This Is the Contract SoundCloud Is About to Sign With Music Publishers…

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SoundCloud has over 175 million unique users, 40 million of them registered, with over 12 hours of audio content uploaded every minute.

Which might explain why major labels and publishers are very serious about either (a) licensing SoundCloud legitimately; or (b) shutting down the free ride.

But major labels and publishers aren’t the only ones structuring agreements: independents are also jockeying for proper terms, and banding together to make sure they receive similar, equitable terms.  Which brings us to the following, near-complete agreement between independent music publishers and SoundCloud, complete with Most Favored Nations (MFN) stipulations to protect their cut.

This isn’t the final, signed contract, but it’s pretty close and slated for signatures this month.

The agreement includes advances to participating publishers, similar to advances being structured between major labels and Spotify but on a far smaller scale.  Those advances create some sticky potential issues with songwriters, including the possibility of not getting paid.

Why Direct Licensing Deals Won’t Benefit Songwriters…

These advances are smaller (around $350,000) and ‘recoupable,’ meaning that Soundcloud starts paying proper royalties after the advance watermark is met.

The SoundCloud music publishing agreement, brokered through the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), is happening alongside negotiations with major labels Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Universal Music Group, not to mention major publishers like Sony/ATV, Warner Chappell, and Universal Music Group Publishing.  It also includes a substantial ‘freemium’ component (ie, free content access instead of a hard paywall).

SoundCloud has indicated that it will definitely not be abandoning its free tier.


Pictured (top): Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Doug Morris (more about Morris here).

5 Responses

    • Not Me

      When you say “tl;dr” you’re saying, “I’d rather stay ignorant than make the effort to find out what’s going on.”

      • You

        Or “Me” doesn’t understand all the verbage and wordings used in the document because it’s difficult to fully understand/read everything that is mentioned in the document, and just wants to know what the main points of it are instead of reading 17 pages worth of things that he doesn’t understand.

  1. Ritzy

    I hate these damn label companies… i dont mind the indies, but come on another platform like spotify? sigh : <

  2. Bob

    The “Takedown Tool” paragraph is… interesting.