Over To You: Where Do You Legally Get Your DJ Tracks?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
beatport copyright Pro Public performance
Last updated 5 April, 2018


Beatport is the biggest store for DJs to buy music, right? So why do its T&Cs state anything you buy there is ‘for personal use only’?

Digital DJ Tips Forum member Shaun Pearcey writes: “I’ve been DJing live for a year and have been purchasing tracks from all over the place. I use the big ones Mastermix and DMC for my music, but have seen that certain people use iTunes and places like Beatport, Amazon and others for their tunes.

“Are we allowed to play out tracks we have purchased from sources such as iTunes and Beatport? I was under the impression they were for personal use only and it was illegal to use them in a commercial setting? Please give me your thoughts to this debate as I know plenty of DJs that use iTunes, Beatport, JunoDownload, Traxsource, Trackitdown and all sorts for their tracks, but I am curious about the legality issue.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

You’re right to notice that many services have something in the smallprint about the fact that you’re purchasing the right to play the track “for personal use only” or something like that. You get the impression that the sites’ lawyers are covering their backs by putting such clauses in the smallprint though, and that generally this stuff is unenforceable.

Or to put it another way, we’ve never heard of anyone buying a track from iTunes and DJing with it only to end up being prosecuted for doing so. I mean, if Beatport (the biggest DJ download site) can have “The Content is only for your personal, noncommercial use.” in its T&Cs, common sense says it isn’t worth the virtual paper it’s written on – right? To me, it has to just be required legal chatter for a global company that can’t be sure of which jurisdictions the music purchased from it will end up being played in.

My view is that if you’ve bought the track from a recognised retailer and the venue you’re playing in has a public performance licence, you’ll be fine. This rule of thumb almost certainly applies in the US, UK and many other countries. Having said that, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know the exact situation elsewhere, which is why I’d like to throw this one open to the readers…

So, where do you buy your music? Have you ever heard of anyone buying a track only to be prosecuted for paying it in public? Please share your thought below – and let us know where it who world you are, too.

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