Have you been personally victimized by Soundcloud? Some of Soundcloud’s finest producers and DJs might argue that recent actions have crippled their creative outlet. In the past few months, we’ve seen a fury of monetization schemes plotted by the Berlin-based company such as adding advertisements and signing royalty deals with labels like Warner Music Group. They’ve now gone a step further, viciously taking down any song that potentially violates copyight claims. In layman’s terms, any unofficial remix, bootleg, or mix that contains unlicensed tracks or unlicensed samples, or relatively resembles the original gets aggressively removed. Soundcloud has been handing out strikes the way Oprah gives away cars. On top of that, DJs and producers are having their creative works stripped from their audiences and are being punished with account suspensions. The new copyright claims policy wipes artists’ entire portfolios, not giving them the opportunity to dispute the claim.
However the heart of the problem lies within the corporate side of the music industry. Soundcloud’s actions, as heartless as they might be, are also legal. They are simply a pawn in a larger war. Copyright has always been a grey area where while using copyrighted tracks is illegal, it has led to finding some of the most unique, ground breaking artists. The unofficial remix is the crux of how Soundcloud became Soundcloud. However, since Soundcloud allied with major labels and agencies, they are slowly crushing aspiring electronic musicians.
Since the purge began earlier last week, Soundcloud has also struck a deal with Universal Music Group. After months of negotiations, the two companies have come to an agreement which started in the removal of copyright-infringing users and mixes. This isn’t the first deal Soundcloud’s made with major labels. Over the past year, they’ve struck deals with Warner Music Group and Merlin that allows artists and labels to block a track, mute its audio, or choose to monetize it with ads if it violates Soundcloud’s copyright content policies. Each deal has been contingent on Soundcloud incorporating a subscription tier. At this point, Sony has taken down some of its biggest artists’ content and is, according to Madeon, “holding its artists to ransom”. So that leaves Universal. Supposedly Universal is backing Soundcloud into a corner that requires them to follow through with the implementation of a subscription tier and equity in the company.
What does this mean for Soundcloud? Bandcamp ride or die.
Joe Essick says
It's the same old shit… Money, money, money. Soundcloud wanted it and the major lables gave it to them in return for their (our) soul. The outcome was inevitable, the time is upon us. The question is…. What's next? I have no problem giving my money to the next best (Soundcloud'ish) type of outlet. I'll give them my money and will continue to give them my money right up until they inevitably sell-out too.
Timo Sekirkine says
yungcloud is the new soundcloud
Jimmy Edwards IV says
Maybe I'm in the wrong, but I won't pay for music. I'll pay to go to shows and I'll buy albums I love, but I'll get into pirating way before I buy individual mp3 files. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this way either.