With its 20 million active users, SoundCloud is a benchmark for online music. However, competition is tough and with the increase in offerings with the arrival of Youtube Music, the music streaming sector is a real battlefield. After one year and raising 170 million euros, the company saved itself from bankruptcy. Because of this, the streaming service with the well-known cloud icons began to focus its service on the millions of registered independent artists.
SoundCloud’s new service, SoundCloud Premier, allows artists to be paid by the number of listens and to distribute their music on major streaming services such as Apple, Spotify or Deezer. All this directly from the platform, without intermediaries.
An extension of the SoundCloud monetization program
To understand this strategic evolution of SoundCloud, let’s go over the events in chronological order.
Initially, SoundCloud Premier was simply a monetization program, allowing creators to be paid by the number of listens. At first, this was only available to users through invitation. However, in October 2018, the program became available to all SoundCloud Pro and Pro Unlimited accounts, provided they met certain eligibility criteria.
As a reminder, SoundCloud Pro and Pro Unlimited subscriptions offer artists and creators all the tools they need to develop their careers. Priced at €7 and €11 per month, these modules offer improved catalog management via cloud storage and powerful analysis tools including advanced statistics.
In February 2019, the platform decided to add a distribution service on major streaming services to the SoundCloud Premier monetization program. A real gamble.
A response to an increase in competition
What made SoundCloud decide to add this service? It was after Spotify announced the arrival of its own distribution platform that SoundCloud decided to react. Indeed, the Swedish company took over a minority share of the firm Distrokid last October, before launching a beta version that allowed users to upload tracks without distributors via their new feature Spotify For Artists.
According to the management of the streaming platform, “hundreds of thousands” of artists will be able to access this new service and at the same time, distribute their music on the main streaming services (in the same model as Tunecore, CDBaby, Distrokid, iMusician or Wiseband) and benefit from 55% of the advertising revenue generated by the listening of their songs. Note that this is a more important remuneration than Spotify’s competitor with only 50% of the advertising revenues paid out.
Benefits and new features of SoundCloud Premier
In order to stand out, SoundCloud Premier relies on these new features:
- A 2-in-1 offer: SoundCloud Premier is available to Pro and Pro Unlimited users and therefore allows them to accumulate numerous advantages on the platform.
- Fast, efficient and instant payment: SoundCloud Premier ensures payment to artists every month and tracks uploaded via the platform are instantly subject to monetization, without any delay.
- A distribution service in full development: Still in Beta status, SoundCloud Premier’s distribution service offers artists the opportunity to distribute their tracks on the major music streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) directly via the platform.
In order to access the new SoundCloud Premier service, a few criteria must be met:
Where do young independent artists go from here?
Since its launch in 2008, SoundCloud has been a streaming platform known for its unique content and features, but also for its community of artists who shape today’s music world and culture. These include Chance the Rapper, Kali Uchis, Lil Yachty and Metro Boomin, all of whom began their careers on SoundCloud. Unfortunately, it seems that the amount of money paid out from SoundCloud Premier is still quite low, even with a well-stocked listen counter. With this new feature, SoundCloud is nonetheless taking a step forward in recognizing the work of independent artists.
Acid Rap, the mixtape of Chance the Rapper uploaded entirely onto SoundCloud
– Translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –
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