#MusicNews | Soundcloud to now act as a distributor

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Musicians have always been able to upload their tracks directly to SoundCloud without needing a distributor or label. Now the company is adding a new feature: distribution of those tracks to rival music-streaming services.

This is part of the SoundCloud Premier program, which has so far focused mainly on getting artists paid for usage of their music on SoundCloud itself. Now the company is offering to distribute that music on to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Tencent and Instagram, among other services.

SoundCloud has teamed up with distributor FUGA for the new feature, which is in open beta from today. “FUGA’s technology powers a portion of SoundCloud’s distribution setup,” explained a spokesperson, when Music Ally asked if any external partners were involved.

Caveats? It has to be original music (i.e. not covers or remixes) where the artist “owns or controls all applicable rights”. The artist also needs to be a SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited subscriber; be of adult age in their country; have no copyright strikes at the time of signing up; and have at least 1,000 plays of their music in the last month in countries where SoundCloud has subscriptions and ads up and running.

(That’s the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and New Zealand, at the time of writing.)

Artists won’t have to pay a flat fee to use the distribution feature – it’s part of their Pro or Pro Unlimited subscription –with SoundCloud saying they will retain 100% of their rights AND keep 100% of the royalties from their tracks distributed to those other streaming services.

This all aims to capitalise on the fact that a number of artists (the now-ubiquitous ‘SoundCloud rappers’ category included) have started their careers by uploading music to SoundCloud.

Adding distribution will keep them close to SoundCloud, and also give it a potentially-valuable insight into how their popularity is growing on other streaming services over time. What Spotify, Apple and co will think of a rival acting as a pipeline into their platforms remains to be seen.

SoundCloud has been testing the new feature with artists including Leaf, mobilegirl, Jevon and Thutmose. In quotes provided by SoundCloud alongside its announcement, their emphasis was on the ease of the process.

“It makes distribution an easy one-step process,” said Leaf. “No additional registration fee, and all at the simple reach of a button,” said mobilegirl. “The upload process is straightforward and simple,” added Jevon. You get the picture.