Today we welcome a significant addition to our roster of On SoundCloud Premier Partners: Merlin. When we started SoundCloud in 2007, one of our chief priorities then, as it remains today, was championing independent artists. The indie community has always been at the heart of SoundCloud, and our deal with Merlin is another way for us to further support the independent community by opening a new source of revenue for them.
As we announced back in March this year, On SoundCloud now has over 100 partners, ranging from bigger labels to emerging independent artists. We’ve continued to bring more partners on board and, from today, the 20,000 independent record labels and distributors who make up Merlin’s worldwide network will be able to join On SoundCloud and select the tracks they want to make available for inclusion. Some of the labels and distributors who have joined today include Beggars Group, Domino, Secretly Group, Epitaph, PIAS, Warp Records, Armada Music, Ninja Tune, Kontor Records and many more.
In just the last month, more than 10 million creators were heard on SoundCloud – helping us to reach a milestone of 100 million tracks uploaded. And for our 175m monthly SoundCloud users, today’s announcement means you should expect to have more opportunities to connect with Merlin’s vast roster of indie labels and artists. You’ll also be able to discover and listen to more new tracks from the best independent label creators on the planet, safe in the knowledge they’ll now have the opportunity to get paid while you listen.
It’s been six months since we launched the On SoundCloud partner program, and it feels like a good time to look back at how far we’ve come. Through On SoundCloud we’ve been able to better support creators as they take the next steps in their careers, adding the Premier Partner level to begin to give people the opportunity to make money from the tracks that they share on SoundCloud.
Since the launch last August, things have been growing fast. We’ve signed up over 100 Premier Partners and paid over $1 million in advertising revenue to partners including labels, audio partners and emerging artists.
There are all kinds of success stories to share. On SoundCloud has led to the creation of native advertising opportunities with emerging artists and brands. With an exclusive track sponsored by Jaguar, London-based downtempo producer Sizzlebird got 1.3 million plays and doubled his followers in three weeks. In December, Green Label Sound launched the Open Call competition on the platform and in February Kelechi was announced as the grand prize winner. Also in December, Microsoft teamed up with Jacques Greene to release an exclusive remix of “No Excuse” (one of his most well-known tracks), by Swedish producer Yung Gud — it got nearly 800,000 plays in just 18 days.
We’ve also seen independent artists like Romiti, Blackbear and Xavier Wulf rise to the top of the Premier Partner pack in terms of people listening to their tracks. Labels are benefiting from On SoundCloud, too, by using it to discover new artists and audiences.
On the audio side, On SoundCloud has opened up many new avenues. For multi-channel networks like Fullscreen, Collective Digital Studio and Maker Studios (the labels of the audio world), SoundCloud offers an entirely new monetization channel for top and emerging talent. For example: using On SoundCloud, comedian Shane Dawson has seen his SoundCloud podcast Shane and Friends become a significant source of revenue. Epic Rap Battles of History is also now using SoundCloud to monetize content.
What’s coming up? We got started with On SoundCloud in the US, but we’re aiming to begin bringing it to new territories later this year — stay tuned. We’ll also continue to add more Premier Partners as we go. We’re looking forward to the next steps of the On SoundCloud journey — and to having you along for the ride.
Here’s some more detail about On SoundCloud, our new creator partner program. Here’s the full breakdown.
On SoundCloud has three tiers: Partner, Pro and Premier.
The Partner tier is for you if you’re just getting started: it’s free and easy to join the community, share your first track, receive feedback and get basic stats.
The Pro Partner level is a paid offering if you’re ready to take the next step On SoundCloud. Pros get more upload time, advanced tools, features like Spotlight and detailed stats. As an added benefit, at the Partner and Pro levels, we’ve increased upload time by 50% — you’ll get it automatically if you already have a Pro or free account.
At the Premier partner level, creators will have the opportunity to make money from their tracks through advertising. It also includes Pro features and more benefits. At launch, entry to the Premier tier is by invitation. Monetization occurs only on content when it’s played in the US. We’ll open up the program to more creators and more countries as fast as we can.
The introduction of advertising is an important step for creators. Every time you see or hear an ad, an artist gets paid. If you’re in the US, you’ll start to experience occasional ads from our brand partners. We’re bringing ads on gradually. In addition to supporting creators, ads will keep the service free and open for people to listen to SoundCloud. Audio ads will only be served on the content of Premier Partners with their explicit consent. If you have a Free, Pro or Pro Unlimited account, you will not have any audio ads placed on your tracks.
Creators have been at the heart of SoundCloud from the beginning. As we continue to develop our creator partner program we will bring you more tools, support, offerings and opportunities. We can’t wait to hear what you create On SoundCloud!