Making Money On SoundCloud

SoundCloud is as close to indispensable as you get on the internet today. It has far surpassed being a streaming or distribution service and truly become a social community. SoundCloud “is the world’s leading sound platform where anyone can listen to, create and share sounds everywhere”. Cofounders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss founded Soundcloud in August of 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden. SoundCloud was born out of the desire to make collaboration easier and solving the frustration of the “old ways” of sharing music. This amazing idea morphed into a real opportunity for anyone to create and share music ideas regardless of how recognized they are and ultimately changed the game by leveling the playing field.

Ultimately SoundCloud goes beyond just sharing music. The social sound platform also allows artists to make money on their creations through The OnSoundCloud program. Artists are paid when users view or listen to ads while enjoying the music the artists upload. The general idea is payment for each ad that plays during one of their tracks in the same manner as YouTube’s Partner Program shares revenue” (Uddin). This is just a slice of money making pie on SoundCloud.

SoundCloud’s website states that “Premier Partners can monetize their content and earn revenue generated on SoundCloud. Subscriptions and advertising on SoundCloud directly support artists” (SoundCloud). With respect to this platform the definition of monetize is to convert into or express in the form of currency or money. Thus the goal here is to show us how member subscriptions to Soundcloud and advertisements fund artists producing the music. Ads come up every few songs while you are listening if you do not own a SoundCloud Go account. A SoundCloud Go account is “is the same SoundCloud you’ve known for years taken to the next level: with an expanded catalog of tracks that are new to the platform, new features and new functionality” (Ljung). Consequently it offers an even more premiere experience than free accounts. Someone who does not own a premium account technically does not pay any money to the artists. Rather the ads do. However, if you own a premium account you do not hear any ads, but you do have to pay a monthly subscription which compensates for that.

The moment the company offered monetization it completely changed the landscape. It was not always as monetized though. You used to “just post links to iTunes or band camp and send people to buy your music and more so make your money through Soundcloud not on Soundcloud” (Pay Us No Mind). A plethora of new features come along once one monetizes their account. The most important and effective new feature is that “Users hear ads while playing your music on mobile and more”. In addition, there is a feature called “whistling” which eliminates copyright issues that prevent you from uploading. Other attributes consist of “Pre-clearance which ensures your publishing is properly setup, Monetization only available in current territories, [monetization] will ensure your track stays online during clearance” (Jones). Before monetization was offered, Soundcloud almost seemed dull. Without a source of money, artists did not find many reasons to use Soundcloud. Ultimately SoundCloud has risen in popularity due to the offering of monetization.

Unfortunately enough Monetization through SoundCloud is only offered in certain countries. It is provided “in Australia, the US and its territories: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, Virgin Islands, the UK and its territories: Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Ireland, France and its territories: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany” (Jones). As you can see this process is just in a handful of regions. Nevertheless SoundCloud plans on expanding monetization. Artists who do not want people to get their music free can actually use geographic control.

The feature of geographic control is a very useful tool because it “allows Premier partners have the ability to geographically control their content, allowing restriction of uploads to specific regions — but also the sequential publication of content to certain regions” (Voogt). Geographic Control is very useful for artists “that only want to make content available in certain countries, or to grant licenses to others for only those specific territories. This encourages closer collaboration between artists, labels and promotional channels on the platform — and especially for majors, whom often release content sequentially over different territories and dates” (Voogt). This feature offers maximum control in how an artist would release his or her music. Fortunately it adds a sense of unity to the community due to the fact that it creates collusion between the artists.

You may think it is easy for one to monetize his or her account, however it is not. An artist needs to apply for a premier account. If you are “interested in getting a Premier account, there’s multiple ways to go about this. Firstly, you should be aware that Premier accounts are currently restricted to only the most high-traffic accounts on the platform. Wherever you might apply, if your numbers are not impressive, it may take a long time before you are activated” (Voogt). As you can see the difficulty for one to monetize their account is high. You basically need to be famous in order to receive the premier account title. Considering the difficulty level, “The more effective route is to get a partnership with one of the few distributors, labels or multi-channel networks that can extend Premier invites” (Voogt). In case one was unable to do it alone he or she can get a partnership. There are many different options available. Some of them consist of “Labels and distributors which are INgrooves, finetunes, Spinnin, SEED”. Additionally many “multiple-channel networks [such as] Maker Studios (audio focused deal), Fullscreen (audio focused deal), INDMusic (music focused deal), EDM Network (music focused deal), edmDistrict (music focused deal)” are at hand (Voogt). This just goes to show the vast versatility of ways to make money through partnership deals.

SoundCloud is the key advancement in the disruption of entertainment across all arts. The platform is also challenging the traditional distribution model by giving users the ability to monetize their music. Some of the best ideas are the simplest. SoundCloud was born out of a simple need to solve a problem and has become so much more than that. SoundCloud is not just a streaming service or collaborative social platform. SoundCloud is the future of music and soon to be all of arts and entertainment.

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