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Sony content pulled from SoundCloud as frustrations remain

By | Published on Thursday 7 May 2015


Sony Music has pulled a bunch of recordings by its artists off of SoundCloud, seemingly as talks between the digital firm and the major over the former’s new monetisation platform stalled yet again.

As much previously reported, SoundCloud has been busy building an advertising system within its audio streaming platform in a bid to help audio-makers monetise their content, partly to boost its own revenues (which to date have come from upselling premium services to content owners) and partly to placate rights owners – especially in the music space – who have long been aggrieved that SoundCloud has built a massive audience without ever having any music licenses in place.

SoundCloud is pushing a YouTube type model for monetisation, even though the YouTube model isn’t especially popular at record labels and music publishers. But the firm hopes that, because – like YouTube – SoundCloud is an important marketing channel in the music industry, it can persuade rights owners to sign up to a less risky business model (less risky for SoundCloud that is), on the basis that some monetisation + existing marketing benefits is a good deal. Except the more lucrative (for the labels) Spotify-type services keep saying that YouTube and SoundCloud are major hindrances in growing the subscription streaming market.

Anyway, SoundCloud has met some resistance since coming to the music industry with its monetisation plans, though some rights owners have signed up and Warner Music is dabbling. Sony, however, is not, and word has it that continued frustration over the deal being offered by SoundCloud is why tracks from Hozier, Miguel, Kelly Clarkson, Passion Pit, Leon Bridges and MS MR have all been pulled from the streaming site.

A SoundCloud spokesperson wouldn’t be drawn on the company’s dealings with Sony, but stressed that everything was going just swell elsewhere. Said spokesperson told Billboard: “We are in ongoing conversations with major and independent labels and will continue to add partners to [our ad revenue] programme. We’ve always put control in the hands of creators, and anyone who makes music and audio can decide when and how they want to share it with fans, allowing artists to essentially broadcast out to the world the availability of new content”.

News of Sony’s takedowns came as the National Music Publishers’ Association in the US announced it had reached a deal with SoundCloud on behalf of the trade group’s independent members. NMPA boss David Israelite said yesterday: “This agreement ensures that when SoundCloud succeeds financially, so do the songwriters whose content draws so many users to their site. I am thrilled that we could agree on terms that will benefit both creators and the SoundCloud platform that has brought online music access and creativity to a new level”.