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Mixcrate shuts down (mixcrate.com)
79 points by empressplay on Oct 23, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 34 comments



It's disappointing that, before trying to shut them down with legal threats, record labels don't try to partner and monetise sites like Mixcrate. While I'm making an assumption here, I think it's very likely to be the case.

No one is going to hear a track in a DJ mix, then NOT buy it because they heard it in a mix. It's just not a substitute for anything that labels are selling. In fact, the opposite is true, that people are much more likely to go and buy a track because the mix helped them discover it.

A large number of folks uploading mixes to Mixcrate would be amateur, making no money from whatever promotional value using a track may give them. They do it for the love of it. Some would have been DJs who do mix for profit. I'd suggest some low-cost licensing system, paying a few dollars a month to use licensed tracks would be a decent solution for both.

Sites like Mixcrate closing down kills two revenue streams for labels, 1) referral/discovery purchases and 2) a direct licensing model.


Whenever labels do this, they offer egregious terms that render the business unsustainable.


record labels don't try to partner and monetise sites like Mixcrate.

When it comes to music streaming, with few exceptions record labels do not "partner," they dictate terms. The mere implication that Mixcloud should have any leverage in a negotiation of this type is anathema to the industry.

A large number of folks uploading mixes to Mixcrate would be amateur, making no money from whatever promotional value using a track may give them

The industry doesn't care about the failures of the bedroom DJ.

It's just not a substitute for anything that labels are selling. In fact, the opposite is true, that people are much more likely to go and buy a track because the mix helped them discover it.

Eliminating the thin edge of the wedge of ceding any copyright control is more important. The first rule about the music industry is that being a landowner in copyright country takes precedence over the desires of music fans. There is much lip service designed to counteract this perception, but if you look at the history and actions of the industry its priorities come clear.

Sites like Mixcrate closing down kills two revenue streams for labels

What revenue? People don't spend money on this stuff for a few reasons, one of which is because DJ mixes are so numerous, and another is "because they can't." The tracklists that would provide the names of songs for a listener to purchase currently have extremely low coverage, partially due to the litigiousness of the industry. The industry also resists the idea of having universal identification codes (cf. ISRC) that would make any of this more practical.

2) a direct licensing model.

These are rare, and you have to be Pandora-sized to get them from the BigN cartel.


Such bullshit. They're shutting down, not because of any real lawsuit, but because of a threat of a lawsuit. Is this really what America is about?

It wasn't even a real threat of a lawsuit. It was an email from someone high up in the music industry. That's all it takes.

I love the United States, but fuck, it really disappoints me sometimes.


It is. My views on contracts and law suits changed when we got a trademark infringement suit against us.

It became a function of "how much is this going to cost us?" We ended up changing the name of our company even though we didn't think the accuser had a case. It wasn't about who was right. It was about how much money did we think they would be willing to put up because we'd have to match it.


> we'd have to match it

But how is that?

Is it that the party with a lot of money can file many briefs and that the other party has to respond to them? (and what if they don't? Do they lose by default?)

And could it not be fixed by limiting the number of possible briefs, by law (depending on non-hackable criteria such as, amount of damages awarded in similar cases, etc.)?


So, if you're fighting the government, you have an advantage in that it costs the state money to enforce a judgment. The weight of precedent means that the government has to enforce laws against everybody. If what you're doing is politically sensitive, then you could find the hammer of the law dropped on you fast, but if you're in a political blind spot, then you can get away without getting slapped for a long time.

Fighting the music cartel, on the other hand, that's a completely different animal. They can afford to pay big teams of lawyers to slap you silly, and keep doing it for as long as they want. If they want you out of business, they're going to find a way.

Picture all the people trying to make the world a better place as a bunch of ants. Fighting the government is like fighting a bear. The bear can crush a few of you but not all of you. Fighting the music industry is like fighting a hoard of dragonflies.


The music industry is vicious. Monetizing any app in it seems to step on someone's toes. As a small developer, one faces going up against a legal defense out of one's budget, even without doing anything wrong. I really don't think it's a space that can be won.


>> "The music industry is vicious."

That hits the nail on the head. Adding to that, it's an issue that goes both ways. For indie artists, it sucks even worse than for small-time programmers, if you can believe that. They get all the problems the big boys have on top of the lack of resources to produce, pay licensing fees, pay assistants, make up for other losses. Stepping on toes is alot easier given how subjective music recording law can be.

Now here's the $1M question: How can we help the little guy? You seem to suggest it's not possible (in that last sentence), but do we really want to let the system devolve into purely RIAA vs BitTorrent?


>Now here's the $1M question: How can we help the little guy? You seem to suggest it's not possible (in that last sentence), but do we really want to let the system devolve into purely RIAA vs BitTorrent?

You can help artists by offering access to your distribution network and your marketing services, likely in exchange for copyright as success is impossible to predict and artists don't have capital. In short, become a record company. The way you actually help is by creating competition to the establishment. It is likely, however, that just like with tech startups you will be bought out by the Big 4, though. To avoid a buy out and ensure you can work for the artist's best, make sure to be profitable.


