Exclusive: SoundCloud Preparing to Block all DJ Mixes

SoundCloud is now preparing to impose serious restrictions on the upload of all DJ mixes, according to a source with close knowledge of the company’s plans.

Please note that this is a developing and breaking story; please stay tuned for ongoing updates as we learn more.

As of Monday morning, it remains unclear exactly what these restrictions will entail, only that significant and serious limitations are on the way.  That said, the restrictions could include a complete block on all DJ mixes that are not fully cleared, a decision that would impact an extremely large percentage of tracks.



Already, SoundCloud has been wreaking havoc on DJ accounts, with high-profile artists routinely finding their accounts ripped down based on copyright concerns.  In some cases, these teardowns are questionable, though DJs rarely have a voice in the matter.

Problematic indeed, but instead of resolving those concerns, recently-inked deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment seem to be intensifying the level of policing happening on the site.   “I don’t think the DJs are going to be happy,” the source relayed to Digital Music News last week.  “Probably piss off a lot of subscribers too.”

Those ‘subscribers’ belong to Go, a paid-only platform that launched in the US in March, and just recently expanded into the UK.  At present, SoundCloud has yet to disclose its paid subscriber numbers, though industry expectations are low given the long-running, gratis nature of the site.  Either way, early adopters of ‘Go’ are undoubtedly more sensitive to content gaps, given that they are paying.

At present, SoundCloud boasts 185 million active users, with DMCA protections traditionally enabling a free-for-all on content licensing.  That party now appears over, with major labels partnering instead of suing but clearly imposing major restrictions on the site.

Meanwhile, DJs big and small appear to be migrating towards less-regulated environments, a migration that could become an all-out exodus if upcoming restrictions are put in place.  Rival sites like MixCloud have been benefiting enormously from SoundCloud’s tightening restrictions, with high-profile DJs also pushing more content into iTunes Podcasts as well.  That raises another major concern, though Apple is understood to have received very little pressure from rights owners to monitor content on its podcasts.

It should be noted that this information comes to Digital Music News from a single source, with other contacts connected to SoundCloud unable (or unwilling) to corroborate the information.  But this same source accurately tipped DMN on SoundCloud’s recent Sony Music tie-up as well as its launch of premium subscription service, Go, both within about 10 days of their respective announcements.  So, it’s safe to say we’re taking this individual pretty seriously at this stage.

DMN has not received any response from SoundCloud on the matter, specifically on an inquiry to communications executive Luke Geoghegan.  If that changes, we’ll let you know.


40 Responses

  1. Alex

    I really hope Soundcloud reconsiders this policy. I have almost 4 years of mixes and musical history on my Soundcloud account and it would be a shame to loose it.

    This pushed me to finally setup a Fanburst account and import all of my music. If anything happens to my Soundcloud account I will at least have a backup!

    • Rick Shaw

      And I’m sure you obtained the necessary rights to use the creative works of other artists, right?

      • lizzard

        shut up, your logic would have us pay for the “necessary rights” to breath air. no on owns music

    • faggot

      Download these mixes quick before the jews remove this art forever.

  2. Remi Swierczek

    SoundCloud has been established by unit-business nerds and should prepare itself to total shutdown! Nerd times in music NERDLAND are coming to the end!

    I hope, or we will continue to work hard on $15B streaming and advertising MARMALADE made of $200B of PREMIUM FRUITS!
    Wake-up UMG – the creator of music suicide – you are still the most influential NERD!

  3. rikki

    again will this include black peoples mixes…rap hip hop underground….we live in a very race conscious world today…so we have to be alert to these assaults, remember the RIAA never sued black people for downloading or distribution of stolen music.

    • Grg Smls

      I suppose my brothers tracks won’t get deleted because they are Asian, right?

    • L. Bart

      Seriously? This has nothing to do with skin color.

    • Universal Indie

      this idiot constantly post the same race based post all the time. Paul can you please do something about him? smfh

    • john smith

      don’t make this a race thing. I’m all for total equality, but this is not a race thing

    • mite Be

      I will say that black music has suffered greatly ever since sampling became the primary instrument of so many. Black people used to be the best instrumentalists on the planet, and many still are, and many still are the best vocalists, but try comparing Jay-Z or Lemonade-dealing wiggy to Sam Cooke, Jimi Hendrix, or Maurice White, or a thousand other black musicians of the 20th century, and you kind of start to see the problem with modern attitudes towards music-making and consumption in the BLACK community. BLAME YOSELF! Rapping and sampling is an approach to music writing that mostly results in garbage, period, end of story. DJ mixing is an even lower form than sampling. Pick up an instrument, face the work it takes to learn it, and start writing songs, and the results will be 1000x better than starting with samplers and turntables. Sorry, there are no shortcuts, and this is the gospel truth.

  4. plexus

    This makes perfect sense. music has value – it take a lot of time and work and gear to make and record music. it’s hard enough for musician to make any money with their music. all we have as musicians is the copyright ownership of our work. or, if we sold that to someone else, the other party owns it as an asset. DJs who use this kind of work in their own creations need to compensate the copyright owners, otherwise it’s asset theft. DJing is all fun and cool and everything but without a pay-out, it’s illegal. sorry to say.

    • squadward

      Man, who the hell is paying you to say this? Where I can I get in on those fat shill bucks?

      • Versus

        I’m a DJ and I agree with Plexus. DJs make their income based on the recorded music of others, who should also be compensated.

        So I long ago moved my mixes from SoundCloud to Mixcloud, which at least claims to pay the rights holders of the tracks in the mixes.

      • mite Be

        It sucks not having talent or true songwriting skills, doesnt it?

