Paying for SoundCloud was inevitable; but we just don't wanna. Not right now; not like this!

In what’s likely not the most shocking news ever, reports are suggesting a paid model for SoundCloud is right over the horizon. So close even our wallets just shook with terror and rage at the very thought of the absurd idea of paying for music.

Or it could have been phantom phone. Whatever, SoundCloud is going to cost money soon; that’s the real issue here …

Last week a “leaked” contract (seen in all its glory below) between the National Music Publishers’ Association and SoundCloud hit the ravenous pull of the Web, outlining more details about rumored subscription packages.

The (alleged) three-tiered system will still contain a free model, but drastically cuts down on the library available to those who haven’t shelled out milk money for content. A next level, dubbed “Additional Services,” will allow users to have more access to SoundCloud’s entire catalog without ads and a final “Full Catalog Subscription Service” sets fans up baller status with full usage.

For the past however many weeks, major labels and copyright owners have been pulling content down in an attempt to strong-arm coerce the company to figure out a way to make money for the labels, sign a contact they like, or in the end just lose out on their graciousness for good.

We’ve all probably heard the random ads popping up on select songs across the company’s catalog — a direct result in the streaming service trying to monetize the site. It’s been unable to do so at all, even posting a $29 million loss in 2013 (the most recent available filings), but still somehow being worth a rumored $1 billion as of Dec 2014 …

So a paid model was inevitable. Still in stunted negotiations with Sony and Universal, SoundCloud has only secured deals with Warner Music and Merlin, a company that represents over 20,000 independent labels. With no real revenue and no groundbreaking ideas on blueprint (at least not publicly), the service has little negotiating room to pull rank — especially since Apple announced yesterday it would be unveiling its streaming service in a few weeks …

… only the good lord knows what that’s going to do to the world of online streaming service.

But let’s be honest, this is the Internet and there will always be a way to find free music. Maybe we won’t be able to listen to a Top 40 artist on a drunken whim without a few tolls hucked to the gate trolls, but at least independent music will be available via whatever means necessary.

And SoundCloud has always been a bastion of non-discovered artists, so maybe if they can’t seal a deal with the other two jerks, maybe they can somehow manage to profit off of lesser-known artists one way or another? The leaked contract isn’t a final confirmation into SoundCloud moving that way, but it really doesn’t look good for those of us who rely on its readily available catalog to discover and enjoy.

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