Can Legitmix Solve Remix Copyright for DJs + Producers?

You discover a deep cut from your parents’ record collection and decide to get your digital scalpel out to remold the track for a DJ set. The new version is a hit, the audience rushes the booth asking for the name of the remixer. Congratulations – but are you ready to face the legal challenges of licensing a track for a remix? This is what Legitmix hopes to solve – by creating a new paradigm for the use of copyrighted material.


Essentially, Legitmix makes the sale of bootlegs, remixes, edits, and mashups legal by requiring the purchase of the original tracks. Many of you will be familiar with DJ Earworm’s mashup work, so we’ll show one of his latest releases as an example:

To buy the Earworm mash-up, listeners + DJs must first download the Legitmix proprietary software. This software scans your music library to determine if they have the original tracks used in the mix before letting them purchase a ‘Legitmix file’. The software then uses this file to recreate the remix and produce a DRM free MP3 that can be used in iTunes/Traktor/Serato/Rekordbox.

How does LegitMix reproduce the Earworm mash-up? The software apparently calculates the “binary difference” between the original material and the mash-up – meaning that they’re looking at the music files as pure data that can be spliced together legally – as long as all of the parts are legally purchased.

We spoke with co-founder and CEO of Legitmix Omid McDonald who told us,

‘A Legitmix file is not music and can’t be used on its own to create music. A consumer, using our software, can download the Legitmix file and use their copy of the sampled source tracks to recreate the mix for their personal use. Our software can search the consumer’s computer for the source tracks. If they don’t have them, we send them to iTunes to buy them, thereby getting the original artists paid. By creating a marketplace for remix, we aim to legitimize the large amount of bootleg material that’s currently benefiting neither remixers nor the artists they sample.’

How the Legitmix model works.

As a producer, create your own profile and when you upload your own work, the site will ask you to specify the tracks you have used, or ‘Sources’ (sound familiar? Beatport’s Mixes has a similar process). You provide links to online stores where the sampled material can be purchased (iTunes seems to be the preferred vendor). The website creates a ‘Legitmix File’ for your release, you set the price of the remix (free is an option).

70% of the proceeds from the sale of your Legitmix files come back to you. In the next steps, you are asked for some copy about your upload, along with tags to make your work searchable, ‘Disco Re-Edit’ for example, and it also allows you to upload artwork and schedule a release date. From then on you can use the dashboard feature to look at your vital statistics such as plays, shares and purchases.


Usually, the moment you start sharing your remixes you’re technically breaking the law. The ‘not for profit’ angle simply won’t work if your remix gets noticed. This lesson painfully was learned by Julio Bashmore last year when he faced legal action for his use of a Jimi Castor Bunch sample on his free giveaway ’Troglodytes’ which was posted on Soundcloud. The rights owners claimed that Bashmore was using unlicensed samples to further his own career. He was forced to take down the track, pay an undisclosed fee, and issue an apology.

Bashmore’s apology note for Troglodyte

I asked Omid how safe DJs and remix artists are when using Legitmix:

The Legitmix legal model has been vetted by several top copyright experts, so we’re confident of our position. More importantly, Legitmix is designed to benefit copyright holders, so we’re also confident of our moral position and business model. We’ll defend our users against any claims against their use of the Legitmix software provided they properly identify the source tracks used in their mix.

Too Legit To Quit? What We Like About Legitmix: 

  • Producers set the price at whatever they desire
  • The search and discovery functions are very easy to use
  • There are no member fees, nor does Legitmix charge for the software (yet)
  • Unburdens producers and DJs from complicated licensing laws
  • Legitmix absorbs copyright claims

Legitimate concerns? What Needs Work: 

  • No quality control, the site could easily become crowded with sub-par content
  • DJ sets or very sample heavy tracks can become expensive
  • Purchasing is complicated for the average shopper
  • Sources limited to digital vendors; i.e. no vinyl-only releases in your mixes

An Industry Opportunity

Diplo’s exclusive “Mad Legit” compilation on Legitmix

The future of Legitmix depends on acceptance by the DJ community as both consumers and content creators. Some high-profile artists have already shown support for the model, with Diplo uploading an exclusive Mad Decent album to the site, and DJ Ayres becoming a regular contributor. I asked Omid if the project in beta was a way to build a product that can be sold to Apple and used by millions of iTunes users:

‘It will be great if one day Apple would integrate our technology so people could buy remixes of the tracks they purchase from iTunes. We’ve got a lot of work to do before that happens but we believe that providing a way to reuse music where everyone benefits is a worthy endeavor.’

If adopted by more DJs, the model could become an established part of how we search for new music and interesting remixes. Legitmix is clearly a remarkable new venture, which has the potential to offer great rewards for artists usually restricted by tough copyright laws.

