Propellerhead introduces music sharing service (and Creative Commons is missing!)

Together with a free update to Reason, version 8.1, Propellerhead software has introduced yesterday (December 18, 2014) a new feature: Drop to Propellerhead. It is a music sharing service which makes it possible to share/exchanges music pieces you’ve created in Take, Figure or Reason with other users. Tricky part though: copyright!

Together with a free update to Reason, version 8.1, Propellerhead software has introduced yesterday (December 18, 2014) a new feature: Drop to Propellerhead. It is a music sharing service which makes it possible to share/exchanges music pieces you’ve created in Take, Figure or Reason with other users. This service connects, in a simple way (it will only share stereo audio files at the moment), the iOS apps with Reason and exchange between them in both ways.

Every piece dropped to the Propellerhead server gets its own url. You can make the track listed (open) or unlisted (private). Propellerhead has created a Discover site for the listed tracks. These listed tracks can be shared on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and embedded elsewhere. Check for example this demo Propellerhead uses in the promo-video for the service (bad sounding and seriously clipping by the way! why!?) which I have embedded:

Huh? No Creative Commons licenses?!?!

Copyright is always a tricky thing when it comes to sharing things online. Facebook has become incredible evil in my opinion by not only taking away all the rights from all content uploaded by the user, it also uses that content for advertisements, using your face and content to make money. All ethics has just left the building…

So, what would Propellerhead do? In their Terms of Agreement you will find a couple of things which are tricky, like for example:

3.2 You understand that the Content uploaded by you may be used freely by other users, as well as included in the music, songs and Content of other users – even for commercial releases. You also understand that your uploaded music may be modified by other users of the Sharing Services without your prior approval.

3.3 The license to Propellerhead includes a right to use the Content to perform the Sharing Services and in marketing of the Sharing Services or Propellerhead. Propellerhead has the right to assign and sublicense the license.

When you allow your music to be listed you give away all your rights. Meaning it will be Public Domain material. Although for many amateurs this might be ok, I guess you are just fooling around with Take and see what happens, for many professionals this will not be sufficient. CEO Ernst wrote yesterday in his blogpost ‘Propellerhead: Make Music Together’:

It’s not a tool for professionals who are looking to fully integrate their DAW production work.

Indeed for professionals this service is very limited. You can only share a mixed down track. So you’re never sharing the Reason files but just a stereo audio track. BUT this might change in the future. Because Ernst also mentions in his blogpost:

What we launch today is a beta, meaning it’s far from finished. We have a lot of things planned. What you can see today is a glimpse of the future, an open internet music creation network letting anyone take part in music making, right as it happens.

So new features are to be expected.

The main feature for me missing is being able to choose a license for the track. A Creative Commons license. Because, let’s face it, why on earth would anyone give away ALL their rights to any user, or a company like Propellerhead, hell even ANY company for ANY kind of usage without retaining ANY of the rights? Let’s face it: this is not good.

What would be good though is when Propellerhead would offer a simple way to put the track you’re uploading under a Creative Commons license. YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, SoundCloud, Wikipedia and so on are services which are using Creative Commons licenses. CC is often used in remix projects, including those by well established artists, because not only does Creative Commons offer attribution (BY) by default it can also push the remixer to use the same sharing license (Share Alike – SA) and turn it into non- or commercial use (NC). In short: by using Creative Commons you can retain the rights you will need as a creative artist while opening up possibilities for serious equivalent collaboration.

For now it’s one thumb down from me. But when Propellerhead adds Creative Commons to their system they get two thumbs up. Let’s see what happens…


This is a big point. Other one is that you can not load something from your IDevice direct into your Computer without using somer Server. And in Soundcloud you can also check “All Rights Reserved”.

Well, you already know my thoughts on this. ;D I disagree that a creative commons license is necessary, or even anything to worry about. If uploads are not switched on to “public” in your account (or you check “unlisted” when you use the Drop feature), then you alone – and anyone you send the link to – are the only ones who would ever have access to the content. The EULA also states that you retain the rights of ownership to the content uploaded. Your worries about licensing are unfounded, IMHO. Props only have access to the song file if you make it public or send it to them, so them having rights to use it would be of little concern IMHO.

Regardless, my advice would be: only use the Drop feature when working with people you trust. But… isn’t that how one would work anyway?

Sure “public” works fine, although even then a license would be best. BUT my point is that when you want to share, when you want people to use and remix your work you will need a license. You don’t want to give away all your rights including attribution.

And it would be so simple for the Props to add this to their system. The software they are using uses the same sort of license, which is GNU. They use it on their website. They also use open SSH which is also open source licensed. Creative Commons is like that. And super simple to use. It’s the license for the web.

Props probably use GNU and open SSH because it’s affordable (free). As a business trying to control expenses, that makes complete sense and is unrelated to your concerns. Be that as it may, I likely don’t share your perspective because I likely will never use the sharing features of Drop to Prop. I’ll use it to preview my own mixes personally, or share between trusted people who I am used to working with.

Thanks Enoch. Because of my first experience with Take now I was probably a bit too critical. But It works actually all quite wonderful and you can stuff you want not to share hold back easy. Also I can share a some stuff that isn’t that important and see what happens.

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