Sony Music is pulling songs from the SoundCloud pages of some of its biggest musicians, including Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Miguel, after failing to reach an agreement with SoundCloud on streaming. The breakdown in negotiations, first reported by Billboard, appears to be over Sony's view that SoundCloud doesn't provide enough options for it to make money off of the music it hosts there.
SoundCloud says it's paid out over $2 million to its partners in less than a year
Billboard counts over half a dozen Sony musicians whose music has already been pulled, and it sounds as though more could follow. It's not clear if this is a negotiation tactic or the conclusion of the negotiations, but it perhaps isn't a surprising end result: music labels aren't exactly big fans of ad-supported streaming.
"We are in ongoing conversations with major and independent labels and will continue to add partners to the [On SoundCloud] program," SoundCloud says in a statement. SoundCloud says that it's already paid out over $2 million to partners through On SoundCloud, its monetization program. The program was only announced last August, and it's now signed over 100 partners. Sony Music declined to comment.
On SoundCloud has introduced ads to the site's music streams, which include audio spots and small popups before tracks begin to play. The ads only play every so often, however, which may be limiting how much revenue SoundCloud brings in and is able to share with labels. SoundCloud also recently announced a partnership with a company that scans for copyright infringement and offers analytics, which could provide another avenue for labels to profit off of SoundCloud. If these negotiations are any sign, it still may not be enough to please the biggest names in music.
Getting labels on board would give SoundCloud a lot more popular content to stream, so it's seemingly a bad sign for it — and listeners — that Sony isn't interested. SoundCloud's strength has long been in its community, however, rather than these big artists, though that may not be as exciting when it comes to serving ads.