SoundCloud and Universal Music Group Sign Licensing Deal

blame it on Patrick Glynn January 13, 2016

Streaming service SoundCloud and one of music’s largest record labels, Universal Music Group, have signed a licensing deal, according to Billboard. They’re the largest label to come to an agreement with the streaming website.

UMG’s CEO Lucian Grainge, in an I’m-finally-getting-my-money statement, said, “With this partnership, we’re ensuring recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit, both creatively and commercially, from the exciting new forms of music community engagement on SoundCloud. We look forward to working with SoundCloud and supporting the company’s evolution into a successful commercial service.”

The chief corporate officer of SoundCloud, Stephen Bryan, told Billboard a subscription service is expected to come to the site by the end of the year.

This is both good and bad. It’s good because hopefully, now rappers, producers, DJs and more won’t get their accounts suspended for remixing/covering/mixing UMG content. Over the past year or so, more and more accounts have been given strikes for having content on your page that wasn’t completely original — a.k.a. remixes and such of music coming from major record labels.

It’s bad, in a way, because this means people will eventually have to start paying for SoundCloud. It’s been inevitable, and it’s the only logical way to conduct business once deals with major labels have been agreed to. If you’re paying the big labels, you need money coming in from elsewhere. No matter the cost, the current price to stream music and upload content (up to two hours-worth) is free, so it’ll be a little bit tougher on beginning artists to use the site to get discovered once subscriptions come into play. For the artists with a little bit of revenue stream, discovery from the site won’t be an issue, but having less people being able to listen to your music for free (due to less people coming to the site because they aren’t paying for it in full) might deter artists away from using the site entirely.

Let’s see how this all plays out. SoundCloud just changed forever.