Tag Archives: Remix Service

Digging for Diamonds

By Tony Fernandez

Through my travels on the web and through the various DJ pages, I keep seeing a recurring thought: The state of music, specifically current music, is at an all-time low. If that isn’t enough, that state of mind puts DJs into the frame of mind of: what are the good songs that should be played? The stuff out now is crap… blah, blah, blah….

I gotta tell ya, I really have no sympathy for the DJ who can’t figure out where to get “good” music. Let me explain my position before you flame me…

A long time ago in a galaxy not far away, there were these things called record stores. These record stores would have music on physical formats that people would purchase. DJs, at least the proactive DJs, wouldn’t go to a “regular” retail stores where troglodytes would buy their music. Nope. DJs would go WAY off the beaten path to find outlets that catered to them.

In these establishments is where bonds were formed, deals were made, fortunes found.

Now I’m not really going to wax on about record stores. That’s not the point. The point I’m trying to elucidate is: if you are lacking “good” music, go find it. It’s out there. Nothing worthwhile is just going to drop in your lap.

With the dawn of the digital age, record stores met their demise. As such, music is currently traded around, downloaded, and acquired in the digital scheme. That scenario, I think, has made a lot of DJs lackadaisical, complacent, passive and downright lazy to a fundamental aspect of being a DJ…

You have to dig to find that diamond in the rough. You have to put a bit of effort in your musical acquisitions. There is absolutely no reason to be obsequious in this aspect of your job. Make the time. It’s part of your job.

Just because you keep up with charts, subscribe to record pools and/or remix services doesn’t absolve you of keeping up. You really can’t just sit back and expect format radio to break the next “hot” song.

If you haven’t figured this out… format radio isn’t in the business of breaking music. Format radio is in the business of selling advertising time, to make money. They use music to do that.

You can’t just wait for your inbox to give you a notification that your downloads from the pools/remix services are ready and you’re good to go.   It’s not the job of record pools to pad your hard drive. Pools are at the mercy of the record labels and their release schedules.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of tracks that radio, the charts, the pools, the remix services are NEVER going to pick up on, play, or release. It’s incumbent on you to seek those out. To at least listen and see if something new and different is worth playing it or your crowd.

I also realize that people are creatures of habit. They like familiarity. They like things they know. They like things they’ve heard. I get that. I’m in no way saying that DJs need to play unreleased, white label, bootleg versions of songs to be cool or relevant. The vast majority of DJs play to the general public. As such, we need to keep our music programming recognizable. I do get that.

Since music now is in a digital medium, we ALL have access to the SAME tracks. (Pretty much…) We all are drinking form the same fountain, as it were. Because that’s the case, we need to set ourselves apart. Finding new music and/or remixes to current / popular music is an aspect that DJs need to take advantage of. There is good music and good remixes out there. Just don’t expect it to fall into your hard drive.

Keep ‘em spinnin’ and dig around a bit. You’ll never know what you might find.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Is Facebook Live the end of the DJ Mix Tape? Part 1

By Tony Fernandez

Mix tapes and DJs go together like peanut butter and jelly. The mix tape is a DJ’s calling card. A DJ’s sonic resume. Personally, I come from a point in time when you actually used tape to do a mix tape. But we’ve all made mix CDs… for our girlfriends, boyfriends, travel tunes, business cards, promotional showcases — the uses are endless.

Fast forward to our current state of affairs: SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Facebook Live are all great vehicles that allow DJs to share their talent with the world. However, there is conflict in the air. The waters are churning. There is strife between the DJ world and the digital world. The same vehicle(s) that have allowed DJs to share their vision and skills with the world are now clamping down on the sharing and showcasing of those skills.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I did have the following facts checked by a lawyer (who is also a DJ, producer, and copyright holder), so as to simply and correctly explain why mix tapes and the streaming of those mixes are being removed.

Let’s dig in….

DJs need to realize that the music they mix, play, use, and purchase is not “your” music. It’s natural to draw the conclusion that because you have purchased a song you’re allowed to play it publicly in a DJ set. Well, according to U.S. copyright law, this is incorrect.

There are several types of rights copyright owners must obtain under the law to distribute musical works, all of which are exclusive, including:

  • Public Performance (transmitting or performing the work in public)
  • Reproduction (copying/duplicating)
  • Digital Performance (internet streaming)

With that information in hand, we can move forward and explain why DJs aren’t allowed to post, stream, or share their mixes.

When a DJ spins at a nightclub, it’s incumbent on the venue to make sure they have a license for public performance. This license is acquired from the PROs (performance rights organizations). When the venue has a public performance license, it means that DJs can play recorded music registered with the PRO.

Radio stations pretty much work the same way. The difference is the radio stations license is for broadcast. Their license authorizes the radio station to play music on public airwaves.

