A press release was issued on Business Wire yesterday confirming a new business partnership between SoundCloud and the digital rights management / media analysis company Zefr. Zefr has famously built its business around management of content on Youtube, scanning videos for copyright-protected material and then allowing its clients to claim revenue from said work– they are responsible for Youtube’s monetization model.
Though the companies publicly claim the partnership is “to help the company and its music partners better understand the sharing of content on the platform,” it’s not unreasonable to speculate that SoundCloud may be looking to implement a monetization program similar to that of YouTube, especially as it tries to attract deals from Sony and Universal. The two major record labels have held out from joining Warner Music in a deal with Soundcloud largely because the SoundCloud has been unable to provide a revenue stream from content (they make their money mostly through artist subscriptions).
This deal could be a big move for smaller artists as well, allowing SoundCloud to host unofficial / “bootleg” remixes by paying license fees with ads (and possibly even allowing non-premium partners to monetize their work)… though this will almost assuredly mean in increase in the frequency of ads heard on SoundCloud.
We can only speculate for now but one thing is for sure: big changes are on the way.
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