Berlin-based streaming music service SoundCloud, which focuses mostly on new and upcoming artists, is looking to break into the premium music industry with a new offer for artists that aims to bypass distributors.
This “premier monetization” move aims to bring the offerings of thousands of artists to SoundCloud while tagging them as professional creators.
According to a statement, SoundCloud aims to either match or outbid the rates offered by rivals such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
SoundCloud has one of the larger global audiences for free, advertising-supported music. However, they have struggled to convert free users into paying listeners. Launching the relatively inexpensive $4.99 a month service called “SoundCloud Go” last year did little to further the cause.
With the Pro program, SoundCloud looks to pay artists (above the age of 18) directly if they get 5,000 plays a month. This is now expected in the US as well as Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
However, SoundCloud has specified that only fully-owned music can be offered through the service, i.e., original music for which the creators own all the rights. While this could help the service avoid copyright violations, how effective the move could translate to revenue is to be seen.