After Holding Out for Years, SoundCloud Finally Decides to Pay Artists…

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For all the praise that Soundcloud receives, the company has never paid its millions of artists a penny.  This is why in the face of a brewing backlash, SoundCloud’s CTO and Co-Founder Eric Wahlforss said the platform would soon pay their most popular creators.

This has now come to pass.

SoundCloud has just announced a new partnership program called “On SoundCloud”, which refers to a suite of new account tiers.  Free user accounts are now also referred to as ‘Partner’ accounts, and SoundCloud still offers Pro and Pro Unlimited tiers.  There’s also a new invite-only Premier tier, seemingly only available to the most popular creators.

Premier users get everything Pro users get, and can also make money through advertisements.

If a Premier user opts in, ads from companies like Red Bull and Comedy Central will play in between their tracks in the U.S.  These ads will not play on any non-Premier accounts, but Premier accounts will soon roll out to more users and countries.

In the near future, SoundCloud will allow users to avoid hearing ads via paid subscriptions.

Companies that are interested in advertising on SoundCloud can check out their new ad platform.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

Featured photo by Paul Kitchener, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).


16 Responses

  1. so, that's how capitalism works?

    I will go to the bakery today and ask them to allow me to take some food for free, because one of my online profiles is very popular – definitely most popular that any other who uses the same bakery.

    • GGG

      Soundcloud doesn’t take your music. People CHOOSE to upload it. Put it somewhere else if you don’t like them.

  2. TuneHunter

    Fashionable NERDS abusing music industry and musicians at investor’s expense!
    There is no need for SoundCloud or Vevo. Streaming and Radio (including Pandora and Spotify) converted to music stores can deliver $100B music industry by 2020.

    Google is our only roadblock to prosperity – time for united effort for NEW FAIR USE DOCTRINE.

    • Anonymous


      a hundred billy, fair use doctrine? what are you seriously talking about?


      thank god for Google…

      • TuneHunter

        Sounds stupid but it is simpler than you think.
        We can convert Radio and streaming to normal digital music stores.
        All we need is conversion of all music ID services like Shazam, Google or lyrics ID from passers of music to freeloaders to cashiers of the business.
        Google is the main force intoxicated by ads keeping music in the open.
        We can educate Google how to switch from peanuts in ads to $50B King of $100B music industry or we will need new fair use act to force Google to civil behavior preventing theft of music and media in general.

        • Rob

          Mate I know Im a little late to the party but I think you are on to something. Will you shoot me an email when you get a chance I wanna hear more about this theory:



  3. Anonymous

    The title implies Soundcloud has some moral obligation to pay “its artists”. Am I missing something? Genuinely looking for an answer here.

    • Versus

      The title might instead imply that there has been pressure on SoundCloud to provide a paying option.

  4. Willis

    Not holding my breath on this one. Gotta see it to believe it.

  5. Ravini

    Don’t understand the snarky innuendo here about artists getting paid (finally). Soundcloud, for all of its perceived faults (and there are a few), was an ideal platform that allowed artists to upload and then share, via simple embedding, their music — for free. No pesky/annoying advertising. Now that’s gone. And that’s a good thing?

    • John Matarazzo

      I don’t get it. I thought SoundCloud was simply a FREE storage locker where you could upload and make your recordings available to interested third parties.

      • dude

        I was hoping against hope they wouldnt cave to this bullshit being that they’re a file storage locker not a streaming service, but I guess Im not that surprised… RIP Soundcloud

  6. George Johnson

    Too bad you have to pay Soundcloud a monthly fee for them to pay you to use your music. Ha. More music germs and phony altruists who only look out for their own self-interests, but they care more than your average human, so it’s ok. Plus, I’m sure they are really “nice guys” like that “musician” who started Pandora.

    • GGG

      Put your shit on Bandcamp instead of Soundcloud. Amazing how choice works.

  7. Anonymous

    In other news, Apple must pay musicians for allowing them to use Logic Pro.

  8. Grimm560

    I am using Soundcloud but I am going to leave the platform. I had no problem letting users listen to my music for free. Paying to upgrade meant having more time and better analytics to see how my music was doing. Thats how it was for everyone and no one really complained.

    When I started to see major artists and hear commercial music on Soundcloud that was uploaded by their labels with the same end user agreement that everyone was subjected to, I realized then that it was only a matter of time before Soundcloud would feel the pressure from the majors to start paying them as their music gain more plays and interactions. Think about this, the labels have been using this tactic for years. They also use companies that inflate their interactive data.

    Tell the commercial media industry to kick rocks and stop using the DMCA as a weapon when they already agreed to the same TOS that I agreed to years back. I could have done the same thing to a ton of other sites but I didn’t because I saw the potential for that site to give me more. I get tired of moving on to other platforms.