Check out Legitmix on their site.

Do you think you’d use it for a release, or have you already? Let us know in the comments below. 

diplodj ayresdj earwormlegitmixlicensingmashup copyrightomid mcdonaldremix copyrightremix licensing
Comments (47)
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  • Jean Marc Lavoie

    This would be great for mixes (mix tapes) as well. We could legally distribute 1 hour sets that we as DJ’s mixed and edited.

  • Andrew Bowers

    Legitmix sounds like a good idea on paper for *selling* remixes and mashups. To a point at least.

    However, copyright law hasn’t fully caught up with the ideas of remixes and mashups. Copyright *should* protect creators from other people trying to take false credit for their work. When someone sees “remix” in the name of a track, they know that there is an original version of this track. They know that the remixer didn’t not create all of the content of the remix themselves and that it was sourced from another creator. The context is explicit in the name.

    I think it’s the sales aspect that makes this so complicated. If I don’t have royalty free licence to the samples in a remix I produce, I don’t sell it – period. That being said, if I want to share it I’ll attempt to upload it and distribute at no cost to the listener. I, however, pay to host the remix/mashup, so I’m technically losing money.

    Things get even more complicated because a lot of people throw around the idea of predicted or assumed loss/damages. I really have a problem with this standpoint. If you make the argument that there’s a direct correlation between music piracy and loss of sales, then if by chance there is any *gain* in sales, piracy must be credited as a positive influencing factor. You can’t have it one way.

    You cannot create something in a vacuum and still share it with others. Anyone has the artistic freedom to change, subtract, or add to your idea. However, they should credit their sources and influences whenever possible. This is certainly not an easy process, especially when you get in complex collages and hyper-mashps that may use hundreds, or thousands (or more) of pieces of source material. But that’s the work that should be required when you build upon ideas!

    Again, cost and sales become a different story. If you are making profit at the expense of someone else’s work – you owe them *something*. That’s being moral and respectful at the very least.

    As consumers, we *should* pay to support the things we enjoy, and when we want more of those certain things. We live in the era where votes are cast with our wallets. I believe in trying before you buy. When I first started producing and was just making beats and remixes for myself and my close friends for fun, I wasn’t paying for the tools I had. Once I decided to sell that music, I knew I was serious about what I was making and made sure I had paid for any and all tools and licences required. Getting into sales meant there was serious accountability on my part and I had to step up to the plate. But if I’m putting something out for free and just for fun, I don’t see the harm.

    Getting into sales and business is an “adapt or die” environment. If the systems and resources exist so that others can provide an advancement to your idea, at a lower cost (including free) in the end *you* have to change to survive. If someone remixes one of my original songs and puts it out for free, and people prefer the remix to my original (either they enjoy it more or the cost difference is worth the changes to the original) then the market has spoken and I should take notes! That’s a different scenario from someone taking my song, making NO changes, putting their name on it (with no mention of mine), and then selling it – that’s when copyright should protect me. If someone shares my original music for free, I have to think about how technology and music markets are changing – I’ve licensed to services like Spotify where listeners can access the content for free (with ad support).

    I don’t consider copy as theft the context of free downloads, because there is a duplication of the product. Theft would mean the original is no longer in possession of the creator, and we have laws to protect against that. Falsely claiming you created something as your own is wrong, and copyright laws should be better and more focused on that. Putting up gates and fences to limit how people can access (and potentially duplicate) your creation is one’s own personal responsibility. A customer will do their own cost/benefit analysis to determine if paying to bypass your gates is worth their time, money, and effort – versus what they would have to invest to circumvent them. If you make a product no one wants, or that is too difficult to access, customers with find alternatives. No one owes you for your poor business plans and practices while the rest of the world moves on. The smart businesses and creators will discover and invent new ways to grow fans and customers.

    • Rob Burns

      Finally someone who actually makes sense…

  • Al

    I don’t know what Julio bashmore didn’t do right but you can claim ignorance comply with any take down notice and move on. It seems madness that they could actually come at him with a legal case on not for profit music. If his career as a DJ is improved surely his product is DJing and making legit music to sell, the infringement is not related to what he is selling and it would be impossible to reward damages based on a perceived improvement in his popularity. It would just be thrown from court

  • Alpa Chino

    Whats up with LegitMix gankin’ Stokyo’s logo? Laaaaame.

  • jay

    who remixes 256kbps AACs?

  • santi elena is cool

    you guys are insane, the cancer is doing everything for free, sure i’ll put an year of work and lots of money to make an album and then a bullshit wanna be producer just “rmx” my work and call it his own and i should not complain? i’m down with not earning from music but at least let me choose who can rmx me and the quality of it.

