SoundCloud is changing the way it processes and accommodates play requests in their API, a response to what the company is calling the "abuse [of] creator content" by some developers. Starting July 1st, apps are going to be limited to 15,000 play requests every 24 hours — after hitting that limit, SoundCloud will return an error message, and the app won't function as intended. This is a major change from its current policy, which allows apps to make unlimited play requests.
With that said, this change isn't going to have the drastic effect it might appear to have at first glance. It doesn't mean that SoundCloud tracks embedded on websites are capped at 15,000 plays a day, or that tracks can only be played 15,000 times per day before going under for 24 hours. Because of widespread misconception, SoundCloud had to amend its original announcement post on its Backstage Blog to include the following statement: "This change does not affect the SoundCloud embedded player, and if you have not heard from us, your app is unaffected."
So what is the actual significance of this shift? It's an API-specific change that directly impacts app developers. There are plenty of apps that use SoundCloud's API for a variety of purposes — SoundCloud lists many of them here — and it's these apps that are having their play requests capped. In addition to the announcement above, SoundCloud is reaching out to developers affected by the change, and claims that "only a small number of developers will be affected." Finally, the company is planning to introduce an application process for developers who are necessarily going to exceed the new daily cap. If you're a garden-variety listener, rest easy — this probably won't affect your day-to-day musical experience.