Streaming services do not have a clear relationship with PROs. When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music on the internet, that DJ becomes, in effect, a radio station. As such, he or she needs to have the appropriate licenses.

No licenses, no stream.

This is, unfortunately, where we find ourselves today – at the crossroads of artistic expression and the rights of copyright holders.

It’s apparent that copyright laws are falling behind: DJ sets are not a protected form of free speech. Our sets don’t generally fall under “fair use”.

As such, copyright takedowns happen.

What can you do about it?

Stay tuned for Part 2…

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

There’s An Edit For Every Event

By: Glen Ervin

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail: We’ve all seen that DJ who keeps it real by playing unedited hip-hop at all his events — including your college roommate’s daughter’s Quinceanera (true story).

Don’t be that guy.

You can break the habit of over relying on the same tired tool today with the variety of event-specific edits you’ll find available from licensed services such as Promo Only / POOL.

The Tools that Rule:

 Radio Edits – The Swiss Army knife of edits, radio edits check all the boxes for FCC-compliant play, but can include words that while not obscene aren’t suitable for “polite” play. Recommended for mainstream clubs and adult-driven events

Clean Edits – If words that rhyme with “itch,” “pass,” “well,” and “yo” might get your “putt” in a sling, you’ll want to lean on the family-safe play you’ll find via clean edits. Recommended for family events, mainstream venues & middle- and high-school dances

Intro Edits – Need a few extra beats to nail that next mix? You’ll find 32 of them attached front and back to the original version of all tracks that bear the Intro Edit tag.

Recommended for anywhere mad-mixing skills are required

Quick Edits – Featuring the same 32-beat intros and outros found in POOL Intro Edits, Quick Edits are designed to provide rapid-fire delivery for today’s “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” crowds. Recommended for teen events, early night play, and anytime nothing less than a mega-mix will do

Explicit – Unfiltered and unedited, these are the versions your parents didn’t want you listening to, even on your headphones. P.S. Your mom knew. She always knew. She just pretended she didn’t and hoped you’d grow up to be a doctor. Recommended for mature audiences only

Success is all about having the right tool for the right job.

 Be successful.

After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.

Record Pools: What they were and what they are now

By: Tony Fernandez 

What is a record pool?

A record pool is an association of regional, local, and industry leading DJs in their respective markets. Members are: Club DJs, Mixshow DJs, Radio DJs, Program Directors, Music Directors, and highly influential Mobile DJs. A Record pool could have 10, 100, or + 1,000 members. Some Record Pools today, have members in the +10,000 range. The MAIN qualification was that you were a WORKING DJ in your area / market.

The concept of a record pool was started in the mid 1970s by the illustrious David Mancuso in NYC. The purpose of which was to establish a grassroots pipeline of communication between the record labels and the working DJs in high profile clubs that were playing to a lot of people and breaking music.

Record labels agreed to supply Record Pools with promotional (advance release) music and, in return, the record pools would provide feedback to the record labels that was derived from the pool’s membership of working DJs.

Back in the day of 12” records and remixes, a member would, generally speaking, pay a monthly fee; in return, the DJ would receive 1-2 packages a month. That could be 40-60 pieces of music a month. In addition, the DJ would have to submit back to the pool director a chart of what they are playing and feedback on the pieces of music they received.

The feedback would be collected by the director and passed along to the record labels. This information would be used to gauge the popularity of potential singles to be released and worked to radio.

Where we’re at now…

With the development of the MP3 and the ability to download music anywhere, anytime on almost anything, the “true” purpose of a record pool has become blurred. While there are still traditional pools that are viable and performing a service, it seems like with the ushering in of the digital age coupled with the attitude of “I want ALL the music…” pools have become a centralized clearing house of distribution for tons of music. People’s (DJ’s) expectations have risen to the level of entitlement and guaranteed expectancy of having every/any track they want.

We see online a plethora of “record pools” that offer DJs “unlimited” content for a measly monthly fee. These aren’t pools. These are distribution centers that collect a fee from any “DJ” willing to pay.

Allow me make a stipulation…

There are record pools and there are remix services. These two things are NOT the same. Record pools provide music to their membership for feedback. Remix services take popular songs, or soon to be popular songs, and edit, remix, and make them more “DJ friendly”. These are two entirely different things. Legitimate remix services have permission from the record labels to remix the songs on their issues. We’ll cover remixes / bootlegs another time…

DJs are always looking for an edge. Something different. Something to distinguish themselves from the herd. It’s the nature of the beast. DJs embody an “alpha” mindset and want to be unique. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just be mindful that there’s a business side to the music business and getting your music from a proper source is a good thing.

Also know, there isn’t going to be ONE record pool or ONE remix

service that will have EVERY song you desire. That pool doesn’t exist. If you do “belong” to that pool, it’s probably not 100% kosher.

Happy music hunting.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez, has been DJaying, Remixing, Producing, a Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com