Has SoundCloud promised too little too late?

Online audio distribution platform and music sharing website SoundCloud has announced their new payout model geared towards paying independent artists more equitably. With SoundCloud’s new fan-powered royalties, money made from “dedicated fans” goes directly to the artist. SoundCloud has labelled this new model as “game-changing”, however, it is difficult to see how. While this feature promises to connect a stronger bridge between artists and their fans, it fails to address itself, and that is the question of how SoundCloud is providing equity through sharing with artists the wealth it has amassed off of their creations?

With over 76 million current users (and a further 175 million unique drop-ins) I think it would be fair to say that Mr Weissman (current CEO as of 2021) and co-founder Alexander Ljing, are coining it. Since its conception in 2007, and with ever cherubic beginnings, it promised online audio distribution and music sharing for all. The platform was set to provide hope for upcoming artists to showcase their artistic offerings and with the promise of powerful connections to an aural audience, worldwide. There was a fresh feel to it that seemed to divorce itself from the trends of the music industry at the time of its birth, mainly relating to incessant monetization of creative practice. In its infancy, it held out a sparkly promise to musicians and avid ears, of a network community solely committed to a connection back to the creative. A philosophy of accessibility for fans and musicians alike.

At some point though, the infant grew, and some might say rather grotesquely. Since its move toward monetization in 2016, it seems to have lost its promise of equitable artistic provisions and has long since been biting off the artistic hands which have been feeding it. It’s no secret that SoundCloud in the past has not been great with monetarily compensating the darlings of its flushed enterprise. Not in an entirely fair fashion, anyway. It’s previous payment model saw artists receiving a meagre offering of around $2.50 per 1000 plays. Keep in mind that as of 2021, the brand of SoundCloud is worth an estimated $800 mіllіоn! Yet despite the wealth, this brand has amassed, for many years it has been clutching its toys, leaving the artists outside of its financially flourishing playpen. 

SoundCloud has announced the new fan-powered royalties feature to come into effect on 1st April 2020. Is the joke on us?