Tidal terms and conditions vs djing

Hello, Recently I was asked by one of the Denon dj Prime 4 users about the terms and conditions of Tidal and how it reflects in Denon dj prime gear. Terms and conditions of Tidal clearly say that the streaming service is exactly and only for private purposes. However we are using devices that are meant to be used to playback music for Public Address. So how it should be interpreted to be 100% legal and not violating the terms and conditions of Tidal or other streaming services? Should we use Tidal then only in our homes?

Every music medium has that, or similar terms and conditions written on it - whether it’s a 12 inch single, a vinyl LlP, a cassette tape or a CD or a stream service. And yet we’ve never hesitated to play all those formats to packed dance floors

We should feel equally guilt-free playing streams to a people, for two reasons;

  1. the small print on music says “don’t play to the public” or something similar. When someone hires us as a DJ to play at their birthday party, wedding etc that’s a private party and therefore we are not playing the music to public as it is a private party

  2. of we DJ in a bar or nightclub either where there is a door fee for entry or we are there to freely attract passers by in, then that IS public we are playing to, but the venue will have paid annually for a music licence all that media with “not for public broadcast or replay” to indeed be played - the music licence that the venue pay annually for, supersedes the media’s “not for … “ small print.

That’s been my take on it all since my vinyl days and the music police haven’t dragged me off with my Play buttons in handcuffs.

Every country and possibly every state will have it’s own vision of public, private and venue music licensess, so it’s up to each of us, if we’re interested in it, to check the above relaxations to the small print in our own situations.

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Well, the question came from Poland, where it is illegal to playback music that has that kind of term written on it (not for public audition or for private listening only). It makes that dj is committing a crime when using such a medium where it is stated so and that comes along with fines and possible imprisonment too. How can they tackle that oldschool bad law there? Also in Belgium it is illegal to use streaming for djing in general…

It’s only people who don’t want to use streaming themselves and don’t think other people should use it (after all us pensioner DJs had to choose what music to buy and physically take with us to events, so why should todays DJs get it any easier, moan moan moan), who throw all these doubts into the mix

Every music medium has that

Yes but there are subtle differences. On physical formats, the terms usually include the phrase “Unauthorized [whatever] is not permitted”, implying that if you have the correct license, it’s OK to record, broadcast etc.

OTOH online services just say it’s for personal use only - nothing to imply that you can use it if you have a license.

Some online services even have a separate site for “commercial” users - reinforcing the fact that the “consumer” site should not be used in public.

Tidal though have an agreement with Denon DJ (https://tidal.com/partners/denondj), so even though their “consumer” Ts&Cs say what they say, Tidal are aware of what their streams are being used for via the Denon DJ equipment. Tidal also has other partners that are either DJ software or hardware.


Yeah good point. Maybe that’s why it’s taking longer than originally expected, to get the other 5 or 6 mentioned streaming services like soundcloud, Beatport, beat them, beat me regularly etc onto the players… nothing problematic with firmware, just getting the small print agreed ?

Beatsource/port is a DJ service anyway, so the issue shouldn’t arise.

Generally there isn’t a streaming service that is totally legal to play out commercially/publicly.

In section 2 of the Beatport T’s&C’s it states “The content is only for your personal, noncommercial use”… that that is even a mp3 or wav download, let alone a streamed track.


However, they totally know that you to use it at gigs. As long as the music service has told you not to do it somewhere on the site then they are legally covered. It is the same for Traxsource, Tidal and Spotify.

They are putting the onus on you in a “we are supplying you with music but it’s for personal use only, right? Oh and here is a list of charts that are doing well in the clubs at the moment” sort of way.

From memory, in the UK you have to legally own the physical media to play an mp3 copy and then pay a licence to play the mp3. My flatmate did it when it first came out and I never did. They have never checked me but have been known to a few years back. I didn’t even think they bother now.

I know they have visited a few places near me that got into trouble for playing mp3’s without the ripping licence.

Ah the good old ProDub license! What a farce that was.

Many many DJs asking them questions about it, and them giving various answers, depending on who responded.

Initially it was simply to cover DJs who ripped from CD, as they were “format shifting” and creating new copies (dubbing). If you bought your MP3s online, and played them on the same computer (no dubbing) then you were OK.

IIRC they changed it later to apply to any digital files, using the excuse of DJs making backup copies of their libraries.

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In Germany public and private is clearly defined.

Private events are only private if the host handed you an invite and the invite is checked and confirmed at the entrance, allowing only people to pass the door who can issue a valid invitation.

Everything else is a public event in Germany.

But a great marketing tool between pro dub holders and venues. When meetings brides and grooms to be, with the venue wedding manager at the. Ensue months before the wedding, I am able to show venues my PAT test docs, and public liability insurance, which most professional DJs can show, but I also show them my pro dub license and the license checking website.

It drives a wedge between the flood of other DJs that have only got two of the three documents. I’ve won several weddings, venue residencies and preferred provider lists with just a £400 pro dub licence = a quarter of a wedding.

Venues just want to avoid any potential hassles - even though the last after-hours Mcps/prs inspector visit that I’ve heard of locally was over a year ago.

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