Aslice is the new software tool that makes sure dance music producers get paid

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It’s rare in music technology that a disruptor emerges so rooted in the core values ​​of the electronic music community, but, in a nutshell, it’s exactly this new software tool. A slice is.

Born out of a real need to address disparities within dance culture, the software offers a financial bridge to electronic music producers who often miss out on both the big paychecks of top DJs and the royalties of collection agencies. Aslice is on a mission to create a fairer ecosystem through software that allows DJs to effortlessly capture their playlist data and voluntarily donate a small portion of their gig fee (amount varies, but 5 % is suggested) directly to the song producers. they play.

The innovation of the American company is based on the collection of information captured on USB during a DJ set, then downloaded to Aslice’s portable software afterwards. It dispenses with the need to scribble half-memorized sets and go through the tricky process of uploading tracklists on the DJ’s side, and instead acts as its own collection agency, using metadata and algorithms to match and assign tracks to their owners through public databases. .

According to the 2019 IMS Business Report, DJs earned a total of $1.1 billion from touring. Yet a study published by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) indicated that only 0.4% of artists across all genres in the UK live off streaming royalties. Add to that streaming giant Spotify’s recent massive investments in non-music related businesses such as military AI and celebrity podcasters and you have a landscape where producers frequently fall to the bottom of the food chain.

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How Aslice works (Image credit: Aslice)

If Aslice feels pleasantly selfless, that’s largely down to the pedigree and commitment of founder Zak Khutoretsky aka DVS1, who has long used his top position as a world-renowned DJ and producer to meet the needs of electronic music communities. “Aslice,” he says, revealing the origins of the company’s name, “is part of the cake.”

Khutoretsky, who first emerged from the 90s Midwestern rave scene in the United States, could be seen as a campaigner for preserving the true values ​​of the club, especially with his 2014 writing highlighting the battle between art and entertainment and the importance of cameraless policies in clubs. Then, in 2019, Khutoretsky launched the SOS (Support Organize Sustain) initiative, organizing roundtables and seminars aimed at counterbalancing the values ​​of dance culture increasingly dominated by business and industry. On the contrary, Aslice feels like a natural successor to this engaged lineage, from trial to discussion to real-time action.

“At the end of 2019, I was about to do my kind of typical end-of-the-year message saying, ‘I have a great life as a DJ. Thank you all for coming to the concerts and hearing me play and also for supporting my labels. Khutoretsky explains the genesis of the idea. “But I felt uncomfortable doing this post and decided to make one instead thanking everyone for the music I get, for the producers sending me unreleased tracks. “

“Because my DJ skills are one thing, but the music I get from people is really the other half of my success. So I asked myself: how can I support artists? Finally, I called my long-time assistant, label manager and good friend Sebastian and I said: I have this idea now that I play mostly digital, I have all my playlists, all my track lists, and I continue to see a few hundred names of young producers sending me music, who don’t get paid. So I asked him to send 200 artists 50 dollars each as a thank you. Sebastian replied that it was a great idea , but that it would take a lot of admin time to figure that out, so we’ve scrapped that idea for now – until the pandemic overwhelms us all and the whole scene stops.

The income gap between DJs and producers has widened over the past 25 years

It was during this uncertain time when the nightlife was closed that Zak returned to his studio in Berlin and decided to throw himself into it headfirst – hosting a focus group including, he estimates, about 50 artists, publishers, producers, agency agents, large or small. , unknown or known, to shape the idea. He then mortgaged his house, hired a development team and recruited Ethan Holben (former global head of Red Bull Radio and VP of Yadastar) as CEO. “And we started building Aslice over the last two years.”

The income disparity between DJs and producers widened during Khutoretsky’s timeline. “I’ve been DJing for over 25 years now,” he recalls. “In the beginning, producers who released records when vinyl was the only medium, you could sell enough physical copies to make a living even if you only released one record once in a while. And then over time, with digitization, the ease of releasing music took precedence over how you actually got paid to create or produce or whatever.

Yet it’s not just that the role of the producer has been financially devalued through digital means, either through the accessibility of music creation and delivery or through the unbearable rates offered by streaming services like Spotify. , which currently pay between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream. Existing performing rights societies (PROs), created to distribute royalties, are also ill-equipped to support global dance communities.

“One of the biggest feedbacks I’ve seen since the launch of the public beta is people saying, ‘why aren’t collecting societies solving this problem?’ Collecting societies already exist, Khutoretsky explains, but recent figures from the AFEM (Association for Electronic Music) suggest that at any given time, 40% of the Beatport Top 100 is not eligible for royalties, as the songs aren’t registered with the PROs.”We’re pointing out to them that this problem has been around for 40 years now and the entities that exist to solve it aren’t solving it.”

Aslice could benefit producers whose work is not designed to be received by commercial audiences

The reason existing collection companies are inefficient is what Berlin-based music tech expert Kalam Ali, co-founder of start-up IN X SPACE, casually and humorously describes as “The Helene Fischer Problem”, referring to the German singer who reportedly earned $32 million in 2018. He says, “If it’s unclaimed, the PRO money goes to the top artists at the time.

“The problem,” Ali explains, “is that you get money either through a paid venue or through door-to-door ticket sales and tunes played by a music producer in a club setting. And according to the law, the venue gives money back to the PROs to pay these music authors.

Notable supporters of the software include Richie Hawtin, dBridge, and Surgeon

Club music differs from commercial music in both functionality and intent. Club tracks are inherently designed to facilitate an experience for a community in a specific context and not to be (infrequent crossover examples aside) pushed into a commercial market of maximum radio play and public relations. Noting that club music is not built with the same visibility as Helene Fischer’s music, a system like Aslice could benefit producers whose work is not designed to be received by commercial audiences.

“It happens at the right time”, DJ and underground producer, MonovsunSaid. Il a entendu parler du logiciel via une publication sur les réseaux sociaux dans laquelle DVS1 jouait sa musique. Monovsun explains: “In this post-pandemic world climate, everyone is more aware, especially on the stage of electronic music. This is the time to take advantage of it. c’est un bon moment pour dire aux grands artistes qu’ils peuvent faire leur part et soutenir ceux qui font la musique de leurs sets. En 2019, les 10 meilleurs DJ représentent à eux seuls 273 millions de dollars sur les 1,1 milliard de dollars gagnés par tous les DJ réunis. Si Aslice doit réussir, cela pourrait être dû au patronage de DJ de renom – les partisans notables du logiciel incluent Richie Hawtin, dBridge et Surgeon.

“Imagine if a producer didn’t need DJs to make a living,” says Khutoretsky, “if a producer could make enough money producing, then DJs could stay relevant, just like DJs and producers could stay And if a producer is good and they can get paid and they can spend more time in their studio, they will become better producers, release more music, provide more DJs, and this ecosystem becomes much more healthy, not only financially, but also in terms of opportunities.

Visit the Aslice website to register or learn more.

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