SoundCloud announced today that it is adding distribution to its self-monetization Premier program. Those who are eligible in the open beta will now be able to self-upload, monetize, and publish their songs to other streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora for no additional cost — all from within SoundCloud. Notably, SoundCloud says those who use its distribution service will keep “100 percent of their distribution royalties from third-party services.”
“It’s about a two-sided ecosystem: Creators bring great content and that content has the opportunity to be discovered.” says CEO Kerry Trainor.
To be eligible, users must have a SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited account, have original music (or own all the rights for applicable music), be 18 years old or age of majority in their country, have no copyright strikes, and have at least 1,000 plays in the past month from countries where SoundCloud monetizes. For eligible users, a distribution button will now appear within the track manager section, prompting them to select from a list of distribution channels and schedule their release.
Although distribution is offered as part and parcel of SoundCloud’s Premier program, this doesn’t necessarily make it a free service. The cheaper SoundCloud Pro tier costs $72 annually, and it only allows you to distribute one release to all major services. Pro Unlimited costs $144 annually, and it allows for unlimited distribution. Depending on how frequently you use the platform, this could actually make it a more expensive option than competitors like Distrokid, which is $19.99 a year with unlimited distribution. Spotify took a minor stake in Distrokid last fall, allowing artists in its beta self-monetization program to self-upload for free and then self-distribute through the Spotify for Artists dashboard. CEO Kerry Trainor says “SoundCloud’s new offering, positions it as a breeding ground for major streaming services, rather than a rival.” Over the past year, the company has embraced its reputation as a space where underground artists break through to the mainstream, expanding its monetization options in October and debuting its First On SoundCloud rising artist campaign last spring. “SoundCloud isn’t, nor ever was, meant to be a one-way, mass streaming experience,” Trainor explains. “Streaming has risen, people are paying for music again and it’s fantastic what all the major streaming services are doing there. But what SoundCloud has been about, always, is empowering creators and giving that connection between creator and listener. Our overall position is about continuing to invest in that — it’s not about trying to chase those other mass services.”
SoundCloud passed 200 million uploaded tracks last week and now counts 20 million creators on the platform, over half of whom are heard in any given month. Now let’s see how beneficial and helpful these new added features are, to the indie artists who are always looking for a cheaper and better way of getting their music heard.