Some interesting rumblings out there this week surrounding the fact that SoundCloud has just got a wad of cash ($60 million from its latest round of funding), and what this could mean for copyrighted material on the platform.
We all know that back at its inception, there was a lot of copyrighted material tolerated on SoundCloud (typically in DJ mixes) but that nowadays much gets summarily removed, leaving the service as a stomping ground for amateur producers, the odd record label doing lame “excerpt”-style promotion, and occasionally stuff that still manages to stay under the radar.
But word from several sources suggests that SoundCloud might be looking to cut licensing deals with some of the major labels that at the moment request mixes containing their music be taken down, and using its cash reserves to fund this.
If this were to happen it would mean SoundCloud could start to more justifiably live up to its moniker as the “YouTube of audio”: YouTube certainly removes copyrighted material, but often cuts deals with labels to leave it there, and instead just slap ads on it, to the benefit of the labels; in this way YouTube is certainly more lax than SoundCloud about these things (unless you live in Germany, that is).
Were that to happen it would only be a good thing for DJs – although morally it would be an either/or with the download links (either upload your own material only, or forfeit the right for others to download your mix), but nonetheless SoundCloud’s audience dwarfs that of similar sites, so if it became possible once again for DJs to upload promo mixes to the service, and this time it were all legal and above board… well, I am sure many would welcome that with open arms.
We’ll have to see how this plays out, but things might be about to get interesting.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about whether SoundCloud will ever become a platform with the same legal basis as the likes of Mixcloud, where the licence allows to streaming of copyrighted material.