SoundCloud has reversed changes it announced last week to its free upload limits. The controversial changes were buried behind new features for the platform.
On December 4, SoundCloud announced it would bring lossless HD storage and downloads ‘to all.’ Hidden in the announcement was a change to free users’ SoundCloud upload limits.
“To make lossless HD file management free to all, starting December 9, our free upload limit will change from 3 hours of audio to 3 hours or 15 tracks.”
The new track restriction means most artists aren’t effectively able to use the full three-hour limit. For additional space, many SoundCloud free users would have to upgrade.
SoundCloud has been a launching platform for several superstar artists. Many free users felt the limitation could hinder their growth. One user even started a Change.org petition against the new policy, which quickly garnered support. A Reddit thread on the subject attracted over 12,000 upvotes.
“The average song length is around 3 minutes. This decision would restrict most artists to be able to upload only 45 minutes of content rather than 3 hours, seriously hindering their creativity.”
Even some music executives chimed in on the new policy changes. Eli Piccarreta, an A&R exec at Atlantic Records, was critical of the policy and how it could affect new artists going forward.
“Especially today — now three hours is often over 50 songs. I don’t want artists, especially new artists, to feel discouraged from creating SoundCloud accounts and uploading music.”
SoundCloud announced it would reverse the course in a new blog post.
“We’ve decided not to roll out the change to our free upload limits and will continue to refine our balance of free and paid offerings to make the platform as creative and accessible as possible while building a sustainable business,” the post reads.
For SoundCloud, the controversy follows a comeback from the brink. In 2017, SoundCloud laid off numerous employees and was thought to be close to bankruptcy. SoundCloud avoided that fate and was deemed financially healthy, but competitors like TikTok may ultimately outshine the platform for music discovery.