Rights clearance startup Dubset has partnered with the indie distribution company Merlin, in a move that will grow Dubset’s music library, Billboard reports. This means rights holders represented by Merlin will earn royalties when Dubset’s MixSCAN technology recognizes one of their songs in a DJ mix. It also allows artists to legally clear samples from Merlin’s rights holders through Dubset’s MixBANK.
Dubset claims it will make clearing samples easier for artists, while making sure rights holders receive their fair share of royalties from those samples. After a DJ or producer uploads a track to the MixBANK platform, Dubset clears the track for distribution on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Dubset also splits the royalties between DJs who sample certain tracks and the tracks’ rights holders.
Merlin’s members include popular indie labels like Sub Pop, Warp, Epitaph, and Mad Decent. "Mix culture has always accounted for a significant portion of online consumption, and Merlin's membership represents a wide range of artists at the core of this culture," Merlin CEO Charles Caldas told Billboard.
This past summer, Sony Music became the first major label to agree to a deal with Dubset, allowing its artists to monetize tracks that are used in DJ sets and bootlegs.
As Billboard points out, Sony is still the only major label so far to have made such a deal, but Dubset is apparently working with Universal Music Group and Warner on similar agreements.