SoundCloud is going to be completely different in less than 9 months
In the not so distant future, some of the 175 million users of SoundCloud are going to be paying real life money for the once indie-centric, completely freemium based streaming site. Cue sad horn ...
After spending years (damn near eons in Internet time) failing to deliver a profitable model to its investors, SoundCloud is still scrambling in finding ways to monetize the site. After launching paid advertisements in August of 2014, the music discovery anchor saw a slight tick in relief, however its recent financial assessments still show the company lost $44 million in 2014.
But it's far from a grim future, as the media giant has been making moves. Last week the former Chief Revenue Officer of NBC Universal, Allison Moore, was hired on to oversee the company's aggressive push to acquiring paid users. The stipulation to create a paid model was one of the necessary advances needed to secure a deal with Universal Music Group — one of the 3 major labels who have been historically against SouncCloud's current model of allowing users to stream for free. SoundCloud also has deals with Warner Music Group and Merlin Network (which represents over 20,000 independent labels).
Sources close to Digital Music News claim the switch to a subscription-based service is gunning for a summer launch, though a more realistic timeframe is probably somewhere closer to October.
So whatever love you have for the service now, enjoy it while it lasts, because soon enough it's going to look just like the others and probably do its best to squeeze out independent artists in its quest for the holy buck. When label's interests lie in you hearing Justin Bieber's songs 13 times every hour, do you really think it's going to allow for a service to highlight independent artists in the same light? It's an unfortunate turn of events, but we couldn't really have expected anything less from an industry built on manipulation and fuckery.