Guerilla producer DJ Detweiler has emerged as one of the electronic music underground’s most vocal opponents to SoundCloud’s new copyright and licensing policies, which frequently result in mixes being flagged or taken offline altogether. After a well-publicized stunt involving a remix of John Cage’s famously silent 4’33 and a Justin Bieber sample, he sparked internet-wide debate when he hosted the Reddit AMA, “I‘m about to take all my remixes off SoundCloud. Ask Me Anything!” Earlier today, we ran a feature in which technologists Peter Kirn and Mat Dryhurst discussed the future of streaming in 2016, and we asked Detweiler what his ideal platform would look like. His response syncs up with—and sharply pivots away from—Kirn and Dryhurst in interesting ways. Read it in full below.
“Music streaming in the future would ideally be centralized around two main platforms: a profit-generating mainstream system in which every artist could participate, regardless of whether they had deals with major labels, and a free, independent system based on the idea of sharing.
The mainstream system would monitor all existing major platforms (Soundcloud, Mixcloud, YouTube, Spotify, and many more to come). An algorithm would determine who owns the rights of the song and who sampled who. Consumers would have the option of buying and downloading a song straight away. Audio advertising in between songs wouldn’t exist; instead, the host would borrow from Bandcamp’s business model and take a cut of the sales. Money would also come from non audio adverts , paid subscriptions that would allow for offline streaming or downloading an audio file that, unlike MP3s or WAVs, could only be played in the player’s app or website. All the plays would be monetized towards both the original artist and remixer (if there is one, and even without consent of the original artist), with some kind of percentage rule.
We live in a world where change is inevitable; a world ruled by the internet where everything is subject to change within minutes or even seconds. I can upload an image on one side of the world right now, and it can be photoshopped, destroyed, collaged, converted into a meme or printed on a billboard within seconds. If I’m performing live somewhere, I’m subject to be recorded via Smartphone and shared across social networks, magazines, newspapers, etc. without anyone asking my permission. Why should this be different with music?
On the other hand, I can also imagine a nonprofit, ad-free, peer-to-peer alternative streaming service. This would resemble a Soulseek-Discogs-Soundcloud hybrid site developed by music lovers, where people could upload, download, stream and share music with others without any barriers. This P2P streaming service would also have a database for crediting and connecting all musicians. Major record labels would have learned to stop acting like kids trying to run an old fashioned, out-of-date business, dealt with the fact that we’re in 2016, and accepteded that someone listening to a song without paying for it is harmless.
Of course, nothing like this will happen in 2016, and all this was just a dream. Everything will be run by the same three corporations (Sony, Universal and Warner), but who knows. Maybe in the future, some things will change.”