A landmark licensing deal has been agreed between SoundCloud and Universal Music Group (UMG) that settles a long-running dispute – you may remember our account was frozen in August 2015 – over music hosted on the "freemium" service.
According to Music Week, the arrangement between the two parties will now usher "new creative, commercial and promotional opportunities for UMG’s artists and UMPG's [Universal Music Publishing Group] songwriters." Last year, SoundCloud enrolled advertising and subscriptions in their U.S. services, and with today's deal, it enables UMG to use SoundCloud's analytics to see how the 175 million listeners listen to artists.
To mark the agreement, SoundCloud's chief content officer Stephen Bryan spoke with Music Week about what the future holds between their cooperation with UMG:
"We see the deal as important for a few key reasons. Obviously, first of all, it means that UMG’s artists and UMPG’s songwriters will be able to have access to all of our new monetisation programmes [sic]. The second thing is really around our creator community and a lot of the work that we have been doing across the industry to put a framework together that will allow our creator community to continue to express themselves on the platform and to be able to create and to let that kind of expression which has always been at the core to of SoundCloud to continue to thrive in a way that is at massive scale and in a way that allows revenue to be generated from that content."
He also adds that with new revenue, the company predicts a "significant increase in the amount and diversity of content on the platform," via UMG’s labels and "continued content" emerging from the from the wider community as SoundCloud "enhances [its] ecosystem."
Meanwhile, Lucian Grainge (Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group) added: “With this partnership, we’re ensuring recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit, both creatively and commercially, from the exciting new forms of music community engagement on SoundCloud. We look forward to working with SoundCloud and supporting the company’s evolution into a successful commercial service.”
And finally, SoundCloud founder/CEO Said Alexander Ljung, stated:
“With this partnership with UMG we will further strengthen and grow the unique community we’ve built over the past seven years, where multiple forms of expression can live and where artists at every stage of their careers come to create and share their work. Bringing together the world’s largest audio platform and the world’s largest music company means we are able to further expand SoundCloud’s role as a critical platform for creators and open up its benefits to UMG’s extensive roster of artists. With the majority of the music industry partnering with us and adding to the more than 100 million tracks already available to discover on the platform, we are able to offer a service to both creators and listeners that is unrivalled in the music streaming space today."