are scripted series “Strange Island,” a busking competition series (“Busk or Bust”) co-produced with Shine America and a musical-taste-themed dating series (“Hear Me Out”) co-produced with Principato-Young Entertainment.

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