SoundCloud — an online streaming platform with one of the best discovery methods around — first popped up in the late 2000s as a way for artists to share their music, whether it be mixes, beats, songs or what have you, in an free and easily accessible way. But as it gained steam, it ran into legal trouble as many of the sounds getting uploaded to the platform featured samples or, in the case of mixes, popular songs belonging to major labels.
Over the last couple years, SoundCloud has tried its best to not give into the labels so artists still had the freedom to upload what they wanted, but as the majors cracked down by taking down tons of content that had been on the site for years, SoundCloud started to lose its appeal — and revenue from artists uploading content followed.
SoundCloud eventually made deals with major labels to give them a cut of the revenue, which also led to SoundCloud introducing a subscription service — like Spotify and Apple Music — which seemed to be everything SoundCloud didn’t want to be when it started.
Being what it is now — largely a pay-to-listen service, with the free version featuring ads — it’s in competition with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, TiDAL and other similar services, and it still has 175 million users to work with. So now Spotify is reportedly making a move.
BREAKING: Streaming music service Spotify is in advanced talks to buy online music platform SoundCloud – Financial Times
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 28, 2016
According to the Financial Times, Spotify and SoundCloud are in “advanced talks” to buy the service.
Just two months ago, Bloomberg reported that SoundCloud — which just got a $70 million investment from Twitter, which might be sold soon itself — could be sold for a billion dollars.
As to what this will do to SoundCloud, that remains to be seen. But if you had hope for it to returning to its discovery- and artist-first roots, this deal would seemingly all but kill that.