Twenty years ago it was difficult to obtain authentic Argentine tango music. That has changed and now the availability of good tango music has helped the spread of tango worldwide. However, putting together and/or obtaining a good playlist is still challenging and it is the topic of this blog. Specifically:
- How does one share their tango playlist files?
- Is there already a place somewhere to get tango playlists?
- Should I set up a kind of clearing house for playlist sharing on my web and how would I do that?
- Are you interested in sharing or obtaining tango playlists?
- What are the legal and ethical issues involved in sharing playlists files?
In your response discussion below, please be specific as to whether you are talking about just sharing playlist song titles, or whether you are talking about sharing the actual music files. Thanks….[fbcomments]
> 1 How does one share their tango playlist files?
One may put a download link on each playlist on a blog, as I do e.g. http://www.chrisjj.com/tango/cjjsets/2016-07-02_Milonga_Pasional.html
> Is there already a place somewhere to get tango playlists?
As others have said, there a handful of websites provide lists from individual authors, but there’s nowhere central TMK. Unless you count Spotify where lists often silently degrade upon transfer between territories and TMK cannot be downloaded for play on your own music library.
> Should I set up a kind of clearing house for playlist sharing on my web
Sounds good to me.
> and how would I do that?
To make lists readable on your site, I suggest you accept manual submissions in HTML form, plus get some programming to accept submissions automatically by syndication. Then your site republishes them (with permission), ideally each with a discussion area. Syndication is relatively easy for list originator to set up, and well-suited to set list blogging e.g. http://www.chrisjj.com/tango/cjjsets , using RSS.
To make lists downloadable for readers to play suffers technical hurdles preventing many authors from providing lists in downloadble form. Since about ten years back when I created the TINT standard to facilitate this https://tango.info/wiki/User:Chrisjjj/TINT_playlist and it has been working well amongst DJ friends of mine, and more recently my set blog readers, but I think relatively few DJs use it. Other solutions such as the XSPF shareable playlist format are not widely applicable.
To make lists playable on your site, set up an internet radio station for each list, with the low music licensing fees covered by a few adverts.
> Are you interested in sharing or obtaining tango playlists?
> What are the legal and ethical issues involved in sharing playlists files?
Legal – none, provided (because contrary to some advice above a substantial playlist is (C) the creator) creator permission is obtained.
Ethical – none, despite the objections of people (mostly DJs) who think list sharing/replaying Should Not Happen (see some of the comments above).
Ideally we want a sequence of pointers to times and recordings that is legal, convenient and portable. A few years ago, I tried to figure out a way to do that and gave up. There’s a market for such a technology that’s unmet because of copyright law. It’s a pity.
I’m new to tango deejaying, so please keep that in mind.
The only time I’ve shared a playlist is to have a more expert DJ friend look it over because it was at an alternative milonga she hosts. As Mr. Campbell mentioned above a DJ that reuses someone else’s playlist won’t learn how to DJ. But I don’t think there is wrong in at least two people sharing their playlist for the purposes of discussion. I don’t think being territorial about one’s playlist is necessarily a good thing, as sharing ideas, some songs, artists are positive element. But copying someone else should always be avoided and which DJ should have their own unique playlist of course.
Programming one’s playlist, by orqesta, time period, sometimes same singer, and type of tango – whether smooth, rhythmic tango, or vals and milonga, or alternative vs. trad.- should be the main concern. Of course, starting out involves enjoying the music by listening on one’s own, keeping an ear out when attending milongas and practicas and using the Shazam app to find out the song you just enjoyed listening to ( it’s hard to dance and Shazam-LOL!). Talking to DJs, taking teaching seminars, looking at tandas online are natural go-to steps to take. Modeling oneself on those who know is only the intelligent thing to do.
Of course one should purchase the songs that one uses for one’s playlists (but I’m not gonna pretend that I have never occasionally used music that I’ve received from a friend – I cry the artist’s pardon – but always make sure much or it is purchased.)
