Is it illegal to use Spotify to DJ?

Doing DJ is not easy. The main thing for DJ is music. And where to take it if the physical media of music content inexorably go back in time, and streaming services popular today claim that the use of their music for commercial purposes is a direct violation of copyright?

By agreeing to the Swedish Spotify Music Streaming Service Terms of Use, each user confirms that they will use their content solely for personal purposes. I mean. Just listen to music.

If you make a mix for yourself and do not post it anywhere, then this is personal use. If you upload the mix to free access, this is already the distribution of content. To do this, you need permission from the copyright holder, in this case Spotify.

But this is only formal: in practice, you can lay out mixes without permission. The fact is that resolution is a very subtle thing that is almost impossible to track, and even the presence of permission does not guarantee that your mix will not be closed.

If you earn money on a mix – sell or use for advertising, then this is already commercial use. In this case, you need to either pay the authors of the original royalty tracks, or buy a license from the streaming service – depending on what exactly you do.

Unlike the relatively harmless blocking of the mix, here already copyright holders can sue and recover a fine from you. The larger the platform, the more resources it has for it.


Social networks have learned to analyze audio materials in addition to video, and, whenever they detect so-called audio recordings not cleared of copyrights in mixes or radio shows, they are instantly extracted from public access with reference to copyright infringement.

Whenever the DJ is going to play this or that work from the streaming service, he asks the Spotify manager for copy information about the release: this is the name of the release, who wrote the work, and sometimes the ISRC code of the track assigned by the distributor. After this information is received, it is indicated in the parameters of the mix and you can not worry that the radio show will be extracted due to copyright infringement.

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You can use special DJ programs, which today are just a huge number on the Internet. When streaming music is converted to another format, for example, MP3, DRM system protection is removed, ensuring that content copyright is respected.

If we summarize everything that has been said, then the use of tracks from Spotify for DJs is, in principle, not legal. The question is the control of this problem. Indeed, it is almost unrealistic to control the use of a track from the Swedish streaming service somewhere at a crowded party or at a small radio station, the broadcast of which is not even Internet-duplicated.

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