How to choose the right song to remix
When it comes to making a name for yourself in the world of music, you need lots of talent, the right sound and a little bit of luck. A darn good remix doesn’t hurt either.
In fact, remixes are an incredible way to get your sound heard, and they’re often the best way to turn a fledgling amateur career into a full-time, professional pursuit. Look no further than Liva K, the UK producer with a love of Deep House who was signed by Universal on the back of a remix amplified with Hypeddit. Or Angemi who gained ultimate exposure by taking popular tracks and recreating their melodies as if they were originally done by other popular artists.
At Hypeddit, we’re obsessed with helping artists, producers and DJs make a name for themselves, and if you’re a bona fide producer with a sound you can call your own, you have an opportunity to show the world what you’re all about. However, if you want to make it big, you can’t simply serve up a remix of a song you like and call it a day. There’s copyright ownership and respect to the original artists to be aware of as well as marketing knowledge needed to get to the next level.
So, without further ado, here are our top tips for remixing the right song, avoiding pitfalls, and getting noticed in the process:
#1 – Look for acapellas
Looking to rework a track you like? Artists big and small will often release acapellas of their work online through SoundCloud. Calvin Harris is one big name who regularly lets his work go for free, so if you’re a fan of the Flashback hitmaker, look out for downloads on his SoundCloud profile.
You can also find “unofficial” tracks on sites like Acapellas4U.co.uk. The caveat: since not all of these downloads may be official, you’ll need to be wary of sharing your remixes of such unofficial acapellas on SoundCloud. Even if you don’t stand to earn any commercial gain from such a remix, without explicit permission from the original artists (which you may always request by the way) SoundCloud may still remove these tracks from your SoundCloud profile. This brings us to point 2…
#2 – Be aware of copyright strikes
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in line to make money from your remix or not. If you’re using unofficial acapellas of artists who haven’t provided you with an explicit permission to post your remix online, you may put your SondCloud profile at risk if SoundCloud issued repeat strikes against your uploads.
Soundcloud’s policy on the “Fair use” of copyrighted material states the following:
Fair use is a legal doctrine that primarily exists in the copyright law of the United States. Fair use limits the exclusive rights granted by copyright and allows the use of copyrighted material for certain limited purposes only, without requiring permission from the rights holder and depending on the exact use of the original work to be determined on a case by case basis. Purposes recognized under fair use may be such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching and similar activities.
However, uploading a remix for promotional purposes to SoundCloud does not fall within the fair use exemption. So, there you go.
However, if you have (written) proof that you have permission from the artist or copyright holder of the original track to share your remix, then you can contact SoundCloud’s Copyright Team, who should be able reinstate a deleted track on your profile. That’s why if you don’t have permission from the original artist yet – just ask for it! As simple as it sounds, you may be surprised how many artists are excited about other producers and DJs remixing their work and thus helping to promote their name – particular if they are not global superstars yet. If the original artist emails you with a permission that clarifies how you may use your remix of their track on SoundCloud (e.g., upload only, free download, etc.) you should be in a pretty good position. If questions around copyright issues arise with SoundCloud, https://copyright.soundcloud.com/disputes# is the place to go to argue your case.
And if you don’t have permission and feel that you cannot get it? The upshot is clear: focus on official stems and acapellas.
#3 – Don’t limit yourself to a single SoundCloud profile
There are many reasons why you may consider having more than one SoundCloud profile: maybe you have a solo project and other group projects, maybe you produce music across various genres, maybe you have one profile for your individual tracks and another one for dj sets or radio shows, etc.
Against this background, if you’re concerned that your remix might put your main SoundCloud profile at risk (copyright detection software works never 100% error free, even if you have permissions for your remixes and think they are 100% cleared), consider the idea of creating a second SoundCloud profile exclusively for these remixes. You can then repost those remixes to your main profile and use Hypeddit PRO to convert listeners of your remix profile to fans/followers on your main profile.
In all of the cases above with multiple SoundCloud profiles, our PRO package allows you to ask fans to follow and like your songs (in exchange for a free download) across 5 different profiles, meaning you can strive to achieve different sounds on different profiles, and still net fans on your main profile using the Hypeddit fan gate. Don’t limit yourself to one profile if you don’t need to.
#4 – Official stems are your friend
There are plenty of official remix stems available online. While acapellas usually contain the standalone vocal track of a song, stems typically feature individual tracks of an entire song divided into drums, bass, synths, effects, etc. There’s no better way to start remixing a song with all the “official ingredients”.
Often times you’ll find that big-name artists like Krewella have released stems for free on SoundCloud. Other times, you may be able to email an original artist to ask for permission.
Either way, you’ve got access to an official set of stems that let you tinker with every individual component of the song, giving you a great deal of freedom over how you reinterpret them with your own sound.
Beatport is also an official source of stems, though unlike SoundCloud, these downloads aren’t free. You can get access to drums, bass, synths/leads and vocals from a starting price of $2. Check out https://www.beatport.com/stems for more. However you are not officially allowed to use these for remix purposes, Beatports Terms and conditions read:
Stems File Format
The Limitations of Content Usage and Copyright, as provided in Section 17 of this Agreement, the Prohibited Uses of Content, as provided in Section 18, and any other terms and conditions that apply to standard digital downloads of sound recordings, are applicable to any Content downloaded in the Stems file format. For clarity, any digital download of a sound recording, including those in the Stems file format, other than those specifically purchased on the Beatport Sounds platform, are provided only for your personal, noncommercial use, or performance.
#5 – Enter a remix competition
Remix competitions are a great place to not only get your hands on stems, but get noticed too.
Beatport is perhaps the go-to destination for high profile contests, and Grammy-award winning producer Zedd rose to fame after winning two Beatport contests in 2010. As a springboard, these competitions give you invaluable exposure and access to official stems free of charge.
Better yet, if you’re the winning producer, you could nab a cool cash prize, find yourself with an official release on a large label and more. Another excellent rapidly growing source for remix competitions is splice.
The possibilities are plentiful. There is a ton of competition out there, but the potential exposure is pure gold for any music career.
#6 – Amplify what you make with Hypeddit
Once your remix is complete and you got permission to give it away for free on SoundCloud, make sure you hype your track and fan base by using Hypeddit. Our fan gates and promotional tools can work wonders for producers of all genres.
With Hypeddit, you can offer listeners a free download your song in exchange for a social action – it could be a share, a comment, a like on SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Youtube, Mixcloud and more. Listeners are more than willing to share/repost your work if they like your sound, and by creating good music and leveraging Hypeddit’s promotional tools you can effectively boost your online visibility as an artist. In a competitive and saturated music scene, that can often be the difference between making a remix that gets lost in the noise – or rises to the top and fills your fan’s playlists around the world.