I have started an online petition on behalf of the entire DJ community worldwide to hopefully pressure Soundcloud into reevaluating their current platform as it relates to mixsets and bootlegs. Please sign, share and push the petition! Please share the petition. It is important the voices of the entire DJ community be heard. Uphill battle, sure? Impossible? Never! If nothing else, it will show the industry how strong we can be, and if Soundcloud ignores us, hopefully our voices will be heard by Mixcloud or another new platform.
Sign the petition HERE!
Some people have been using MIXCLOUD as an alternative, although the networking and social media aspect of that platform is light years behind Soundcloud.
For a clearer understand of why this matters here are a few articles:
Soundcloud’s Dictatorship Continues
Sign the petition HERE!
I have been delving deeper into my vinyl collection lately, and decided the best way to archive it all is with a podcast. I will focus on mostly house music from the 80’s and 90’s, similar to The Warehouse on 412 Live. No laptops, no CDs, all vinyl. I am also interested in anyone making new or have good quality recordings of older sets I can use as guest episodes. Not against any classic techno or drum & bass sets as long as they’re from vinyl (not rips).
You can subscribe to the iTunes Podcast HERE
You can follow the Mixcloud uploads HERE
Strobe’s Waxcast Episode 01 [Live At Cured]:
Strobe’s Waxcast Episode 02 [80’s House Classics 1]:
Here is a folder of my deeper reconstructions, remixes, mashups & bootlegs of popular tracks. Enjoy!
Grab the goodies HERE
I was going through my hard drives and came across a bunch of my older remixes. While most of these records are recurrent or VERY recurrent, if you happen to be playing a 90’s or earlier 2000’s party, then here’s some mainstream club for you! Tracks by Missy Elliot, Jennifer Paige, Jagged Edge, UNK, Kevin Rudolf and more. Enjoy!
Click HERE to go to the download page!
Originally appeared on Epic productions page HERE
So it’s 2015. Looking around it looks a lot like 2014. It sounds a little different but if you squint and peek down the horizon you can see a changes coming, especially in the music. Speaking of change let’s talk about vinyl. I started out on vinyl and over the past 30 years I’ve transitioned to control vinyl, controllers and lately I’ve found myself gravitating back to real vinyl again. There’s something about the permanence of the medium that has me coming back. I’ve been doing sets of classic house recently and I find myself enjoying both the nostalgic aspect and the experience.
The past decade has been a nonstop barrage of changes in the musical landscape. Gear has gotten smaller to the point you can put a full fledged DJ system in your pocket. But I’m also seeing vinyl making a comeback. It’s like in Ghostbusters and the streams have crossed. EDM producers making house, house producers making techno, it’s a full on invasion of the genre snatchers.
While there’s no doubt that the steps to become a DJ in 2015 are a lot different then they were in 1987, one thing remains the same and that is a DJs ability to drop the right track at the right time is to me still the most important factor. You can have every Beatport top 10 track, a set of your own productions or a crate of vinyl you spent days digging through but if you can’t read a crowd then you’re missing the point. Reading the chatter across the , there seems to be a plague of uninspiring lackluster sets by a lot of top tier DJs playing festivals and headlining gigs. Is it in part due to the staleness in music of late, or laziness on the part of the DJ? If a DJ plays in internal mode and no one sees and does a good job of pretending to play the CDJs, did he just DJ or give a performance? If the people attending the event don’t care, should we?
One thing I miss is the days when DJs got test pressings and would drop them to the crowds delight, and that DJ or the select few that had that track would be the only ones playing it until it was released, sometimes 6 months later. I remember when the Cedric Gervais track “Molly” first showed up in sets people were dying for the track and Cedric was super secretive about the release. My crowd was requesting it constantly and with no release date in site I took to my Mac and had it speak the same lines in his track, and created a soundalike tracks (it wasn’t that complex) and played it out in my sets. The ends justified the means.
