With its new royalty program announced on January 17, TheFuture.fm is positioned as a unique and innovative tool for DJs – one allowing producers of all levels to submit mixes and playlists and have listeners (who may become potential fans) hear them. If it has potential to be like Soundcloud but better, what does TheFuture.fm offer DJs?
For a bit of background, the site launched as Dubset in September 2011 with a concept similar to Soundcloud: a legal platform for uploading mixes, which is particularly crucial in the days of DMCA. The web radio aspect took a secondary role but, in mid-2012, began receiving more emphasis as part of a rebranding effort. The overhaul involved “enhanced functionality, social sharing tools, an embeddable player, proprietary search and recommendation algorithm, and more music from the world’s most prominent and talented DJs.”
Once re-launched as TheFuture.fm, Dubset became a cloud-based radio station featuring audio mixed or recorded live by the world’s top DJing talent. The platform, however, is not limited to producers and DJs who have attained a particular level of success. Well-known, independent, and even aspiring producers can use TheFuture.fm to add mixes and podcasts to a personalized channel.
Much like Mixify, which we reviewed in 2012, TheFuture.fm acts as a medium for a DJ to access and grow a fan base while promoting tracks and performances. Feedback, although in a lesser degree, comes in the form of seeing what fans are listening to. Similarly, the two sites strive for a club-like format.
Beyond these similarities, TheFuture.fm sets itself apart in one major regard: treating DJing, rather than the produced tracks, as original content. As PandoDaily.com points out, DJs not signed to a major label face a block when it comes to being played on Pandora, Spotify, and other streaming radio platforms.
Its own MixSCAN feature identifies tracks, through audio fingerprinting and rights flow technology, added to mixes. MixSCAN identifies the track added to long-form audio and then compensates through a royalty-based revenue stream both the copyright holders and the DJs for the amount of time the song was sampled. The royalty program is predicted to earn DJs $55 million.
Both parties, as well, are compensated every time a mix streams through the site. With TheFuture.fm’s usage growing 500 percent over the past year, with DJs, listeners, and mix plays, the amount from royalties will likely increase. Because it partners with BMI, Sound Exchange, ASCAP, SESAC, NARM, and Sony Gracenote, MixSCAN enables DJs to add and play their mixes with few complications.
In recent announcements, TheFuture.fm plans to grow, offering more opportunities for exposure. Already, the site has seen more than 25 million mixplays on its over 8,000 custom DJ channels, and as a result, advertising is expected to play a greater role, including branding, connecting DJs to off-website opportunities, and partnering with live-streaming and background music companies. About its growing usage and features, CEO Dave Stein said in a statement: “I am confident we are fast on our way to achieving our goals to build a disruptive internet radio platform and have a profound effect on the music industry.”