In our industry, music is everything. It’s our sole basis for our business and what drives our customer base. But there are some myths, pros, and cons about what a professionally licensed, insured DJ company can use and not use as far as online streaming media outlets like YouTube, Vimeo, and othres go. Then there are the moral and ethical issues also involved in the licensing and obtaining of music from these platforms.
One of the biggest things we get asked about for wedding dance music is the music found on YouTube. Just about every wedding, a music list will be submitted. And at just about every wedding, someone will come up with a YouTube song requesting our DJ to play it. “Can we”, is the big question. Our simple answer, NO. Do we….in some occasions, YES. The main basis is behind the licenses and copyrights hinges all on “for profit use” vs “Personal use”, but mostly, was it paid for.
Next, we’ll address the YES portion as it’s a much shorter explanation than the NO explanation. In some situations, we can. How? Usually, if we can obtain written permission from a local artist who made the song. If the song is NOT published, owned, or copyrighted by anyone, then we can. The big issue is playing music For-Profit. We are making money off their music by someone hiring us, and they want compensation.
But most of the time it’s NO. And you don’t want us to anyway! Why? A few reasons. First. Most YouTube Songs are of low quality when copied from the internet. They sound great on a set of earbuds or through your home stereo system, but not through a professional HD audio system. It’s the way our Pro sound systems PROCESSES music. A higher quality 320kbps song is processed much clearer than the standard Youtube 128kbps or even 96kbps quality. This lower quality results into a grainy sounding song. Those Youtube songs have been Transcoded many times, Lossy Coded. Poor music will kill a dance very quickly. To upload a song to youTube, they will cut down the audio quality to save server space meaning a smaller file size (lower quality file). If they don’t, then “downloading” it is almost always compressed to lower quality. This is done by your ISP to save bandwidth for other people on the network.
So you don’t care about the sound quality and you just want to hear that darn fav song!! Well hopefully you care about ethics and morals, or at least you should want your DJ company to right? If the DJ company didn’t care, would that be a sign that they may not care enough or have the morals and ethics enough to represent what you want at your wedding or event? Would you have faith and trust in a company that is already doing things illegally and at best, shady?
Next, most of the time, it’s illegal. We are not above the laws. We can not break the laws. Piracy is serious. But if you don’t think so, then think about you, getting up for work in the morning, going to work for 8, 10, even 12 hours a day. At the end of the week and your work is complete and your boss says, “Thank you but I’m not paying you for your work this week because John took it, turned it in, and got the commission for it.” How would you feel?
How does DJ Sound Productions fix and address the problem?? There are many ways we can get you almost everything you want. Most of the time, that same music is on one of a several dozen record pools. And yes, we subscribe to all of them. It costs about $700/month, but at least we know we are doing the right thing. The other option is to contact the original producer of the song/audio. Get their permission. Most of the time, they will be flattered. If that doesn’t work and it’s not on the record pools, we can do a search to buy it. Sometimes the song(s) are only released in certain countries. We can buy from that country and ship it to America if there aren’t any restrictions. Most music producers that want their music heard, want to make money from it and have it for sale….somewhere. If they don’t, then it’s not meant to be played publically for profit, IE a “cover rendition” or special YouTube release.
Why don’t the artists let DJ companies use their music off of YouTube? There are a few reasons. Reason Number one, they want us to buy it. And we totally support that. Number two. They release music to the general public for promotion, to listen to their music, get familiar with it, and fall in love with it so that you buy it. Some artists NEVER release their music for business/commercial use, meaning we may never find it on the record pools or anywhere else for sale.
But why? Some artists (usually less than .01%) NEVER release their music for business/commercial use (for profit), meaning we may never find it on the record pools. Their reason is if we purchase one copy, play it every weekend, load it up online and people come to listen to it at whatever venue we are at, they may never buy that song or album. They feel that if they release it on YouTube, and that’s the ONLY place you can hear it, then you’ll buy it and listen to it at home. This maximizes their sales potential on an individual basis.
How much trouble can we (or you) get into? No one will notice, right? That’s false. YouTube, Owned by Google, monitors every IP address that logs on and every piracy software that connects to their servers. They know who you are. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), downloading unauthorized versions of copyrighted music from any filesharing service to illegally copying music using streamripping software or mobile apps is punishable as a felony with up to 5 years of jail time and a $250,000.00 fine. Learn about the laws by Clicking here.
All the reasons above are why YouTube does NOT allow you (or anyone) to download the music, only listen or watch.
If the Moral, ethical, and legal issues don’t bother you, and you still want the DJ to play those tunes from YouTube no matter what….we may not the the right company for you.
On the other side, we do whatever we can to make sure that you have the music that you want at your wedding. The upside is that 99.99% of music IS for sale somewhere and we’ll get it. Usually, if it’s on YouTube, it’s for sale somewhere. If it’s music you hear on the radio, it’s for sale somewhere. No company works harder to make sure that your wedding is done the way it should be!