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SoundCloud Premier might be screwing independent artists

Source: The Verge, SoundCloud Premier391065963-SoundCloud-Premier-monetization-Terms-and-Conditions.pdf

 

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Premier is a new kind of monetization program, letting artists upload and make money from their content without having to sign a deal with a record label or aggregator. This new monetization option allows musicians to directly make money from streaming, setting SoundCloud up as a major competitor to the entrenched label system. Spotify has a similar system, currently called DRCT Beta.

 

But while self-monetization purports to offer a more fair alternative to the traditional label system, SoundCloud’s deal pushes artists into restrictive terms, with ambiguous payment dates and payout percentages that can change at any time. Even worse, artists are asked to sign away all rights to sue the company, giving them no good options for contesting the deal.

Back in the day in order to get your songs available on iTunes or Spotify, you have to sign with a label. Some independent artist go to the extreme and sign for a "360 deal' which is terrible because for everything you'll earn from tours, concerts and even merchandise, the label will have a cut. But now SoundCloud and Spotify are trying to change that where indie artists can just upload their music to these services and got monetized and get paid directly without having a big label intervening. But as The Verge found out, it poses problems that will potentially screw indie artists when it comes to monetization. 

 

Rules for SoundCloud Premier are as follows (more details in the PDF above):

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But unlike the one offered by Spotify, SoundCloud's ToC says that you cannot sue SoundCloud in the event they don't pay you enough. Also, you can only get paid if you reached the threshold of $100 per month so if an artists earned less, they'll have to wait until it reaches the threshold. Now SoundCloud responded to The Verge by saying:

 

“SoundCloud is the leading platform for audio creators, dedicated to empowering them with the best tools and services to grow their careers. The SoundCloud Premier monetization program operates on a fixed net revenue share of 55% and monthly royalty payments paid net 45 days to creators, which exceeds most other platforms. SoundCloud Premier is completely non-exclusive, the creator always retains all their content rights, and reserves the right to exit the agreement at any time. We are always looking for ways to simplify our agreements for the benefit of our creator community, and will take the opportunity here to avoid future confusion.”


But The Verge noted that SoundCloud's response is contradicted by the language of their contract. While SoundCloud may commit to 55% royalty share, they can change those terms without future notice to the artists. But the thing is, how many people will sign up for SoundCloud when Spotify is more popular? Unlike Spotify which will trigger monetization if a song is played even in a free account, monetization will only happen if the song is played outside of the nine-monetized countries (US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand). If a person already paid for Spotify Premium and that already supports the indie artists, why bother with SoundCloud Premier where songs can only be monetized across nine countries?

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There is more that meets the eye
I see the soul that is inside

 

 

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Well if the artist is European you can not take away the artist ability to sue them in a ToC.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. 
It matters that you don't just give up.”

-Stephen Hawking

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