It works because artists accept it. If artists refused to sign to big labels they'd eventually ran out of content and forced media to look elsewhere to fill space between adverts. Artists have means to self publish, promote and it is easier than ever before, but still big labels have best content and change will take years if not decades.


> It works because artists accept it. If artists refused to sign to big labels...

No, no no. "If only ${members of group X} all decided to do ${something that goes against individual self-interest of members of said group, but benefits the group as a whole}" is never a solution, because this generally does not happen for groups other than family&friends. Coordination is extremely hard to create, and very easy to destroy - it takes just one person who defects, thinking that "I'll stop doing that agreed-on thing; I'll gain a lot individually, but the group is big, so it won't lose much" - because suddenly you'll have everyone following suit and situation will be back to square one.

That's why you always need some changes that make interests of the group align directly with the interests of the individual.

(Might be a good time to start again my habit of linking to http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/.)


Yes, you are completely right! It was just wishful thinking on my side.


See also: Nash Equilibrium


Wasnt Google offering Google Music for Artists? https://play.google.com/artists/


I hate how we use the political system to fight progress. I feel like a majority of startups end up facing this. Uber, vidangel, mixcrate. To paraphrase Russ Roberts, progress isn't made by the union getting you an extra two dollars an hour, it's made by inventing a bulldozer and letting one man do the job of 50.


Weekends and 40 hour work week and no children working and health insurance aren't progress? But seriously this isn't about unions, this is about how money influences processes. Those with money get to make the rules because they can afford to go to court when others can't. You want progress, I'll take either a liberal or a libertarian solution to that BS.


The comment you responded to isn't about unions either. To re-paraphrase it: "Progress isn't made by small increases in quantity, but large changes brought by doing something completely differently." Or "Progress doesn't usually happen iteratively, but in great bounds when fundamental assumptions are challenged".

The things that you listed are examples of that kind of progress.


Well sure, progress may not be made by union fighting for your paycheck[0]. But progress is a force that doesn't care about people; if inventing that bulldozer means for every one man working 50 go starving, so be it. That's why you have to moderate progress from time to time.

Also, not everything that looks like a tech business is progress. Uber, for instance, is nothing but a taxi cab that uses investor money to break the law and get away with it, and they're also pretty douchy about doing that. A sociopathic bully that pretends to be a white knight, basically.

[0] - though lsiebert's caveat about working conditions applies.


Would be interested to know if specialised companies exist that invest in these particular scenarios. Good product, decent number of users but without the financial means to face a lawsuit (that has some chance of winning). Essentially a lawyer service who take a chunk of equity if they win.


They weren't even threatened. A lawyer didn't write the email. They just got spooked and decided to quit. You can't fix this problem with anything other than "changing the climate of the music industry" as they wrote in their letter. You're going to need a lot more than a new legal service to fix this.

If you want to make money and have an impact, do goddamn anything but try to do it through or with, or anything around music. You can make money, or have an impact, but fuck you if you try to do both. The music industry and the world Hacker News was birthed in are at complete 180 degree odds with each other.


It seems like a reaction based on some very conservative legal advice and a nasty cease and desist letter. I hope they have a strategy to negotiate and if no quick progress then name and shame by publishing the letter.


Looks like they weren't making money, it was a passion project, and the burden of seeking legal help just to protect a site that may not have had a future was just too much. We've all been there. See you around Mixcrate folks! Somewhere else, some other time...


Wait a second... Why don't we have completely anonymous companies whose technology/app cannot be shutdown (at least not by armies of lawyers) -- Is there such a thing?


The most common thing that stands in the way of that is when you start accepting money.

The payment processors tend to cut ties if you do things that are deemed illegal.


Sort of. I'd say it's a work in progress. http://ethereum.org


You are just a few twists and turns before arriving at the land of cryptocurrencies. All the usual issues with "hard to execute" and other unintended side effects apply.


Since Mixcrate is an LLC, why didn't they just wait it out? If the other company really sued and bankrupted the LLC - so be it. Shut it down. Why shut it down because of a "letter"?


Is there any risk that the LLC owners would be held responsible for the company's actions?

I have zero knowledge about this stuff, quick googling returned a result[1] which says the owner might be held personally liable if "intentionally does something fraudulent, illegal, or reckless that causes harm to the company or to someone else"

[1] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/llc-basics-30163.htm...


They probably set that LLC up themselves. It would have cost them at least a couple Grand to have a lawyer go over everything and make sure that the LLC is air tight, and they probably didn't figure the expense was worth it considering mixcrate didn't make him any money.


Does it sound at all enjoyable to wade through a legal battle?


This was a bomb site! Sux to see it taken down! For @2ndIInoneproductions, is there another site that I can listen to your tribute to 'King Sun' mix. That was a bomb mix! Thanks!


The only place I get my music now I don't know no other site to download I am devastated really I am


I hope this isn't a harbinger.




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