Understanding DJ Copyright: Club Performances and Live Streaming

Author: DJ SORA

These days, even from the comfort of their homes, DJs have been increasingly utilizing live streaming as a means of expression. With easy access to music downloads and a lower barrier to entry for aspiring DJs, concerns about potential copyright infringement from using music have also arisen, keeping many individuals up at night with worry.

Today, I’ve compiled various research findings on this topic of copyright to shed some light on the matter.

Is DJ Play at Clubs Copyright Infringement!?

Is playing famous artists’ music at clubs as a DJ a copyright infringement?

When it comes to DJ performances (play) of music at clubs, if the event is organized by the club itself, they often have prior licensing agreements and pay royalties. In cases where the DJ independently plans the event at the club’s venue, the DJ may be required to pay licensing fees.

Until now, copyright infringement was considered a complaint-driven offense (meaning there would be no punishment unless the victim reports it), so the likelihood of DJs being arrested for copyright infringement due to their play was very low. However, with the implementation of certain agreements in 2018, certain aspects of copyright infringement were made non-complaint-driven offenses. As a result, the situation may not continue as it has been, and the risk of consequences for DJs playing copyrighted music without proper authorization has increased.

If DJ play were to become a non-complaint-driven offense, there is a possibility that law enforcement agencies might intervene at the homes of clubs or DJs who are live-streaming or uploading DJ performances on the internet, citing difficulties in rights management for neighboring rights infringement and other reasons. While the likelihood may not be zero, it does raise concerns about potential consequences.

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Regarding the handling of music that is not managed under licensing agreements even if one intends to obtain permission or situations where the original authors cannot be found, the issue of copyright infringement has been overlooked within club culture for a long time. However, recently, it has become a hot topic as there have been cases where clubs faced provisional disposition for “using music without obtaining a license.” This suggests the need for further discussion moving forward.

What about live streaming?

The same principles apply even for non-profit live streaming, such as Instagram Live. Publishing copyrighted music on the web without the permission of the copyright holders would be considered a copyright infringement, and using such music would require payment of licensing fees.

If you are live streaming DJ play from your home as an individual, without paying any fees to a club or venue, and using music that is not your original creation, you would need to handle the necessary procedures with relevant organizations yourself.

To legally play famous artists’ music and avoid complicated procedures, it is safer to perform at club-organized events where the club has already taken care of the licensing fees

To play music without infringing copyright,

For those who find it challenging to establish connections and engage in club activities, and for those who want to DJ play live from the comfort of their homes without violating copyright, I recommend obtaining music that poses no risk of copyright infringement.

To play music without infringing copyright

For those who find it challenging to establish connections and engage in club activities, and for those who want to DJ play live from the comfort of their homes without violating copyright, I recommend obtaining music that poses no risk of copyright infringement.

Obtaining Copyright-Safe Music

By acquiring music from the websites and YouTube channels listed below, you can DJ with peace of mind, as there is no risk of copyright infringement. This allows you to perform at clubs and even live stream from your home without worrying about violating copyright.

Here is a list of several websites where you can access copyright-safe music, including Beatport, SoundCloud, and more:

  1. Beatport
  2. SoundCloud
  3. Jamendo
  4. Free Music Archive
  5. Epidemic Sound
  6. YouTube Audio Library
  7. CCMixter
  8. Incompetech
  9. TeknoAXE
  10. Bensound

Please note that while these sources offer music with no known copyright issues, it is essential to check each platform’s usage policies and licenses to ensure compliance with copyright regulations.


In general, DJ play for profit or public display on the web requires obtaining copyright-safe music from the websites mentioned above or handling original tracks. Otherwise, someone must pay the usage fees for the music. On the other hand, if you have original tracks, you can play them without any complaints from others.

Creating original tracks is one of the joys of music production, even for DJs. So, for those who are primarily active as DJs, trying their hand at composing original music through digital music production may lead to new discoveries!

So, that’s a wrap on “Is Club DJ Play Copyright Infringement!? Investigating Live Streaming Policies”!

Author: DJ SORA

Thank you for being a part of DJ Sora's blog, where I share my passion for DJ, Music Production, and writing. Your support means the world to me. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and content! Let's keep the beats and words flowing together!

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