If you haven’t heard, last night was epic in the crooklynclan/crack4djs twitter community. There was a very entertaining conversation started by Alex Rage (follow him @alexrage and read his timeline to catch up) calling out people whom he felt were taking more credit than they were due. These conversations have been happening between DJ’s for a long time, but this is really the first time it’s come out in public. This is my take on it.
There are basically 3 types of places to buy music on the net.
– Music Stores: Artists make money selling their original music (iTunes, Amazon, Beatport)
– Remix Sites: Remixers make money selling their creations, editing and mixing different songs together in an original way (Crooklynclan, crack4djs, yourremix)
– Record Pools: Labels and remixers release new music for DJ’s to promote. DJ’s make intro/outro, acapella intro/outro, and various other kinds of edits of the original song or a remix of the song. There is a small monthly fee to th record pool which allows them to host the site and get official tracks from the labels. DJ’s/remixers do not make money of these sites. (djcity, directmusicservice)
The problem that many DJ’s have seen is this. Too many remixers are doing “record pool” edits and selling them on remix sites. It seems that they’re doing nothing but shortening a house song to be a “quick hitter”, taking certain verses out but keeping the rest of the track the same, simply adding an intro or just putting in minimal hype. These types of tracks are not remixes! The song is not changed. No drums were layered over it to beef it up. No creativity was needed. They are simply edits and edits are meant for record pools.
One of the main problems is young DJ’s are buying these “edits” and thinking that the “remixers” who put them out actually made the track! These remixers are helping to keep that front alive, promoting these tracks as their own. Just look in the artists section of the ID3 tags.
This practice is taking attention away from the people who actually put real work into creating their own original version of a song. When the remix sites first started there was none of this “personal bootleg” stuff. It was ALL original remixes that people put work into and they got respect based on that. The original DJ’s on the sites didn’t have any interest in cranking out 8-10 mixes a week to be in the top 10. They were already traveling when this started and they were all about quality over quantity, putting out tracks that they felt represented them. There were also a lot of guys who put in hard work, released quality remixes and it paid off because now they are traveling more. For these DJ’s it was all about putting out an extension of themselves. They cared about the tracks they released.
It’s frustrating for some remixers to see certain people making money hand over fist selling these edits to DJ’s that probably just don’t know that they can get similar things cheaper by joining a record pool. For many it comes down to ethics and morality. I know I don’t feel right taking credit for a “personal bootleg” of a track or some else’s remix. I certainly wouldn’t ever be caught selling one. That’s not to say DJ’s shouldn’t make their own edits of tracks or others remixes. Quite the opposite. Having your own edits that fit your style of mixing is key to keeping your set fresh, but you don’t sell them! You can, however, post them on record pools and give them to your friends to use for free. Edits take little to no creativity and don’t change the song enough to be considered a remix and that’s why they have no place on remix sites like Crooklyn Clan and Crack4djs. Use them to promote your name for free. You don’t deserve to get paid for them.
The fact is these sites are in a legal grey area. They have been tolerated because they have typically put out original and creative versions of songs that would never be confused for the original. but now with all these “edits” that are in fact just the original song, how grey is it? Obviously these sites are here to make money, and these “edits” sell, mostly because the DJ’s buying them don’t know any better.
It’s been said that the DJ’s calling out others for these practices is based on jealousy. I know that’s not true in the least. Those who feel it’s wrong to sell “edits” and “personal bootlegs” just think it’s wrong. plain and simple. We don’t think it’s the right thing to do. C’mon son! You should know better. Respect is going out the window. Those in-the-know have talked about it for a long time. Some of us are in it for the love and some are in it to make a quick buck. But this is not a Pauly D scenario where you’d be stupid not to capitalize on your fame. This is based on fallacy. Tricking people into thinking you remixed a song. Some of us know better.
It’s simple. Think before you release something on these sites. Don’t sell something that has no place being sold, something that you cannot take any ownership of. Because that’s what it comes down to. Ownership. If you can tweak a song and make it sound a way only you could, then you have some claim of ownership and you should release it and get credit for it. If you don’t do that, you shouldn’t be on the sites at all. No matter how much you sell.
— JD —
Spring’s take: Great job by JD in the above post. I just wanted to note a couple of things.
1) I was excited about Alex Rage’s rant last night, but by the end, the whole thing really annoyed me more than anything. I enjoyed what Rage had to say, but I was kind of dissapointed by the way things played out. For obvious reasons, which the site guys will understand, ALOT of things remained unsaid.
2) JD covered the whole “edit” fiasco pretty well, but one more thing I want to mention: It seems alot of people who remix for the sites have a warped sense that ONLY REMIXERS FROM THE BIG SITES COUNT. What I mean by that is this —- I get the feeling they think of “non-site remixes” as fair game to use on their own site. Their are tons of dope remixers who are not affiliated with any of the sites. For example, Tittsworth, Sammy Bananas, Roctakon, and alot of the big name House/Dance music remixers. Some people treat these guys work as if its a regular song, and feel like they can use their remixes like there’s nothing wrong with that. AND they treat some of the Remix Services like Full Tilt and Ultimix the same way – fair game to use on the sites. It seems like the guys who think this is ok must scour Blogs and pools like DjCity and DMS, always looking for “non-remix site” mixes to steal. This has got to stop!
*** In full disclosure JD and Jay Spring are affiliated with many of the remix sites mentioned above. We have both benefitted from being part of them and also spend money at these sites. This post is meant to highlight some issues we feel take place on these sites and do not only relate to the particular sites mentioned.
—— We encourage a discussion in the comments, but please stick to the issues and not name calling. Thank you! ——