If the past few years have proven anything it’s that you can’t tease people for too long or by the time a track drops the hype is gone, and you risk copycat tracks popping up before the original is released. That’s a thing in 2015. If Martin Garrix had a dollar for everyone that made an “Animals” sounding track in the past year he would have enough to buy all the unlicensed software he uses legitimately and a new laptop to put it on. (Go watch his In The Studio video and look for the “TeamAir” licenses. They’re a huge music software cracking company). Back when I began this musical journey it was all hardware.
Since you obviously couldn’t bootleg hardware it was definitely an investment compared to today. With no Internet to download apps and samples paired with rudimentary software of the time there was a steeper learning curve and there were no YouTube tutorials. The cost incurred with production was out of the price range of most teenagers and anyone not serious about the undertaking. There has always been this dichotomy between the days when it was harder to make music but the level of investment kept it out of the reach of anyone without deep pockets, versus today where anyone with a laptop can be a producer and release music. On one hand there was a more solidified level of respect for the word “producer” back int he day. It usually was given to someone who had the gear, had the records out through a label and had put in the time and paid the dues. On the other hand, we wouldn’t have discovered half the producers and music we have now if the music world was still in the bubble it was before the Internet and affordable and free tools changed the game. The words “DJ” and “Producer” have lost some of their value in the process.
And what about once you had an actual product finished and ready to shop? The process of getting your music out there in 2015 has changed in the past 30 years. Beyond the process of pushing content through social media, when you want to take it to the next level, what is that?
What exactly is being signed to a label in 2015? In the 80s and 90s if a label wanted your record they would send you a contract for the master and publishing, and sign you to either a single deal, multiple singles (or EPs) or even an album. There were lawyers and teams and lots of paperwork just to even agree to release the project. You were literally “signed” to that label, either exclusively or non-exclusively.
In 2015, unless you’re at the level of major or a bigger indie, there’s hardly more then a few email exchanges and links to download the master. I have taught some classes on the music business discussing things like writing and publishing and copyright. The vast majority of young producers in the electronic music arena jump in the deep end without a single swimming lesson. Records are released, sold and licensed without the artist and even the label sometimes knowing where residuals and royalties are going because they haven’t learned the business side of the musical landscape. So many people have their own labels, and release their own as well as friends music without ever discussing the stakes at play. You’re literally handing over a master to be distributed around the globe with no thought as to who owns what in the bigger picture.
In the end, if you’re not signing contracts, you’re not technically “signed” to anything. Releasing a record on a friends label is not the same as inking a deal with a label. Once again, it’s the semantics over how things were done until the Information Age and how things ARE done by countless young label entrepreneurs now. While there’s nothing wrong with doing it either way, take the time to learn the fundamentals of the music business and if you’re a label, educate your artists.
The updated piece appeared on Epic Productions page HERE
So today, after years of faithful uploading of my own tracks, remixes as well as a plethora of mixsets, mashups & bootlegs containing plenty of things that violated Soundcloud‘s terms, I got the “Three Strikes And You’re Out” E-mail, effectively terminating my original Soundcloud account. Now before you rally in defence, I wholeheartedly diserved this. I’ll explain in a bit.
It seems I am not alone in this recent storming of the copyright beach by the Soundcloud special forces. Chatter across social media is telling me that either a new algorithm or scanning practices have been recently implemented. Many DJ friends of mine have reported getting this very same letter, mostly about older uploads being deleted and an alarming number of these DJ’s also ended up having their accounts terminated or decided to voluntarily leave the platform altogether. Since tracks sometimes take years to reach a major label or gain certain distribution many older tracks, as well as newer tracks go unnoticed because they simply haven’t been added to a no fly zone yet. I have noticed more and more labels adding themselves to the Soundcloud matrix which results in more content being flagged for removal. Universal Music as well as other major labels have been given back door access to Soundcloud to scan, flag and remove any content it chooses without interference from Soundcloud itself, which leads to strikes against the user. This definitely explains the recent issues especially with older content as entire back catalogsd of music have now become part of their scanning arsenal.
