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SoundCloud introduces ads and paid ad-free subscriptions

by Mark Tyson on 22 August 2014, 13:15

Tags: SoundCloud

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Music sharing platform SoundCloud has launched a new creator partner program called On SoundCloud. It aims to lay down the foundation for musicians and content creators to make some money from their SoundCloud published works.

SoundCloud is the second largest music streaming service in the world after YouTube, with 175 million monthly listeners. However artists and content creators who upload their audio onto SoundCloud have always accepted that they will not be paid any royalties. Instead it is used solely as a way to build an audience of fans, to get recognition and gain data on how (and where) tracks are being listened to.

In order to encourage all musicians and labels to eventually sign up to its new initiative, the Berlin-based company has  taken the step of adding adverts to its website. The ads will debut on the pages of an initial select group of invited On SoundCloud partners in the US. This will include ads from brands including Red Bull, Sonos, Squarespace, Jaguar and Comedy Central. Ads will initially only run on licensed content from partners such as Sony/ATV and BMG, comedy site Funny or Die, and independent artists such as GoldLink.

"The majority" of the money paid by the advertiser will be paid to the content creator, as it is a share of revenues rather than a set pre-stream payment, reports the Guardian. In another monetisation move SoundCloud will launch a paid subscription service in the "coming months" for listeners to be able to opt out of its ads.

The On SoundCloud programme will be divided into three tiers; Partner, Pro and Premier. The Partner tier is free, and allows those who are just getting started to join the community, share their first track and receive feedback and basic stats. The Pro level is paid and will give users more upload time, advanced tools and features like Spotlight and detailed stats. The Premier partner level is the tier that will give SoundCloud Partners the ability to make money from the tracks they are sharing, through advertising revenue sharing.

The ads will only be carried on content played in the US for now, and whilst revenue will be shared between SoundCloud and the content creators, those who want to join the Premier tier can only get in with an invitation at this time.

"We see the program as something for all creators. We're launching with a small set, but ultimately we want to get all creators, whether music or audio, big or small, all over the world to be able to make use of it," said SoundCloud chief executive Alexander.

As a SoundCloud contributor or regular listener what do you think of this advertising move?

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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I've suggested it to them a few times before, that they monetise the service somehow. I'm not ignorant to the fact that it must cost a lot of money to run a website like that. But I just find it weird how they have these paid accounts which we must get if we want stats (free accounts don't get any stats), yet there is no way to make money from the platform. You can't even sell your music on there. I just think it's a bit odd to expect artists to pay for a service on a site where there is no possibility of getting some money back, while the listeners just get everything for free. So it's good to see that they've finally taken steps to allow people to earn from plays. It just sucks that by the looks of it, you'll have to have a top tier account to recieve any of the revenue. If you're just a small artist who can't expect to make much, you won't benefit from it. You'll still be losing out. They need to make it so we can sell our tracks directly from Soundcloud as well.

But at least this is a start :)
I only use Soundcloud to listen to podcasts, so I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to be hearing TWO adverts for Squarespace every time.
I only use Soundcloud to listen to podcasts, so I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to be hearing TWO adverts for Squarespace every time.

I've no idea if the adverts will be audio, or just visual. But I'd like to think that there will be some kind of control for the content creators to decide how and when the ads will be delivered. I'm pretty sure the paid for accounts won't have to listen to ads though. So you can probably support content creators and the site through that method instead.