  5. Jamaal

    Dj’s are the reason ALOT of these songs blow up… Kill the Dj kill your exposure

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Agreed. Though strangely, despite all of the teardowns and issues, SC traffic has only been surging of late.

      • GGG

        What is “as of late” in this context? Just curious if you mean in the last few months, or over the last couple years. One act I work with who is really tuned into the DJ/electronic world has told me that many people (above total amateur level) have been slowly making a mass exodus away from SC for reasons like this, plus the obvious copyright crackdown.

        I do think a lot more non-DJ stuff is being thrown up because it’s an easy way to share music, especially your unreleased stuff with publicists, etc. So it’d be interesting if they’ve finally fully tapped into that market or my act is in a bubble that’s not representative of the DJ community as a whole, or what.

    • Versus

      No one is trying to “kill the DJ”.
      Nevertheless, DJs have to respect intellectual property rights as much as anyone else.

      (And the relationship goes both ways: a DJ is nothing without the songs she/he plays)

      (and I write this as both a DJ and music producer)

  6. TigerClaw

    That’s unfortunate, the DJs can use a service like http://globaldjmix.com/ as an alternative, it’s better then Mixcloud and it’s restrictions of not letting you rewind a DJ set.

  7. Versus

    Isn’t this a good move, in protecting the rights of musicians, producers, songwriters, etc?

    Although I would have hoped for a solution involving something like ContentID instead, a la MixCloud, where tracks are identified in the context of mixes and paid out for properly.

    • Paul Vega

      For the people who are very serious about their work, of course this is positive move for them.. I’ve seen music be plagiarized before on soundcloud and man is it FUN to read the backlash of that in the comment sections, people tend to overlook that fact the soundcloud is a community with a heavy ass foundation.. For those who have had this app long enough to see it go from a dynamic variety of GOOD music (underground) ( & yeah some songs just weren’t the best) to seeing top 100 artist and their promoted tracks everywhere gives me such a grimy feeling towards the producers of the app. The people who helped build the app can see that it is losing one of the few things that made it so lovable, which was the no big big brother vibe. Of course the app has always been regulated, but to an extent, just enough rules to make it feel properly regulated and chainless all at the same time (hard to duo to accomplish). Many people counting myself used this app to break away from all that mainstream BS and now before our eyes we’re seeing the “gentrification” of soundcloud. This is my opinion from simply using the app. I’ve read the articles about the new contracts and yeah logically, I understand, but we’re not idiots. We know the downfall of an app when we see it and we definitely know who the players are in this “renovation” and let’s just say that they don’t like sharing all the toys (profit) in the sandbox *Sony*… I’m sorry if what this articles is saying comes into play for all the Dj’s. You guys have no idea on how large of a role you play when it comes to exploration of music. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I were to list all the music that I discovered through simple remixes, bootlegs, and edits that I end up buying. If this is true, someone better sacrifice a virgin, throw them in an active volcano and pray to the gods for a new format that has the old soundclouds ways.

      • Paul Vega

        Excuse all the grammar errors and just go with it.

  8. mite Be

    GOOD! If you’re a ‘DJ’ (read, NOT a musician with hard-earned SKILLS), and you’re NOT producing your own material from scratch, but just mushing together other people’s hard-slaved over productions and recordings, you SUCK and you’re a HACK! BUH BYE!!!

  9. I am a Warrior

    Does this only apply to mediocre mainstream music? The underground doesn’t feel this way.

  10. Bring The Old DMN Back

    Can someone please clear this up? Hypebot is saying this is completely bogus: (http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2016/05/report-that-soundcloud-is-taking-down-us-dj-mixes-is-bogus.html). I disseminate your information across my company’s social media accounts because you’ve always been a reliable music news source (just like Hypebot).

    I’m not sure if you guys are having issues with them, your staff not checking sources, or what’s going on but I and all of your other readers NEED the correct information because otherwise when we share your information and it is, in fact, untrue we look like complete idiots who know nothing about the industry.

    What in the heck is going on with DMN and why all of a sudden are your articles either false or being attacked as such when they never were before? I need to know because I have always found you to be a reliable and reputable source but idk if I can trust that anymore. What I’m asking for are two things 1.) tell me what the real deal with this damn article is and 2.) why should anyone trust and keep promoting your content if this is going to continuously happen.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Thanks for your concerns on this. All I can say is that I defend this story, and ask you to simply wait for the events to unfold. DMN isn’t afraid to report on the edge of events, as they are unfolding; our mission is to inform the industry to the best of our ability, and not to withhold critical information. We are fulfilling our mission.

      Remember: SoundCloud is a big, hugely-financed company with a lot of investors and very tricky rights situations that affect this investment. They are going to do whatever they can to discredit this story. Or, in a political manner, respond selectively to one part of it or an irrelevant aspect of this. That’s how this works.

  11. wozza

    If this was to be the case this would seriously be an end for me and soundcloud after may years of use. edits and mixes are where i find some of the best tunes which i do actually go out and purchase, why would not want to, a mix is ok but lets face it when have you heard a mix and loved every single tune? just uploading a track thats straight from a tune i get, but mixes and edits/remixes are different. soundcloud has already been heavily policed and some remixes removed this could mean the end if its true. hopefully some other music loving person can do a new soundcloud and leave this policed site behind. farewell soundcloud

  12. LazenbyT

    Another DMN article which more reputable sources refute. Great journalism!
    “Last week the same site, Digital Music News, published a false story that iTunes has set a timetable to stop selling downloads via iTunes. A usually silent Apple quickly denied the article.”

  13. Jamaal

    There’s also http://Hearthis.At which I’ve been hesitant in migrating over to. Very Sound Cloudy of an app. All else fails….err…Band Camp? lol

  14. likesplays

    This is bad news for all DJ mixes. SoundCloud wants quality and unique uploads.