SoundCloud has signed a licensing deal with Sony Music, giving it deals with all three major labels and paving the way for the subscription service it's slated to launch later this year, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Sony Music will also get equity from SoundCloud in the deal. The agreement gives SoundCloud access to Sony Music artists including Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Future, Calvin Harris, Bruce Springsteen, Miguel, Foo Fighters, and Justin Timberlake.
The streaming music service is planning on launching a paid subscription plan, and a source close to the situation said the deals SoundCloud struck with the majors does allow it to build a full on-demand service similar to Spotify or Apple Music.
SoundCloud had already struck deals with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Merlin, a network of independent labels; Sony Music was the last holdout. But getting a deal done with Sony Music has been a bit more challenging. The label pulled its music off SoundCloud last year, after reports surfaced that Sony Music wasn't happy with the "lack of monetization opportunities," according to Billboard.
Early discussions have SoundCloud offering a $10 a month service later this year
Now that the deal is done and SoundCloud has gotten the music industry's blessing, it must figure out how to monetize the service without alienating its 175 million users who are largely used to using it for free. But sources say the company is serious about monetizing the service, with one industry source telling The Verge "they have to make this work if SoundCloud has a long term future."
Early discussions have SoundCloud's paid offering coming in at $10 a month when it launches later this year, and there have also been talks of a mid-tier service priced lower than that. Combined with the plethora of songs that live solely on SoundCloud already could, SoundCloud could give have a slight advantage over competing streaming services, which largely offer the same music catalog.
SoundCloud declined to "comment on rumors." Sony Music did not respond to a request for comment.
Update: March 18th 4:10PM: SoundCloud has confirmed its deal with Sony Music.