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Do DJs need any permission to play songs

Do DJs need any permission to play songs

Today we want to talk about such an important concept as copyright. Very often DJs play someone else’s music, but it is protected by copyright and requires special permission to use it. Mixes help the DJ express himself, show his taste, technique and give others the opportunity to showcase your creativity. Most often, we see the posts of these mixes on social networks. When it comes to copyright, it often turns out that not all DJs consider the legality of using music in their mixes and sets.
DJs can share their work with the public on Mixcloud, SoundCloud and others, but they need to understand that the tracks they use in their work are often not their property. If you bought music on CD, then you have the right to play it only for yourself.

You might think that if you bought a track, then you can play it publicly on your DJ gear. Copyright law will tell you otherwise, and here are the types of rights to play music:

  • Public performance (broadcasting or performing in public)
  • Replaying (copying / duplicating)
  • Digital performance (Internet streaming)


Copyright types (detailed)


Public performance rights

Companies such as BMI, ASCAP issue appropriate licenses for the right to play music based on copyright law.

Exclusive right to reproduction

In order for a record company to reproduce and distribute the song, they are given a special license. At the same time, a certain fee is negotiated for each use or sale.

Derivative right

This is the right to use different parts from the original track in other products such as remixes or videos. For example, in order to use a verse from a song in a movie, you need an appropriate license.

Digital performance right in the recording

The Sound Exchange and the record companies are licensing to provide digital broadcasting of songs.

There are two types of digital audio streaming licenses:

  • License of using a musical composition embodied in a sound recording.
  • License of broadcasting sound recording piece of music in digital.

So now we understand that DJs cannot post their mixes on the Internet or play tracks publicly because they do not have the appropriate licenses. If a DJ plays in a club, then that club must have licenses for the music that DJ plays in that club.


A few words about streaming services

If a DJ starts streaming his DJ set live on Youtube, he must be licensed to do so. This also applies when videos are removed from social networks. The DJ just didn’t have a license to use the track in this video.
Let’s take a closer look at this issue again.
If a DJ writes his own music accordingly, he has the rights to it. Concerning those artists who only play music and would like to have their tracks under their own name and full reproduction rights, it is possible to buy tracks from ghost producers in our EDM Ghost Production Shop of complete tracks. Buy a track according to your style and taste, get full rights on the track and use it legally for your own purposes.
In some countries of Europe, a DJ must pay a license to use the material in his work. This must be done before starting a career. If we are talking about the USA, then DJs only need to pay for the tracks, and the club pays for the license to play music.
All DJs must buy music in order to legally use it in mixes. In some countries, DJs need a license to play music. In the United States, these fees are the establishment’s responsibility, and in most cases a DJ does not need to worry about paying for this license.
As for the music played by the DJ, all the costs of buying it fall on the DJ’s shoulders. He is obliged to legally buy tracks. In some countries, a DJ is required to have a license to play music. In the United States, the club itself bears this responsibility: the DJ buys the music, and the club buys the license to play the music.