SoundCloud Will Start Paying 20,000 Independent Labels For Streaming Rights

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For as much time, money and media attention as has been invested into the music streaming world, lines of allegiance and legality can still be murky. In a major move toward uniformity, SoundCloud has reportedly signed an agreement with Merlin, a music licensing agency, that will pay over 20,000 independent record labels in exchange for their music appearing on SoundCloud. According to The Guardian, the deal centers on the streaming website’s On SoundCloud feature, which will split with labels the ad revenue from commercials that appear next to said label’s songs. It’s a major step toward securing a larger above-the-board catalog for SoundCloud, which seems to be making a play to enter the subscription music service game and rival giants like Spotify, Tidal and the soon-to-be-launched Apple Music.

On SoundCloud has already paid out more than $2 million to over 100 partners, says The Guardian; one of those beneficiaries is Warner Music Group. Sony, another of the three major labels, has recently started a concerted effort to remove its songs from the service, citing a lack of monetization opportunities. SoundCloud has long been a hub for dance and electronic music, and licensing hang-ups over one song in mixes that can run over an hour have been a major issue for many artists who use the service.

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