Soundcloud Making It Rain With Paid Streaming Service

Soundcloud strikes royalty deals with over 20,000 independent labels in preparation for their paid streaming service.

Soundcloud going paid

The Swedish online distribution platform, Soundcloud, has had a pretty good run – so far. Kicking off back in 2007 as a kind of social network for musicians, the service eventually evolved into a fully-fledged publishing tool. It was when big-name labels began to appear on the platform that Soundcloud commenced negotiations with major music companies. Though, many doubted Soundcloud’s business model and ability to sufficiently monetise their service. Big names like Sony have taken action by removing major artists like Adele from the free streaming service. However, a recent contract leak suggests that, in a bid to keep major publishers interested, Soundcloud are changing course and giving in to the paid subscription model.

With the release of Apple Music nearing, and many users considering their options, we thought it was time to compare Australia's music streaming services side-by-side. We've taken a look at the big names like Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, while also weighing up some smaller providers like MOG and Rdio.

Of course, there is always the concern that going paid will cause many music streamers to defect to another service – especially when Soundcloud’s biggest draw has always been that it’s free. But, there isn’t a streaming service left that doesn’t charge its customers for a premium,  ad-free streaming experience. There’s no specific details on pricing tiers just yet, but so long as the paid service enters the market at a competitive price (and hopefully sweetens the premium pot), Soundcloud users (who outnumber the combined users of Spotify and Pandora) should have little reason to switch providers.

Here is what we know about Soundcloud’s pricing options so far:

  • Free: Limited library advertisements
  • Additional Services (middle tier): Limited library without advertisements
  • Premium Subscription (high tier): Unbridled access to the Soundcloud library without advertisements at a premium price

Our thoughts…

You have to hand it to Soundcloud, despite having a larger user base than most streaming services, they’ve managed to stay true to their core value – promoting independent artists. And with the recent deal to pay over 20,000 independent labels fairly for their work, Soundcloud is entering the paid streaming market with its soul in tact.

Our guess is that Soundcloud will market their lower tiers towards those looking for something fresh, utilising their epic collection of indie artists, while their premium service will appease major labels by promoting mainstream artists.

Brodie Fogg

Brodie is the Assistant Publisher at for everything tech and telco. When he's not drooling over the latest comic book releases or grinding away at the newest time-devouring RPG, he's helping people choose between Australia's streaming services, suggesting better broadband plans or comparing the latest mobile plans.

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