Some Thoughts on 'On Soundcloud'
The other day, Soundcloud announced how creators were going to be able to start earning some money from their music getting played 'on Soundcloud'. It will be rolled out as invite only at first (aka bigger name artists at first) and surprise, surprise… it involves advertisements. It's also not entirely clear —as the details on how things work / cost / payout have not been elaborated on— but I imagine these Premier Accounts would also come with a similar yearly fee as the Pro Accounts do, but I'm not sure on that.
There was also this particular sentence from Pitchfork's post on the topic that was a little bit concerning:
“Some labels are negotiating with SoundCloud for equity stakes in the company as quid pro quo for not suing the streaming service over previous copyright infringements.”
So it sounds like the future of Soundcloud (or at least the future of artists earning money on Soundcloud - any track that is not trying to monetize on Soundcloud will not have commercials at the front) is going to involve the involvement of advertisements and the interests of major labels. If only there was another way that artists could make money from their music.
Oh wait. Bandcamp.
Can't we all just stop messing about and just put all the music up on Bandcamp (and by “we all” I mean all you artists and label that are not making your music available on Bandcamp)? And then could everybody else please get back into the habit of buying music again? That sounds so much better than listening to ads or low streaming royalties or really just every other option that seems to get thrown out there that isn't:
Artist puts music on Bandcamp. Artist sets price themselves. Fans can listen to and buy (and a whole bunch more) from whatever country they happen to live in. Artist gets a better cut of sales than from anywhere else.
At the very least, how about everybody tries the 'Bandcamp' model for a year or two and see if it is a better option than the 'splitting a pie between the big artists and labels and platform provider while letting the smaller artists get by on the crumbs' model. And if it turns out that the 'Bandcamp' model is not better, then by all means, we can always go back to the crumby model.