Ask Abbie… Is it legal to make a mix of music and put it on SoundCloud?
Is it legal to make a mix of music and put it on SoundCloud? Their website says no, but I know a ton of blogs and DJs who put their mixes on SoundCloud with no issue, when I’m guessing they haven’t gotten permission from each individual artist. I’m asking because I’m interested in making a monthly mix for my site, but I don’t know if that’s okay or not. Don’t feel like getting into legal trouble.
The answer is no… It is not legal to make a mix.
When a song is written, a copyright is filed. In short, a copyright prevents anyone from changing the lyrics or stealing the melody of a song. To get money from airplay or have the music put to videos, movies, commercials, games, etc., you must have a publisher. In short, a publisher manages the music and collects money from airplay, song performances, etc.
Therefore, assuming most of the music you want to use is popular music, you would be required to license the music not from the performing artist, but from the publisher.
Publishers make their money licensing, and they never allow free use when asked by the general public. Only music which is public domain could be used at no cost to you. Public domain means the music has expired copyrights… very old!
The lack of adherence to copyright law throughout the US and abroad has become a serious problem over the years; I call it “The YouTube Syndrome.” I derive this phrase from the fact that a great majority of YouTube users seriously violate International Copyright law.
SoundCloud is covering their butt by informing you not to create a mix. I suggest you take the high road! Those blogs and DJs are violating copyright law. It is very difficult for publishers to police the abuse which occurs. However, once the blogs or DJs either generate enough traffic or begin to generate any real numbers in sales, the trouble for them begins.
They will most likely continue to get away with it. However, eventually someone will get busted and will take a hard fall as an example to others. I would use caution. Bottom line: it’s not legit to use someone songs.