Open Letter to DJs and Producers Regarding Soundcloud

My first ever upload to Soundcloud was a DJ mix that I made when I was thirteen years old and I had just downloaded my first copy of Virtual DJ. I created the entire mix with my computer keyboard and it was a collection of Top 40 pop mixed with hard style classics. This was long before Soundcloud became the copyright defending entity that it is today. As a amateur DJ, it was a platform for me to share my mixes with the internet. 

Fast forward to 2015. The era of the DJ/Producer. Everyone and their brother is a DJ who has a collection of fire remixes to share with the world. The barrier to entry in the electronic music industry is incredibly low. As long as you have a PC (or even an iPhone) you can start making music. That is crazy! Even ten years ago when I started making music it was a little bit more complicated. I had to jump through some technical hoops but now there is a collection of decent freeware to make music or you can just pirate software. (Pirating is bad and illegal and blah, blah, blah.)

However, that means that the market is over-saturated and the platform that is flooded the most is Soundcloud. There was once a time where I could scroll my Soundcloud feed for less than an hour and I would get through all the content that was uploaded that day from the people that I followed, which was around 500. Now I have to install a special Chrome extension to get past all the reposted tracks and playlists. I also can't follow collectives anymore without getting the same track posted to my feed every day for the next month. Similarily, the over-saturation is hurting Soundcloud as a company because of the warranted copyright laws that major and minor labels have over licensed music. Believe me, I want a platform where anyone can post a remix, edit, bootleg, mashup, etc. to share with the world for entertainment purposes but Soundcloud IS NOT that platform anymore.

Soundcloud is great platform for musicians and artists to share music that THEY create. Original content can be hosted for free and shared with the world? That's fantastic!  I want to hear the new stuff from artists X, Y, and Z. Secondary to their original songs I want to hear their remixes and covers. However as a fan and fellow artist I care more about originality than interpretations. 

At the risk of sounding like an elitist, I firmly believe that every producer and DJ needs to get over themselves about having their remixes and edits taken down because of copyright infringement. I am not going to give you a lesson on sampling but you can watch awesome documentaries about the issue. Copyright laws are tricky and annoying but ultimately they are trying to protect the artists. Put yourselves in the shoes of the artist that is getting remixed by every single college kid producer. It is extremely flattering but at a point that artist is just a name for a producer to attach themselves to too make a name for themselves. This is not the same thing as getting support from an artist or having a remix commissioned which is now drowned out by all the unofficial remixes on the market. At a certain point you are just hurting yourself as an artist because your music isn't being heard and as a member of the musical community. The internet is a great place for show and tell for producers and DJs. With the market as over saturated as it is, an artist needs to stand out. An artist needs to be different. I could care less about the kid remixing every top track off the Beatport Top Ten and the Top 40 Billboard charts. I want to hear new, original music from you, the artist. 

Now, I may sound like an old, bitter man however, on the contrary I think we need to share all the fire that is our remixes and edits. These deserved to be heard! (LISTEN TO MY CHILLWAVE REMIX OF WHITE LIES!) What there needs to be for our content that contains copyrighted material is a resilient, illegal hosting service that mimics Soundcloud (without the shitty reposting feature). Until copyright laws are amended to allow the existence of unofficial remixes, we need a place to share this music. Think of the Pirate Bay but for streaming music like a renegade Soundcloud that is totally functional, intuitive and hosted off shores in a non-extradition country. Then we can share our remixes and music without the worry of copyright takedowns. Illegal? Oh yeah. The best solution? No, but it will get the industry talking to create a legal one.

Producers and DJs aren't going to change what is happening with Soundcloud and they shouldn't blame the site for the takedowns. Soundcloud has no choice because they have to comply with copyrights that the labels hold and no fire remix can help that. As a platform for sharing original content, I hope they are around for many, many years to come. So, stop bitching about how you can't share remixes and whatever else you created with samples. Be creative and find another way to get your shit out there. Before the internet, people had to sling CDs like cocaine and talk to people about their music and just because the barriers are higher doesn't mean you can't break through. Put in the time, find a way, and make it work. If you want to be an artist then no website will stop you. Be original, be creative, and share your music with the world.

 

With Love,

The Douchey Koala