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Photo by Brian Suh on Unsplash

Introducing DJ Mixes on Spotify & Apple Music

Jason Wohlstadter
Oct 4, 2018 · 5 min read

This article is about Phase 1 of Proton’s beta that launched in 2018. To read about the newly launched Phase 2, click here!

Today marks a milestone 18 years in the making and long overdue. At Proton, we’ve been passionate about electronic music and DJ mixes since we launched our radio station in 2000. In the decade that followed, we started our own music label that later evolved into a distribution platform powering over 1100 independent electronic music labels.

We’ve watched the rise of SoundCloud and Beatport, and the rampant growth of streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. But all this time, online DJ mixes have been stuck in the dark ages: no real money for DJs, artists, or labels. No proper tracklist experience for fans. To be fair, it’s a hard problem to solve. Today a new era dawns.

Starting today, music labels powered by Proton can now upload DJ mixes to Spotify and Apple Music, where they can be properly monetized in front of over 100 million paying subscribers.

There are 4 key points to Proton’s implementation:

  1. Each listen to the DJ Mix generates a full, monetized play for every song in the DJ Mix.
  2. For each song in the DJ Mix, the featured artists & music labels will earn the same money as a play of the unmixed song from their original release.
  3. For the first time, DJs also get paid. Their earnings come from Proton’s share as a distributor, WITHOUT lowering the label or artist’s share.
  4. Listeners get an enhanced tracklist experience so they can see exactly what song and artist they’re listening to, helping the artists played by a DJ get the recognition they deserve. (Example: Spotify/Apple Music)

Bringing DJ mixes to Spotify and Apple Music is no easy task, so Proton will be launching our new system in multiple phases. Phase 1 is now available for free to all the Proton labels…

Phase 1: Label Mixes

At launch, music labels can publish DJ mixes that only feature music from their own catalog. While that might sound limiting at first for DJs, it opens up plenty of exciting opportunities. (See the examples below.)

Then, once Phase 1 is running smoothly, we’ll expand our system to support DJ mixes across multiple labels. Phase 1 is just the beginning.

During Phase 1, a label manager on Proton can upload a DJ Mix featuring music from any Proton label they manage, including upcoming releases — as long as they’re scheduled for a release date.

Why this is a big deal…

  • UNTAPPED POTENTIAL — While Spotify and Apple Music have seen enormous growth over the last few years, many electronic music labels haven’t shared in the success as much as they could have: their songs are long, with intros and outros that are great for DJs to mix, but can be boring for casual fans. As a result, a majority of electronic music labels simply don’t get many plays on the major streaming platforms. But with DJ mixes, that changes.
  • RESPECTING THE DJ — Currently, DJs on SoundCloud, MixCloud, and YouTube don’t earn any money for the mixes they upload. With Proton’s integration, DJs finally get paid for their work on Spotify & Apple Music. This helps the DJ pay for the tracks they buy, but also encourages them to promote their mix even more — which helps generate more plays (and earnings) for everyone.
  • RESPECTING THE ARTISTS & LABELS — For the first time, listeners will be able to see exactly what song they’re listening to in the mix while also being able to click through to follow/support the artists behind each track directly on the same platform.

What changed to make this a reality? Why now?

  • GAPLESS PLAYBACK — A few years ago Spotify and Apple Music quietly enabled gapless playback by default for all their subscribers. This means that when one song ends on an album, the next track can start immediately without interruption.
  • SMART CONTRACTS — Proton’s platform features smart contracts, empowering our music labels to completely automate their contracts, statements, payments, and expenses with their original artists and remixers. Now, Proton’s smart contracts include a share for DJs.
  • STREAMING GROWTH — Revenues on Spotify and Apple Music have grown exponentially over the last few years, finally making it financially viable to develop a platform that could support all this. With over 100 million paying subscribers, there is finally a paying audience that can monetize DJ mixes.

Want to get involved?

Examples & Success Stories, so far…

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EIN2 Mixed by Einmusik
On Spotify / On Apple Music

Berlin’s Einmusik, head of the EIN2 label, released a 1.5 hour mix featuring his label’s catalog. In just over a month, the mix generated 80K+ streams across Spotify and Apple Music, driving tons of paying listeners to the back catalog of his label.

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Icefield by Warmth
On Spotify / On Apple Music

Since its release, Warmth’s ambient downtempo mix became his label’s #1 most streamed release of 2018, with some tracks in the mix gaining more plays in the mix than the unmixed original release.

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Chapter 24’s Selected Stories
On Spotify / On Apple Music

Many labels release “Various Artist” compilations in unmixed format. But by also releasing a mixed version of their compilation, Chapter 24 doubled the number of streams their compilation received.

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THE ALLEYS 001 by Mononoid
On Spotify / On Apple Music

The Mango Alley label launched a mix series with multiple episodes in mind, inviting top artists from their label to host — just like a radio show.

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