Pioneer DJ has recently launched an application, Kuvo, a new form of interactive media for the club and music community. The new web/mobile based service appears to have multiple goals in the effort to modernize and transform dance culture, such as providing up to the minute updates on what tracks are currently being played at clubs worldwide. Since the launch, clubs like Ministry of Sound and our own Sound Nightclub are on the apps “trending” list. Personally, I find many positives and negatives about Kuvo, but before discussing that take a look at Pioneer’s official launch video for the Kuvo Software.
Now, I come at this from two perspectives. One as a DJ myself, and two, as an avid listener and collector of dance music. And it is because of these two perspectives that I draw conclusions on both the positive and negative side of the spectrum. So let’s start with all the positive things that Kuvo encompasses.
Credit to the artists
– This is a step in the right direction for artists who deserve credit for producing tracks that make us groove week in and week out. When DJ’s and clubs utilize Kuvo by uploading their tracks, the data is there and users will be presented a purchase link if they feel so inclined to support the artist. This effort, supported by the Association for Electronic Music, is essential in keeping track records in a part of the industry that generally remained a secret…for the most part. With new data, royalties may now be easier to distribute to those who deserve it, as opposed to the domination of chart topping dance pop that we’ve seen take over in recent years.
Gone are the days of “ID? ID? ID?” comments on online mixes/sets
– Now, I’m not saying Kuvo is perfect and will have every track or white label available on the site, especially for some of the DJ’s still using vinyl. But for the music enthusiasts and club goers who want to look at the playlist from the previous night, it will be there to answer the question of what track made them go absolutely insane, and why they need to go buy a new pair of dancing shoes. This makes Kuvo a game changer for all fans of music.
Proof that many “EDM/Pop” DJ’s do in fact play the same songs all the time
– Maybe with Kuvo, the EDM worshipers will now realize how many songs are actually being repeated set after set after set. Who knows, maybe Kuvo will inspire them to search out other music aside from Levels and Animals. But I’m not a doctor and can’t explain that form of psychosis. I digress…
No more secrets
– Now that Kuvo can upload and identify every track from DJ’s in clubs worldwide, the amount of “secret weapons” will decrease drastically. There’s the argument that if a DJ didn’t produce the track then they have no right to withhold their tracklisting, but ask many DJ’s and most will be reluctant to just give away their playlist so freely. Building and collecting a library is a lifestyle and a passion within the DJ community, and has been for generations. If an entire set is now made public, and any random punter can go get the tracks, what is so special about that “special” track.
For the love of techno, put your phone away!
– Dance floors already have the issue of phones killing the vibe (unless you’re at Berghain). Hopefully people will realize that the playlist will be available the next day, and that they can keep the phone in their pocket and actually let loose. Some will see it positively that we can ID a track as it is playing through that beautiful Funktion One, but me? I’ll keep grooving.
Royalty distribution (hear me out on this one)
– So…we now have data on what tracks are being played and how many times. Great! And now we have a starting point for what artists/labels should receive their royalties…also…great! But think about it for a minute. The major remaining labels like Sony, Universal, and Warner are making tremendous amounts of money, and that’s with their major artists getting their tracks played millions, yes, millions of times. Depending on the contract, an artist might only be entitled to a miniscule percentage of royalties; and keep in mind…this is for the chart busting/radio play artists. Let’s say an awesome techno track gets played 100 times (we’ll use this for example purposes) and that artist has a 10% royalty agreement in their contract……congratulations here’s a check for $10, go enjoy a beer or two. Granted, some tracks will be played much more than that, but others will be played much less. Is it worth paying producers little money to sacrifice a DJ’s entire playlist gig after gig? Some will say “yes, the producer is always entitled to the money”, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I agree, the producer is always entitled to money from what they created. But are we about to unveil all these DJ’s hard work and collections for a few bucks? If that’s the case, use Kuvo to keep track of the songs played and don’t make it available to the public. Use the software on a royalty/data entry basis only for industry professionals and those in charge of the money. Just an idea…
Overall, Kuvo is incredibly innovative and is most definitely a game changer; for better or worse. It seems perfect for the music enthusiasts and club goers, but overtime might present some challenges to the DJ community. This all being said, Kuvo is here and we’ll have to follow it ourselves to see how it is accepted into the culture. Thanks for reading!