Cubase and Spotify

I have issues publishing Cubased material on Spotify. The material is rejected because of:
“Your release has been temporarily blocked in our front end review process. It appears that you are using the mastered instrumentals for these tracks (ie from the original artists’ versions). Any time you sample any part of a recording you did not record yourself, you MUST have a license from the owner of that original recording. You cannot distribute any content through TuneCore that you do not hold 100% distribution rights for.”
I don’t get any details about this problem.
Is it not allowed to distribute music, merely produced with Cubase, augmented by a bit guitar by myself?

This has nothing to to do with Cubase or Steinberg. The only thing not permitted is to take SB content and sell it as your own in a sample set.

Out of interest, did you use any loops from Groove Agent?

They should be free to use on your own productions, what virtual instruments libraries did you use?

Any sampled backing track?


It sounds like their content review team has noted you have used produced materials from other artists. They have a page here:

Spotify and CD Baby are very bad about this. I know of 100s of artists who used “license free” content, and sampled instruments, and have had their material rejected, or taken down.

The language of their contracts reads so that you can’t use any sample ever. That means anything you buy from NI, Steinberg, you name it. Logic drummer, Groove Agent. It doesn’t matter.

When you buy the sample, it’s license free, but when you have to have and keep track of licenses for everything you might have used, it’s a nightmare. It’s a full time job for someone to just keep track of that stuff, and make sure they have the correct paperwork. The invoice and license code are not good enough.

What is more, they won’t tell you what was flagged because they don’t know. It is scanned by AI software and that’s it. They don’t even know why it was flagged. It’s worse than that, they don’t even know if the AI is right or not, and the more stuff they feed it, the worse it gets.

The latest lawsuits have had a significant effect. Consider that.

Well I’m not hundreds of artists but I distributed stuff through CD Baby recently that ended up on Spotfiy. It had loads of samples in it including the drum and keyboard sounds and there was no issue. If the AI is matching stuff in other tracks there would be some reason for it. It appears that you can also contact them and ask them to review it. But yes the publishing side of things is a full time job and most musos don’t want to know about it but you do need need the edge today.

This doesn’t make much sense, I have contacted 8DIO and NI and both told me that it’s fine to use their products for Film/TV, you name it.

In all honesty, I never use entire loops, especially pre-played phrases and full arrangements, as I take pride on what I do, but it gets to the point where one might need a greatly produced straight guitar rhythmical pattern, or a greatly produced undercurrent rhythmical percussive pattern.

It’s ridiculous for Spotify to expect all these VI to never be used, just because.

If this was the case, nobody would buy anything for 8DIO or NI ever again.

I run a Google search and couldn’t find anything on people complaining about music using NI being blocked on Spotify.

In the end of the day, everything is a sample, a simple piano sound is constructed by samples, even expensive synthesizers don’t outright sell the rights to their sounds, you buy the hardware, but the sounds are licensed…

In addition, algorithms detect EXACT audio patterns. Unless you took a “clean” loop from NI and you are unlucky enough that someone else has released the EXACT loop before you , then it will be flagged up, as they may have already published it as their own composition.

I would like to know more about your piece of music that has been blocked, i.e. what samples are you referring to? What VI have you used?


There is a possibility, if you have used a sample that someone else has already uploaded on Spotify, claiming it as “their own” this can cause a conflict of copyright.

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Exactly this.


I did use some loops of Groove Agent.

I used HALion Sonic SE.

No sampled backing tracks!



Thanks for your reply. I did not use anything of other artists, no sampling, merely the VST library of Cubase Elements and Groove Agent. That’s the point! And they are not willing to specify, what is wrong, which tracks are allegedly ‘stolen’, or to what music my stuff resembles. Very annoying.

Yeah, this isn’t right,

I think what has happened is that a loop by Groove Agent has been registered by another artists as theirs, and Spotify is now flagging it up,

Sorry to hear this buddy, I take it you have contacted your MP3 distributor?

I just Googled the issue and literally nothing is coming up about Groove Agent and Halion in terms of copyright strike.

No one had to register the content as theirs, they simply were the first or one of the first ones to use it, and to publish. After that, the AI automatically registers that content as belonging to “someone else”. It scans the waveforms and highlights similarities with other “copywrite material”. I have worked on similar code that looks for similarities in waveforms for other industries than music.

