Quick Pitch: Dubset is Internet radio for DJ mixes.
Genius Idea: A technology that automatically reports tracks that make up mixes to licensing organizations.
Cloud-based radio services like Pandora
are proficient at automatically matching music to moods or genres that their users request. But one particular group of human beings — DJs — has been practicing the same basic function as an art form since music started being recorded. And they would argue that they complete the task with a much higher rate of quality.
Sharing professional DJ mixes on the Internet is risky, however, because there’s no good way to ensure that royalties for each song within the mix will reach the artists that legally deserve them.
Dubset founder Dave Stein set out to solve this issue for the DJs that he often worked with in his former life as a club promoter. After running into prohibitively expensive roadblocks exploring deals with record labels, his team eventually developed a technology that he calls “MixScan.” The technology automatically identifies songs within mixes and then reports them to licensing organizations that collect royalties and distribute them to the artists. It’s like Shazam for DJ mixes.
This technology is the main factor separating Dubset from its most similar competitor, Play.fm
. The latter company is based in Austria, and it asks its users to identify tracks within mixes so that it can report them. Stein says that unlike this crowdsourcing approach, MixScan is about 95% accurate. This accuracy takes liability away from brands who might want to advertise on the platform.
But a dubious royalty payment system hasn’t stopped Play.fm from raking in advertising dollars. Heineken sponsors an entire channel on the beta site.
Another distinction that might prove valuable to Dubset is its focus on high-caliber DJs and clubs. The platform works as a marketing tool for DJs and the venues that they play at. About 500 DJs have set up profiles on the site that include not only their mixes, but the venues where they will be playing next. Those venues are able to promote themselves by posting recorded-live DJ mixes and future lineups on Dubset profile pages. Users can “follow” the DJs and venues they like.
Dubset has already formed a handy site and iPhone app
[iTunes link] for pulling up free, professional DJ mixes without feeling like a pirate.