Using Tidal as a mobile DJ

I am getting back into DJing in later life and am intrigued by the likes of Tidal. You have to remember that I’m very old school and in my previous mobile DJ life I humped around heavy boxes of records to every gig.

Anyhoo, my question is simply this: Is it legal to use Tidal with DJay when DJing out on the road? I’m pretty sure the answer is nope but wanted to check with you and again I apologise for my naivety.

Thanks

Rob

Legalities aside (as they vary between jurisdictions - send me a direct message if you want my personal stance), it basically gets down to stability and speed of connection to be able to stream and/or the size of the storage on your device for downloaded material.
I wouldn’t rely on the Guest WiFi at a pub/resto/hall/venue because of the number of other devices using it, for instance. Best practice would be to carry a router of your own to make your own wifi bubble, either from the venue’s network or however you get a mobile data connection. This had been discussed here before - the technical aspects - but you’ll have to check into copyright and performance rights licensing laws in your neck of the woods on your own.

Thanks for your reply. Good points about stability.

Just to confirm I’m in the UK - from the legal point of view.

My main question though is if Tidal allow the use of their streams for mobile ‘paid DJ’ use.

what do the Tidal Terms of Service say? Algoriddim’s? your App Store’s?
what does the UK performance rights organization say?
what does the UK DJ association say?

would a blanket license from ASCAP or BMI or whomever provide you enough legal cover if you can afford it/justify the expense?

You pay Tidal, You pay Algoriddim, it all happens in the App Store…algoriddim probably pays Tidal, and the App Store takes their cut…This all should be so much more simple than it actually is, right?

you can either try to get completely legal or do your best to stay off the radar…how much of a big deal are you planning to be, and is it worth making an example of you if you pop up on anyone’s radar screen? ← that will get me chastised, but it’s reality from where I sit…and for more people than care to speak/stand up.

In some places. Im pretty sure it’s not legal to use any music even your own music unless either the Dj or the venue has a public broadcast licence…

Legalities aside, I was in the same boat as you coming from vinyl and went to digital because of the record weight and availability of titles…

I basically have 99.5% of my own music and only use Tidal for requests, (Spotify was much better though but no longer supports Algoriddim)

I haven’t had an issue with using Tidal but I would never use it s my sole source of music, as others have said, too risky having to depend on strong internet speed

Hi everyone. Very interesting topic. I have to agree with everybody here. I personally never use tidal as a solution for playing all my music… It only comes in handy when one is looking for special requests even then, there Are just too many variables when it comes to Wi-Fi stability.

In saying that, it is better to have your own music via record pools etc and just keep tidal as the request line… If I remember correctly The guy from Digital DJ tips he’s from the UK and he was talking about using TIDAL out at gigs. If I find that video I will post it to you here.

Very interesting topic though

I can’t speak to the legalities, but I can speak to the stability of Tidal and now Beatport LINK. I played a 4hr/night, 3 day a week residency that required a genre that I never played. I used Tidal exclusively with a handful of owned tracks for emergencies. I used the venue WiFi with my phone hotspot as a backup. 90% of the time this was absolutely fine. If there was an issue with the WiFi I would switch over to my phone and if that didn’t work, I had my emergency backup tracks. I had a few touchy moments, but for the most part, I felt like I could rely on Tidal as long as I had some backup tracks.

Having said all that, I’ve now migrated over the Beatport LINK Professional for it’s offline locker. Sometimes I play gigs in remote locations with spotty cell service and I like the additional peace of mind with the offline locker.

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I specified a Mac, djay and Tidal for a venue I mix bands at on weekends pre-covid.

The owner was sceptical, so he went with an old android tablet and spotify over the in-house wifi.

That proved the use case to him once the DJ that plays between band sets got used to the new software/system (the old one was running on a beige box with windows 95). The owner bought a new iMac for himself, donated the older one (a 10yr old iMac that runs MacOS 10.15) to the DJ booth and I set to configuring it with a connection to the in-house network over ethernet. The only hiccup was when the router’s DHCP table got rammed with all the devices connecting to in-house wifi (between staff and patrons, I’d not be surprised if there were 600+ devices pinging away for wifi when the place is at capacity), so a quick activation of IPv6 (thank you ISP for a /48 !!!) on the network and everything went smoothly again. It’s been rock solid for background music playback (automix FTW) plus 4 DJ sets per night, 3 nights per week for the past 6ish months since reopening.

Now I’m looking at Soundswitch to make a light show, and upgrading to a digital audio console to use as the iMac’s audio interface (the DJ can keep doing his thing with a mouse).

If Tidal goes away, we’ll be stuck unless Apple Music and/or YouTube Music come on board with djay/algoriddim…or if Spotify sees the error of their ways and changes their mind back. I mean, if it’s money for the artists/rights holders the streaming services want, I’m sure a $50-60-100/mo subscription for pro access through djay wouldn’t be an issue for people who rely on it to make a living. but that’s just my opinion.

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