The same sort of thing happens when you “seed” a Pandora channel, though the “sensitivity” there is set “lower” so that you find similar music. When this technology is used to find copywrite infringement, it is an over zealous concept employed by business persons who do not understand music, the music production industry, and especially lack an understanding of computer science. The concept was conceived with the idea that every melody, every rhythm, every chord progression, should be unique. That every sound, should be an acoustic or traditional electronic instrument, recorded anew by an artist.

It is not that they are “not willing” to specify what is wrong. They don’t know why it was flagged for copywrite infringement, only that the AI did so. And the AI can’t specify where the clash was either. The people responsible for reviewing also do not understand, so they will simply run the song through the AI again, and get the same result, and this is what they are instructed to do.

These AI applications not only look for patterns of melody, and rhythm, but are now, do to recent law suits, looking for formant structure, tone and timbre. If you use the same patch from a synth preset as published material, you can be flagged just for that, which is really no different than using a guitar when someone else also used a guitar. The AI can tell that the sample library is the same, so you use the same Piano sound and you get flagged.

Adam Neely goes into some of this.

But he isn’t technical and doesn’t understand all of the ramifications.

It use to be, that you could change a single beat from a drum preset, or change the synth preset enough, or add some unique feature and the AI would pass over it. But the same difference could be achieved by processing a 16 bar sample from published music, so the AIs have gotten more strict. The stricter they get, the more ridiculous it becomes. In Computer Science this is called an Non Polynomial Complete problem. Without going into the detail about what that is. It means that you really need a human being to do that work, computers can not do it properly in a reasonable amount of time. But what they can do is err on the side of rejecting recordings that should not be rejected, and so that is what they do.

You want Hyperpop? Because this is how you get Hyperpop. Not that I don’t have high respect for Faye Fadem, but Hyperpop is fooling the AI in the same way paining your face with bands of color and stripes fool Face Recognition software.

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It’s an interesting discussion and copyright today is a minefield and you must be entrepreneurial and very organised with what you are using if you are serious about being in the music biz. I would recommend checking out Bobby Owsinski’s blog and podcast as he keeps you up to date with a lot of this stuff:

However, we could discuss the legalities and morality of it all day in this forum but it won’t change the outcome for @bokjedegeus. We know AI is playing a role in this but AI doesn’t run the company – humans do so you need to feedback this evidence to Spotify. If you have used Groove Agent and Halion content that we know is freely licensed, you need to provide this evidence to them. That’s the only way they can modify the AI behaviour. If they don’t know about it they won’t.

In the end the platform will never provide even pretty large artists which much income as their payout per stream is very little anyway.

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I can’t decide if this is funny or tragic. Probably both.

I agree,

Pretty ridiculous really. EVERYBODY in the film music industry in particular uses 8DIO - Cubase and Native Instruments among other companies.

Do we all have to fight for our stuff to be on Spotify now? Especially when they pay 0.06 pence per stream??

Thanks for all your replies. To be honest, I’m very new to this and naively uploaded my stuff. I couldn’t foresee I stepped into a wasp nest…

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You weren’t naive buddy. At the end of the day, you buy sound libraries with full licence which means just that, it’s Spotify that is the issue.

Automating everything so that they don’t have to pay people to take care of possible disputes causes problems…It’s them , not you, you’ve done nothing wrong.

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So, I’ve looked into this closely.

Here is the deal. Tune core and Spotify don’t want to be sued over copyright infringement and so they have devised this ridiculous AI system which has branded EVERYTHING pre-recorded as an offending material.

East West Strings=Horns-Pianos
8DIO - Synths

Etc., etc…

the Mastered Recording claim is very vague and it doesn’t legally mean anything.

You should have received an e-mail asking you to confirm that you have license for all your recordings, which you do, however, they threaten with a £300 (minimum) legal fees should they occur if you come into a dispute.

So here is my suggestion, let Spotify and Tunecore go, go with another distributor or release your material via YouTube which has far more relaxed rules.

Personally, as of now , I will be signing disclaimers to all film companies I will be working with.

Spotify is made by a bunch of morons!!!

Thanks, I eventually draw this conclusion as well!

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