Now, while this whole scenario is frustrating for producers and DJ’s at any level of their career, as well as any number of the 200 million users since it the most commonly used platform to showcase mixes and productions, since it’s inception in 2007 Soundcloud was never a platform for the proliferation of copyrighted material and thus brings us to the current situation. Their terms of service in a nutshell is “Uploading copyrighted material is not permitted”. Most of the people being subjected to Soundcloud woes are technically in violation so as frustrating as it is, it is not an unexpected scenario. Whether you are Tiesto or Fiesto, if you are posting content you do not own, you are at risk. Just ask Calvin Harris and Kaskade, who not so long ago had 70% of his Soundcloud content removed.
We as a community can no longer fool ourselves into thinking what happens in cyberspace stays in cyberspace. The Internet police are getting craftier by the day. I see more and more blogs and places where DJ’s frequently obtain music for free shutting down, either willingly or by judgement from the RIAA or Federal agencies. If you are a DJ, producer, or in any way involved in the music industry and are not following what the RIAA is hoping to do with the DMCA (Digital Melinnium Copyright Act) overhaul then please Google it. The world of copyright is still playing catch up with the Internet and as producer with 25+ years of back catalog, I have dozens of contracts that do not take digital content into consideration. Add to that the fact that a lof of the piracy exists overseas where it is harder to enforce takedowns as sites ruitinely ignore warnings or redirect the URL. The RIAA wants the kind of power they really aren’t entitled to, and are trying to make demands on entities like Google to change their policies to help fight their battle. While I agree that there needs to be some changes to the DMCA since the balance of content holders and content providers has proved to be a larger challenge in 2015 then it was in enacted in 1998.
I personally have a few decades of original productions and remixes that would fit neatly into Soundcloud’s TOS (even if you have to prove it sometimes) so I’m not left without a reason to use their services. Those that are the purveyors of mashups, bootlegs and mix sets containing other peoples tracks however may soon find themselves staring at the same message I received. There have been a few methods of fooling Soundcloud which work to varying degrees, but it seems that they have either wised up or have a newer algorithm and have been retroactively scanning everything for violations. It seems as though Soundcloud is becoming a place for people to listen, stream and discover new music, but less of a place for people to upload content.
The big question is, why now?
I have about 2 pages full of violations and claims against my content stemming from the past few years, and if it is true that they have been rescanning older uploads then it certainly explains the expedited numbers of these messages going out to their users, but even so, what is the magic number that you reach to get to this point? It is obviously not two violations as I’ve had dozens over the years, and I never received a “first strike” message to begin with. Is it a specific number of infractions within a certain period of time? Is it a “you’ve had 49 chances to be a complying user, don’t make it number 50″? So maybe 2 is actually 2, or 49 is 2? In several cases, in efforts to thwart huge lawsuits from the RIAA and other content holders, companies like YouTube and Soundcloud have adopted harsher controls and more intrusion in return for dismissals of million and even billion dollar lawsuits.
Soundcloud currently is trying to implement a new infrastructure where it will try and adopt a subscriptions service style platform with free and premium plans resulting in various degrees of adds along with potential collaborative efforts between major labels and the users without fear of retribution. How it works out in reality remains to be seen.
In light of the current landscape over at Soundcloud town, I have decided to move all my mix sets over to Mixcloud as djstrobe, and also on my long running iTunes Podcast. As for my mashups and bootlegs, those will be put on a promo page on this site very soon under MUSIC—>Bootlegs & Mashups. I am also starting a new Soundcloud page HERE. Until next time!…
Just finished a new remix for “I’m Gonna Get You” the new track from Dave Audé featuring Jessica Sutta out on Audacious Records. Check it out here:
Peep the video:
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