    • lokey

      he should hardly be calling it his own work. attribution is key. his remix does not detract from your own work. dont want people remixing your music? dont release it publically.

  • stefanhapper

    It looks to me that this site tries to tap into a market that simply doesn’t exist: either you are a known artist and you arrange the remix legalities yourself or you a nobody and you operate in (law breaking) bootleg-soundcloud/youtube style.

  • DJ Libeato

    Well this is a simple one, don’t charge for your mixes (that’s obv.) credit all artist and provide links to legal downloads of the tracks and artist links.

    I pretty much only play free indie music now days so this process works really well

    • DJ Libeato

      Also if you can’t show case skill with the amazingly huge pool of free music, playing huge copyright bangers isn’t going to help you

    • Rob Burns


  • DJ Rapture

    I personally hope they make their goal of getting legitmix integrated into iTunes. That would be amazing! Until that point, I think I’ll check this out. I’ve had some remix ideas bouncing around in my head, so it’d be very useful.

  • calgarc

    “proprietary” lol seems legit…

  • DJ Erik Thoresen

    What I like about this is it starts a copyright / remix dialogue in a new fresh way. Crack4Djs & CrooklynClan have worked under a similar guise but with an honor system. BEFORE PURCHASING ANY OF THE RE MIXES ON CROOKLYNCLAN.NET, YOU CERTIFY THAT YOU ARE ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE ORIGINAL WORKS CONTAINED WITHIN THE REMIXED COMPOSITION(S) RESPECTIVELY.ead a blog post by an owner of these sites saying the RIAA was on board with them , but I find that hard to believe.
    A major issue here is acceptance, and I wish them all the luck in the world getting folks to buy into their concept , I feel it’s a solid one.

  • Oevl

    This is bullshit. Copyright is a cancer and musicians, Dj and whoever claiming that they are good or needed just do not deserve to be listened. When you chose music making you chose to be poor, not rich. Also, if you want any money, just move your ass to gigs and make some performances. Recorded works are to be thought like promo material.

    • Chaser720

      Unfortunately that cancer is upheld by government and is still a law that you have to follow. Failure to do so gets your ass sued and as the article states, promo material still has to be registered and licensed if its using someone else’s work.

      And since when does choosing to make music the same thing as choosing to be poor.

      • Oevl

        Did you buy every mp3 you own?

        • Chaser720

          No. But what does that have to do with anything here? I think your missing my point. I’m saying from a new producer’s standpoint without legal representation this is a great option to be able to publish tracks without having to risk being sued.

          • Oevl

            I get your point but mine is that the whole copyright/intellectual property system is a complete hyphocritical mess which benefits to the wrong people. To encourage such an approach (legitmix) is granting more credits to them. An healthier approach toward artistic fulfillment would be to depart from anything that involve legal issues.

          • Chaser720

            And I do understand yours as well and I agree most of the laws ultimately stunt the growth of a lot of great producers. But as long as there is money involved, there will be bigger fish involved with a lot more firepower than any of us could go up against.

            And to address the “healthier approach towards artistic fulfillment…” part, I’m not really following you. What are you suggesting here? I think the publishing of music and the following of legal guidelines are fundamental issues and theres really no way around them.

          • lokey

            and that just says it all: blindly obeying copyright laws set up by publishing cartels (not artists themselves), simply because you dont see any alternative than to play their game. its legal bullying more than anything else, im sorry to see youre so quick to cave in.

          • Chaser720

            Yes I am arguing that we have to obey laws. I believe that most people do. I am saying that software such as this one gives new producers a chance to publish their material with minimal hassle and remain within the bounds of those laws. You can go out and try to change these laws if you want to but solutions such as this (that keep everyone happy) are step in the right direction.

          • lokey

            ahh, well. good luck with that then. i suppose we shall see how things develop. certainly not hoops that i intend to jump through. as has been said before, the realm of music produced with more sensible licencing makes it a simple choice to follow suit. i suspect those who waste their resources trying to defend their works against derivative creation will lose more than they will gain, and im not alone in th s notion.

          • Hillary

            Nonviolent protest does work. Which are the organizations that stand up to RIAA? I’m asking because I have no idea.

          • lokey

            id suggest that its not so much that ‘protest’ works (i dont see much evidence of that, myself) its that trying to control or retain ownership of information which by its very nature youre actively trying to widely distribute. its difficult to do that in any efficient way, as youre working at cross purposes. so people who seek to control information wind up spending more energy and effort than they gain. whereas if you view freedom of information as a feature, rather than a bug, you have less concern.

          • lokey

            point being that you dont need to oppose it, so much as adopt a different model, and succeed through greater efficiency. competition, natch.

