Native Instruments Buys MetaPop, a Place to Legally Clear & Monetize Your Remixes

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Many of you have entered remix contests. Some of you have even entered remix contests and won. Nice job on that one, by the way. However, while some remix contest entries are learning experiences that you’d rather never hear again, many of them are pieces that you’re proud of and took a lot of time to perfect, only to have them languish in obscurity because you’re not allowed to release them to the world.

Sure, you post them to the remix competition page, where even though you know your entry was the dopest indie-space-hop-tronic remix issued that day, it never cuts through the avalanche of tropical house or big-room trance remixes that push your entry an impossible amount of page-scrolling space away from potential listeners. Maybe you even said, “screw it, I’m posting this thing to Soundcloud anyway,” against the express rules of the contest (I did that), and later had your remix taken down by Soundcloud’s Robocops with a stern warning against your account (also yes).

Such dilemmas helped spark the founding of MetaPop about a year ago. MetaPop takes fun industry terms such as remix rights management, licensing, tracking, distribution and royalty services for remixers and rights holders, and makes magic happen: producers are (sometimes) allowed to release their bootleg remixes to the public all legal-like, and may even have a few pennies thrown at them for their trouble.

To simplify the process somewhat, producers/remixers or record labels sign up at MetaPop (for free) and can upload their remixes in uncompressed audio formats. If MetaPop has the clearance to release remixes from the artist/record label of the original, they will be legally cleared to release to YouTube and SoundCloud, with eligibility for revenue sharing. If MetaPop doesn’t currently have the rights to the original track you remixed, they may acquire them in their ongoing efforts to build their clearance library, but there are no guarantees.

MetaPop also has a Marketplace and many constantly refreshing remix contests, where you can find lots of original material to remix that’s guaranteed to be releasable through MetaPop. Most songs in the Marketplace are free to remix. There are currently six active official remix competitions on the site featuring artists such as Carl Craig and Lisa Cole, and another six “Remix Me” contests. All contestants can release to YouTube and SoundCloud, while competition winners and runners up get more exclusive releases on Spotify, Apple Music and Beatport.

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So far, MetaPop has “legalized” more than 20,000 bootleg remixes and opened them up for monetization. It has a total catalog of more than 200,000 works.

While MetaPop deserved everyone’s attention already, it’s bound to get another bump this week, because Native Instruments announced today that it has acquired the start-up. I can’t say for sure why exactly Native Instruments would want MetaPop, but NI is trying to spread the popularity of its Stems audio file type for mixing in its Traktor software, and it may have tie-ins in mind with the Stems format and MetaPop’s Marketplace. It could be another avenue for MetaPop content providers to pursue creating and selling Stems files.

It also doesn’t hurt that MetaPop’s co-founder and former CEO, Matthew Adell, who will now be Chief Digital Officer of NI, was the CEO of Beatport during the years that the premier digital dance music store became a veritable license to print money.

MetaPop seems like a can’t-lose proposition for bootleg remixers, but don’t imagine yourself swimming in a pool of gold coins off the earnings of your work. MetaPop’s payment terms are much more favorable to the rights holder of the original track. For whatever money MetaPop’s legalized remixes do take in, 70% goes to the rights owner; 15% goes to the remixer’s PayPal account; and the other 15% goes to MetaPop to keep the office bills paid.

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