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Distrokid allies with Audible Magic to tackle unofficial uploads

By | Published on Thursday 13 June 2019


With unofficial uploads of music making their way onto services like Spotify an ever bigger talking point of late, DIY distribution firm Distrokid has announced an alliance with audio ID company Audible Magic. The aim is to spot more of those unofficial uploads as they are being unofficially uploaded by an unofficial uploader.

Both Spotify and Apple now publish lists of preferred music distributors, of course, and one of the key requirements for distribution firms that want preferred status is having sufficient systems in place to stop people from uploading other people’s music. Maybe Ariana Grande’s music. Or Beyonce’s music. Or SZA’s music. Or Rihanna’s music. Or Playboi Carti’s music. Or any recordings of songs written by Harold Arlen.

Distrokid, more than most DIY distributors, needs to take these requirements seriously, what with Spotify being a business partner and a shareholder. It would be a bit embarrassing if Spotify had to take preferred status away from the distribution firm it is actively working with and owns a slice of.

Under the new partnership, all uploads to Distrokid will be compared to Audible Magic’s database of 20 million media assets, to check that they are not straight copies of someone else’s release. Such checking is becoming ever more common across the industry, which in the main is a good idea, except where legit remixes, super-similar covers and karaoke tracks also get blocked. But hey, fuck the remixers, super-similar cover makers and karaoke firms. And I’m sure Audible Magic’s system and Distrokid’s use of it has all that covered.

Confirming the new alliance, Audible Magic boss Vance Ikezoye says: “Distrokid has a positive reputation amongst artists for making distribution fast, reliable and easy. This partnership signals our joint commitment to an industry working towards clean data, proper rights management and improved artist attribution”.

Distrokid is also seeking to make it easier for artists and labels to get their music into Audible Magic’s database, to reduce the chances of future unofficial uploads of their work. That particular service is called DistroLock and the company says it will also make an API available so that “other distributors and streaming services [can] easily validate the authenticity of music uploaded to their respective platforms”.

“Until now, there hasn’t been a definitive way for artists to say, ‘this is my audio, don’t let anyone else release it'”, Distrokid CEO Philip Kaplan declares. “With the launch of DistroLock, any musician can pre-emptively register their audio to help ensure that unauthorised releases don’t see the light of day. This partnership with Audible Magic and the creation of DistroLock will help artists by ensuring that their original content is uploaded and distributed fairly, with accuracy and speed”.