        • Rob Burns

          Yes, There are those of us that do

          • Rob Burns

            Except I usually buy AIF or WAV haha

      • lokey

        unjust laws should be opposed, not followed. We need to stand up to lawsuit culture, not bow down to it.

        • Chaser720

          Unfortunately those laws are bigger than all of us combined and no amount of “fight the power” is going to change them. Instead of trying to fight them we are forced to find the most effective way to follow them.

          • lokey

            that response is both spineless, and unrealistic. grow up, and recognize your own authority. governance is by consent, not authority.

          • Chaser720

            Dude. What imagination land are you living on? Please tell me how the requirement to follow laws is unrealistic. We are ALL bound by laws put in place by those who want to protect and profit from their own works. If you want to go violate a bunch of copyright laws you go right ahead and see how that works out for ya.

            And how might one “grow up, and recognize your own authority”? I don’t even know what that means.

          • lokey

            well, first of all, not all of us are bound by us regulations, thank the gods. copyright concerns have hardly been addressed through any democratic process to date, so its hard to see them having any mandate from the masses. the laws youre so enamoured with are reactionary attempts to defend an archaic business practice, one that actively inhibits culture and technological progression on a global scale. wise up, sucker.

          • Chaser720

            Go change the world and get back to me. This is going nowhere. Later

          • lokey

            the world changed long ago buddy. your failed business model is hardly my concern.

    • Dave Slater

      Utter bullshit. If you worked a 40hr week you’d expect to be paid a decent wage for it. Why is that when musicians use copyrights to claim a legitimate return on the time and money (often years and thousands of pounds) they have invested into developing their craft and writing their tunes are told they are selling out and should only be poor? Why is it that it’s then perfectly ok for any asshole to download an illegal copy, DJ at some cheap dive and expect to be paid for it but not give the producers who made the tunes in the first place something in return as a thank you??? Yes it’s an imperfect system. Yes most of the money gets eaten up by the middle men but the reason gigging is more profitable is both because of that AND the DJ’s too cheap to pay any money for the tunes they use. Back when it was vinyl only you HAD to buy the record or you couldn’t play it. What’s changed? Personally I refuse to play a tune that I haven’t ripped directly from an original CD or purchased the download. Why? Because I know most of the people who’s tunes I play and I see how they suffer for their ‘art’. My view is if I don’t pay for the tracks (even tho most would just give them too me for free) I’m stealing from my mates and ultimately the people who make it possible for me to do what I do. If Legitmix means that producers don’t fall fowl of copyright laws and therefore get a return on their time and energy as well as DJ’s being encouraged to purchase tunes in the first place I’m all in favour of it.

    • Hillary

      There are alternative licensing models for music, such as creative commons and open sourced music ( If you stand by your own words, I trust that you never listen to copyrighted music on principle. Or do you view property as a neo-Marxist cancer? Are your laptop, mixer, guitar, house and car also promo material for the world’s poor?


      • lokey

        well, i certainly -release- all my own music through the cc-by-sharealike licence. and these days most new music i purchase directly from the artist through bandcamp based distribution, because its easy to do so and doesnt require registration. as to physical goods, well they simply dont have the same properties as information, so thats kind of beside the point, you cant treat them as the same sort of business model, because theres substantial cost involved in -sharing- matter. its not infinitely divisible and copyable, so you need to think differently due to inherent scarcity.

    • fumat

      LoL! Is like asking Bill Gates to install and test every microchip he invented :))

  • Chaser720

    I like the idea of this software from a legal standpoint. I think it really frees up a lot of upcoming producers that don’t have the legal knowledge or the ability to get samples in their remixes cleared. Its absolutely great that the company absorbs all of the copyright claims as well. It’s hard enough to produce a track that gets any public recognition and knowing that if it does you’ll probably get sued is a shitty reality.

  • amphidelic

    So much music I look for and play out isn’t available on any of the online music sites, so this would hinder me from being able to use the service anyway.

    • Chaser720

      Most of the stuff you play out is probably more popular stuff (unless I’m wrong here) that has been released on a label and any samples have been cleared by their legal department. I think this software is aimed more at new producers who don’t have the label backing them and have no legal representation.

      • lokey

        thats a silly assumption to make, in this day and age. The bulk of music thats released today is at an individual level, not at the ‘label’ level.

        • Chaser720

          I could see that again anyone releasing a decent amount of music probably already has some kind of legal backing to cover themselves. “I think this software is aimed more at new producers who don’t have the label backing them and have no legal representation.”

          • lokey

            well exactly its targeted at the entry level producer. the whole point of this project is to push a ‘permission’ based culture onto young creative folk. its a shame to see.