There is a wonderful website called Tangology 101. Here is a link: http://www.tangology101.com/main.cfm/title/Clint's-Tanda-Collections/id/202
This is a very complete website with suggested tandas of every kind, both traditional and alternative, and cortina suggestions a well as info on how to DJ,
Creating tandas is VERY time consuming. and it is very generous of a DJ named Clint Rauscher to assemble this website for pubic use.
By using the site the hardest work is done for you- putting together similar songs into tandas. But each person creates their own playlist by suppling their own music and the way they organize the songs.
Djing is an art and dancing would be less enjoyable if everyone used the same playlist.
Creating a good tango playlist is also very time consuming. Using this website I have thus far created 11 hours of tandas (including my own cortinas) and am about half through his suggestions.
I too have found tangoloagy 101 extremely useful for help compiling tandas. These are list of titles not the files. I am not too proud to use another DJ’s selection. I often change the order or do not use all the songs, but I highly appreciate the time that Clint R has taken to categorize the music historically and by emotive style, and by genre (such as traditional vs alternative).
As to playing the music and sharing one’s music files, I live in Canada and pay SoCan dues. There must be an equivalent organization in the USA. I encourage my tango students to purchase tango music, but most of that money does not go to the traditional artists (they are long dead) but to iTunes, no? Tango CDs and USBS are passing around as always, and and plenty of music is shared. Basically one wants future tango dancers to love the music and getting them started with some seems like a good idea!
However, as others have said, best not go on-line with a file sharing site without legal advice.
Great stuff in the comments so far! I was going to say that I post most all my playlists on Spotify after the fact – https://play.spotify.com/user/wheretango – but Brick got there first on my behalf. 🙂 Spotify doesn’t have everything in our “tango’s greatest hits” repertoire, never mind more obscure tango music, but it’s definitely helpful in terms of starting a discussion with other DJs or music enthusiasts, not to mention folks new to tango who want a free, easy-to-use way to learn more about what they’re dancing to. (And if you as a DJ are interested in keeping a little mystique about what you do, Spotify not having all the music kind of neatly does that on your behalf, ha!)
That said, a night’s playlist is just a snapshot of a moment in time. Had a dozen of the people dancing in the room that night been replaced by a different dozen people, the mood of the room would have been different, and you as a DJ would have reacted accordingly. I can play verbatim a playlist I used two weeks prior, for a group of largely the same people, and what might have been a success the first time around could quite possibly be a disaster the second. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem like giving away any great trade secret to let people know what you played. Everyone, including the DJ, learns as a result!
Giving your music files outright to someone else is, under nearly every circumstance, a copyright violation. To some murky degree, even posting an entire tanda on YouTube could be one as well. It’s up to the individual how much he/she chooses to respect this — for example, how one feels about swapping tracks performed by living composers/performers who stand a good chance of actually receiving royalties from legal music versus the likelihood of some distant relative of Di Sarli actually receiving a trickle of payments from a cut-price “best of La Cumparsita” CD or something similar. (Just the major U.S. record labels alone maintain a “black box” of royalties that can’t be traced to a legitimate owner/heir running into the billions of dollars.) Of course there are many gradations in between those two extremes, and where one falls on the line spanning “let’s be completely legal” to “the dance is more important than bureaucracy” is up to each of us.
As an aside: What Marc mentions about needing licenses for public broadcast or performance (i.e. in a milonga) is absolutely true, and while I’ve never seen that enforced in a tango setting, I did have an “undercover” BMI rep make a surprise visit to a planetarium where I once worked and give us a formal warning against playing music in our lobby without a license. (I chose not to tell him that we were about to do a laser show to the entirety of “Dark Side of the Moon”, without any proper licensing for that, either …)
There is a fairly broad educational-use fair use exemption from copyright limitations in the US, which may be one reason why we often talk about teachers’ demos rather than mid-milonga performances or shows (thus shifting the purpose from entertainment to learning).
You would be very surprised how many of the tangos are on SPOTIFY already. And if you didn’t find your piece, check back later, it is an enormous library and gets larger and larger.
Then sharing playlist is easier than ever. So worth paying for the premium account.
You can share any playlist, it is just a list of songs
Sharing music tracks
As previously said, this is illegal. The exception is if the song is in the public domain.
