Moving toward a fair and sustainable streaming model for artists

An open letter to the Mixcloud community about why we’re changing our playback experience

Jul 31 · 5 min read

Dear Mixcloud Community,

The Mixcloud playback experience is changing. We’re penning this letter in order to be as transparent as possible about what’s changing and why. Read on to understand how you can contribute to fairly and legally supporting music and culture.

Mixcloud has always offered a service for creators to upload for free, and for anyone to listen for free. It’s crucial to us that these options continue to exist.

In the coming months, this free playback streaming experience on Mixcloud will become slightly more limited. It’s important to us that, as a member of our community, you understand why.

The short answer is: so that we can keep up with the costs of running a streaming service that puts artists and creators at its core, and so we can build a sustainable platform that will be here for you in the long term.

What’s changing?

A free listener will still be able to access Mixcloud’s unique catalog of over 15 million shows. However, they may run into some limits, in line with our licensing agreements:

  • Free listeners will only be able to seek forwards (not backward) while listening to a show.
  • Free listeners will be able to listen to the same show maximum 3 times in a rolling two-week window.
  • Free listeners will not be able to listen to shows that feature more than 4 tracks by the same artist or more than 3 tracks from an album (If you are not a rights holder).

We’ve also re-designed our subscription plans so that you can lift these limitations, whatever type of listener you may be:

  • For the loyalist fan who keeps coming back to specific creators:
    By subscribing directly to an individual creator with Mixcloud Select, for a flexible monthly price set by the creator from $2.99, a listener can directly support the creator, listen to their channel without limits and receive exclusive rewards in exchange.
  • For the generalist listener who listens to a bit of everything:
    By upgrading to a Mixcloud Premium, our new $7.99 monthly subscription, a listener can access all public shows across the platform without limits.

Toward a fair, sustainable payout model

We originally built Mixcloud to create a safe, legal space for DJs, online radio stations and audio creators of all kinds to give their content a home. For the last decade, we’ve focused on building tools that help these creators champion culture, get their shows heard and build deeply engaged audiences.

In the background, we’ve done the heavy lifting of ensuring we have the right music licenses in place to operate a fair and legal service. In our world, that means making sure we’re doing the right thing to support the people behind the music you love to listen to.

The streaming economy is fast becoming the biggest driver behind the recorded music industry.

By 2030, it’s projected that 70% of global music revenue will come from streaming.

As the world changes, and how people consume culture shifts, the music industry must keep adapting and innovating to ensure artists and songwriters get paid for their work.

When you stream any show on Mixcloud, the underlying tracks are identified through audio fingerprinting technology, so that we can pay royalty fees to the relevant rightsholders. Since we started building this platform, the royalty costs we pay for every person who listens for free have steadily risen. Today, the revenue that we make from advertising simply doesn’t come close to covering these costs.

If you, like us, want to see this platform continue to exist for the next decade, then we need more people to subscribe to their favorite channels with Mixcloud Select or upgrade to the new platform-wide Mixcloud Premium plan.

Where your money goes when you subscribe to the new Mixcloud Premium subscription plan

Select or Premium — what’s the difference?

While the Mixcloud Premium plan gives people the option to listen across the platform without limits, Mixcloud Select is a direct fan-to-creator subscription that lets you get closer to the individual creator channels you love and support their craft.

(If you haven’t heard much about this yet, read up on why we’re building Mixcloud Select and how the model works.)

Rather than compete with the big players to be yet another on-demand, “all you can listen” streamings service, we’ve come to realize that we can be a different kind of platform. We can go deeper into our dedication toward supporting audio creators by giving them the tools to supercharge the relationship with their fans and earn income from their shows online– while continuing to legally and fairly champion the artists and music they play.

Where your money goes when you subscribe to a creator channel on Mixcloud Select

Mixcloud Select gives you the chance to directly support the DJs, radio stations, podcasters and curators you love and join their inner circle of supporting fans. It’s more than just buying a premium listening experience. Your small monthly subscription– basically the price of buying a monthly coffee or pint– flows to everyone involved in handcrafting the shows you love to listen to. It’s then up to the creator to choose how to keep rewarding you with exclusives and special offers. Think of it as a next-generation fan club.

In summary

We envision a future where people directly support the creators, cultures and communities they care about, human to human.

As these new playback changes are rolled out across the platform to all free users, we understand that you may be frustrated– or perhaps you won’t even notice. Whatever type of listener you are, if you love to come to Mixcloud to discover and listen to quality mixes, shows or podcasts, then your subscription to either Select or Premium will help keep this global community for audio culture thriving.

Our small, incredible team works tirelessly, day in and out, so we can continue to make Mixcloud better for everyone. In exchange for your support, we commit to staying true to our values every day: doing the right thing, playing the long game and championing the culture.

Thanks for listening. ✌️


Nikhil, Nico & Mat
Co-founders of Mixcloud

Questions? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email


The Global Community for Audio Culture


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The Global Community for Audio Culture

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