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Apple Music confirms it is using Shazam technology to expand its catalogue of mixes

By | Published on Friday 10 September 2021

Apple Music

Apple Music has confirmed that it is now utilising Shazam technology to enable an expansion of the DJ mixes on its platform. That confirmation comes as fourteen more albums from !K7’s ‘DJ Kicks’ series start to stream for the first time.

Licensing DJ mixes for streaming is no simple task. For a time SoundCloud was something of a hub for DJ mixes, until its audio ID systems started to spot unlicensed tracks forcing many mixes to be blocked.

Various other platforms have launched over the years with a specific focus on DJ mixes, DJ sets and/or mixtapes, most unlicensed or under licensed, meaning that – even if they can operate under the radar for a time – they are likely to hit copyright problems if they start to gain too much momentum. Though some of those platforms have been able to navigate the licensing challenges, most notably Mixcloud.

In terms of getting DJ mixes into more mainstream subscription streaming services, Apple Music actually began working on that in 2016 via a partnership with Dubset, a start-up with grand plans to develop the technology and negotiate the licences that would make the uploading of DJ mixes to the net a much simpler process. Dubset was then bought by audio ID and content management company Pex last year.

Meanwhile, in late 2017, Apple boosted its own audio ID capabilities, of course, through the Shazam acquisition. Apple using that technology to create its own in-house solution for spotting what tracks are contained in any one mix – making it easier for those mixes to be included in the Apple Music catalogue – always seemed like an obvious outcome of that deal.

Though, spotting the tracks is just one part of the process. Getting permission from rights owners to use each track in the mix – and an agreement on how royalties should be shared out across the mix, and with the DJ or producer who did the mixing – is the other crucial component.

Apple has been liaising with its label partners on all that for a while now, allowing the slow expansion of the mixes available on Apple Music.

That is also resulting in deals being done with companies that are sitting on catalogues of DJ mixes and DJ sets. A partnership with Boiler Room was announced last year, while Tomorrowland, Mixmag and Cercle are all now seemingly pushing mixes from their archives into Apple’s streaming catalogue. Users accessing those mixes can also see tracklistings and skip between tracks in the mix.

Unlike most of the various mix-centric platforms that have launched over the years, Apple Music won’t be allowing bedroom DJs to uploaded their mixes any time soon. However, it will seemingly be partnering with individual DJs and producers to further expand its mixes catalogue, including Charlotte de Witte, who has issued a statement bigging up Apple’s work in this domain.

“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”, says she. “It’s a step in the right direction where everyone gets treated fairly. I’m beyond excited to have the chance to provide online mixes again”.

And these developments will also help labels sitting on mixes that they have struggled to license for streaming, like !K7’s ‘DJ Kicks’ series. Says !K7 boss Horst Weidenmueller: “Through the partnership with Apple we finally have a place to celebrate ‘DJ-Kicks’ with an additional fourteen editions which haven’t been in the market for over fifteen years”.

So, if mixes are your thing, maybe Apple Music should be your streaming service of choice now.