Right to Play
If you are playing songs at a commercial event, you need to pay for the right to do so. You can work with ASCAP and other organizations for blanket licenses. There may be something in the Tango community specific to what you play. I suspect there is a bit of violation of this, but no one is making a big deal of it. At my ballroom dance venue, they require we provide proof of licensure.
(my) Definition: Playlist: An ordered list of songs, including: Title, Artists(band, singer), Song recording date, Album, Recording company(publisher). It does not contain the music data itself.
When I hear “Playlist” I most often think of songs grouped into tandas for a milonga, but I suppose Playlists for classes or practicas would apply equally well.
1. You could simply print out your list(s), Xerox(tm) your chicken scratches, etc. You can also Export a playlist from iTunes. As I recall they come out as an XML file, which can be imported by other iTunes users. If you subscribe to Spotify you can create Playlists and share them w/others via the web.
2. There are playlists / tandas on the web. Search for: tango tanda lists
5. Lists of other known items (example: names in a phone book, top 10 grossing movies) are not copyrightable (USA) so distribute away. If the item you are considering copying includes other, creative elements (a discussion of composers, for example) it can be copyrighted.
IANAL – I Am Not A Lawyer.
My impression is that the greatest need is as new students start. Who are all these guys? What’s representative? Can I just buy 3 “Greatest Hits” albums and be done with it? (at least for the first year) So a list of “must have” songs/albums would be a great community service.
If you subscribe to Spotify you can create playlists and share them on your website. The book Tango Stories: Musical Secrets does this. See http://www.tangomusicsecrets.co.uk/playlists/ I’d be happy to show you how if you would like to do that.
Hi Clay. I think this might be your guy: https://www.facebook.com/TangoRoute/. He’s got a channel on YouTube (Yuksel Sise) that he uses to share his playlists (actual music). It might be worth addressing these questions to him. Hope this helps.
A playlist is just a list of the recordings played, in the order they were played.
There are some services like Spotify that allow the viewer to actually play from the list, since spotify has the songs, though for Tango recordings their catalog is not comprehensive.
For example here is Jessica Schilling’s Spotify playlist for her Alternative milonga last year at Valentango
I would not share my music files in a public forum, as that would be opening me up to a copyright violation
I’m not in the legal profession, but I have dealt with copyright issues from time to time throughout my career in education and business where I had to protect my own and my company’s work, as well as be respectful to the original work of others and acquire permission or pay royalties (do unto others as you wish they would do unto you). My understanding of copyright law is that sharing electronic music files is theft and covered by many copyright laws. People think because things are electronic or on the internet, that they are free or they are owned by you to do as you wish. This is incorrect. It is the same as if I bought a book, photocopied it and then sold it or gave it to someone else. You can resell your book, juts like you can resell your CD or even your electronic file, but you better not copy and sell, meaning there are now 2 copies in your possession. This is basic copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, and it does not matter if you get money for it or not. That electronically downloaded song or physical CD were sold with the intent that the music is for the sole personal, non-commercial use of the buyer only. Legally, if you play that song in a commercial setting then authorization must be garnered from the copyright owner and an agreement made on fees due that owner. So, playing the song at a milonga, festival, etc. requires payment. If you are a professional musician, writer, or developer of original work you already understand this basic business law. Sharing your playlist (i.e. names of songs in some order) is something you can do freely at your own preference. Overall, though, another ethical/sociological problem is too many people are takers and not givers, and do not understand or give value to other people’s work. This issue is an umbrella over the legal issue just discussed.
Is it a real confusion, or a feigned one? There are lots of setblogs out there on the internet, where people share the titles they play. Old venerable tejastango. Bernhard Gehberger’s list. ChrisJJ setblog. I have one too, at http://humilitan.blogspot.com
Others share not just mere titles but playlable lists on the online music sites, or tanda-size youtubes.
There is nothing unethical about telling other tango music lovers which tracked you love to play in what order. Most importantly, it helps educate the upstart DJs, and motivate the seasoned ones.
> Is it a real confusion, or a feigned one?
> it helps educate the upstart DJs
Indeed. There’s the problem for some people, sadly.