Back in the summer of 2015, a leaked contract confirmed that SoundCloud would soon jump on the streaming service subscription bandwagon. The site’s been looking for ways to monetize for a while now, and today The New York Times reports that they’re finally making moves in that direction.
SoundCloud has agreed to a licensing deal with Universal Music Group, which will give the site access to the label’s entire catalog. SoundCloud already struck deals with 20,000 independent labels as well as Merlin, Warner Music Group, and the National Music Publishers Association. This means that major artists like Kanye West, U2, Sam Smith, the Weeknd, etc. will be able to make money from ad revenue whenever their officially licensed music is played on SoundCloud. It also means that we will be hearing more ads on the site, depending on whether or not a label is contractually obliged. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that major artists will be increasingly more present on the free streaming site; you might recall that Miley Cyrus released her entire new album via SoundCloud after the VMAs last year.
The Times report confirmed that SoundCloud will launch their paid subscription service later in 2016. No word yet on how this changes things for Sony Music, who clashed with SoundCloud last spring and pulled music from the site due to a “lack of monetization opportunities.” 2015 was the year of streaming war pigs; who knows how 2016 will fare?