EDM Artists: Your turn to get exploited.

Hey EDM artists: Were you ever just sitting around after a successful gig and wondering, man, I just wish there was a way I could have an Ex-Cops McDonald's experience? Well look no further, because the charmingly named Beatgasm is the place for you. It's a place where you can listen to EDM that's been "expertly curated" by mood and genre and location. And best of all for listeners it's absolutely free! Whoo!

And artists get a lot out of it, too! Like, exposure! And, exposure! And promotion and exposure. Also, exposure. If I keep repeating exposure maybe you won't ask if you get money because you don't. But you know what you do get? Exposure!

Although their terms of service, which they cutely call "Artist Agreement" doesn't mention any guarantees of exposure or even explain how said exposure happens, except presumably by putting your track at the top of its site which you could do on your own website, it does absolutely guarantee you won't get paid or that they are not responsible if someone puts your music up without your consent.

Check out the terms of service. See if you want to agree to this agreement:

1. License. You hereby grant to BEATGASM the worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, and fully sublicensable right and license to publicly perform and digitally transmit, with or without the video, in all manner across the BEATGASM platform as now exists and as in the future it evolves (which includes the right to use, display, reproduce, copy, publish, distribute, and make derivative works of in any format, each Recording). You understand that your Recordings will be available to anyone in the world for streaming, downloading, and viewing, and that BEATGASM will NOT be liable for any royalties or fees to you or any third party, including without limitation, any performing rights organization (“PRO”), and you waive any restrictions on use of that Content, including without limitation, any performance complement restrictions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). You are solely responsible for taking all steps necessary to inform any PRO or third party with which you are affiliated regarding this Agreement.

2. Your Warranties and Representations. You represent and warrant that: (a) BEATGASM’s use of the Recordings will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party and BEATGASM will not owe royalties to any party with regard to the use of the Recordings as contemplated herein; and (b) you have all power, authority and capacity to enter into the terms set forth in this Agreement;. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless BEATGASM from and against any and all claims, damages, and expenses arising from any inaccuracy in there representations or your breach of any part of this Agreement.

As usual the record labels are already backing it as "partners," so you know. The old boss and the new boss are the same.

AnonymousCoward's picture
Dabitch's picture

I'm from Swedish lapland, above the arctic circle. I know that you can die from exposure.

The BEATGASM Team's picture

It appears that your opinions are misguided. Feel free to reach out if you have questions with our policies, DMCA compliance and SoundExchange licensing.

Dabitch's picture

Feel free to elaborate and explain how his conclusions are wrong, as they are based on reading your terms of service. I'm sure you can clear it up in a brief comment, publicly.

The BEATGASM Team's picture

Sure, Dabitch. His conclusions are incorrect because the artist agreement that we have is only for unsigned artists. Further, our agreements are for artists who have not worked out deals with the publishers (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC) of SoundExchange. We pay significant royalties to all artists who are associated with these entities. If you do your research, you will know that digital streaming platforms actually pay the performers of the song (artists) on top of the publishers. Radio does not even do this. They just pay the publishers. The team behind BEATGASM is made up of musicians/artists and we are the last people who ever want to "exploit" other artists. In fact, we go one step further and help artists who are not associated with any of the aforementioned entities so that they can get paid. Our agreement is set up the way it is because there are strict guidelines to remain compliant with DMCA. I can go into more detail and educate you guys on that if you need more info. To sum it up, in fact, we are not screwing over artists and doing quite the opposite. I would say that for future reference when writing an article - check all the details and dig a little deeper first before creating a conspiracy.

kidsleepy's picture

And I would say if an artist visits your site and reads your terms of service it suggests the exact opposite of what you are saying here. Perhaps you should update your site accordingly? You know, kind of the way Spotify and Pandora and Google Play have done. This is doubly true of unsigned artists who don't have big label leverage. Do you see how a lack of transparency causes this issue?
It may be hard to believe but after extensive research I've found no articles in which you discuss this. If you'd care to furnish some articles for us or go into more detail about your royalty rates, I'll be more than happy to update this article.
FYI It's not a conspiracy to read your terms of service as written and conclude it's not a good deal.

David Felton's picture

BEATGASM - you talk about educating Kidsleepy (who btw is an accomplished journalist, so maybe check your sanctimony), but you really don't make it clear how you're supporting artists. For instance if your 'artists agreement' is for unsigned artists, then what do they get? Other than exposure, of course. Also comparing yourself to another platform such as radio and effectively saying "These guys are worse than us" doesn't exactly strengthen your position here.

Chris Castle's picture

1. ASCAP BMI and SESAC are not publishers. They are songwriter collectives that administer the public performance right. Websites can easily get a blanket license for all their songwriters from each of them and they are dead cheap.

2. If you have licenses why do you need the DMCA safe harbor that protects infringers?

3. Who told you that the terms of the 114 license are waiveable or that you qualify for it in the first place?

4. What are you doing about cover recordings or samples?

Dabitch's picture

> the artist agreement that we have is only for unsigned artists

Okay, so as an unsigned artist (humor me here, I haven't been in a band for over 20 years), am I to understand that when I click the "Agree" button I grant BEATGASM the worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, and fully sublicensable right and license, available to anyone in the world for streaming, downloading, and viewing... ? I may be interpreting this wrong but it looks like I give you content, and you give me zip, zilch, nada.

Also, I 'waive any restrictions on use of that Content' - as a European, droit morale or moral rights as you call them can't be waived off like that, so how exactly will this play out worldwide if you're getting all the rights "to use, display, reproduce, copy, publish, distribute, and make derivative works of in any format, each Recording"? I'm not a lawyer but I sense a conflict here.

The BEATGASM Team's picture

It was not our intention to question anyone’s credentials, but rather to voice our opinion on the topic at hand. BEATGASM is a streaming music platform that aims to put the artists first. It is our mission to bridge the gap between up-and-coming artists and industry powerhouses through featured content, experiential inclusion and city-specific genre exploration. We designed our platform with artist discovery at the core, giving talent a chance to connect with potential fans regardless of whether or not they have a label behind them.

With our partner labels, we have taken the time to develop strategic contracts with labels like Casablanca Records, Astralwerks Records, Ultra Records, Robbins Entertainment and Dim Mak Records. These contracts ensure that all of the artists featured on the platform are represented and compensated appropriately.

In any case, we appreciate your comments regarding our artist agreement and will internalize the issues you have brought up to clarify the concerns mentioned. As we continue to grow, we aim to lead the industry in transparency and artist relations. I would love to discuss this further and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to reach us at info@BEATGASM.com.

Dabitch's picture

Reading Why Did Beatport Release a Free Streaming App That Doesn’t Even Have Ads? and the interview with Jeff Rimmer here that Beatgasm is a little different in that it aims to serve more to be a venue of advertising for a DJ's/Artists show and night club events, than your usual streaming service. This isn't a bad idea per se - hey, we work in advertising and this is a good advertising idea - but it seems you prevaricate when asked direct questions. You say it's a "music platform that put artists first", but clearly haven't given much thought to unsigned artists income, when their work is used as content on your platform if they aren't incorporated into the 'deals' made with various labels. There's a stress on the ability for live acts on Beatgasm - something that I really appreciate, I love beatmixing - but that's also where the rights management gets a little tricky unless you can sort out a blanket license. Getting the chance to connect with fans as a DJ skillfully blending other peoples songs together is great, and if it serves to advertise the club where the DJ plays (and gets paid), well that's nice too - but you're essentially still saying that the set played by the DJ on your platform is only paid in exposure.

Chris Castle asked some very good questions that I think you should address as well.