SoundCloud announced today that it is adding distribution to its self-monetization Premier program. Those who are eligible in the open beta will now be able to self-upload, monetize, and publish their songs to other streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora for no additional cost — all from within SoundCloud. Notably, SoundCloud says those who use its distribution service will keep “100 percent of their distribution royalties from third-party services.”
To be eligible, users must have a SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited account, have original music (or own all the rights for applicable music), be 18 years old or age of majority in their country, have no copyright strikes, and have at least 1,000 plays in the past month from countries where SoundCloud monetizes.
Although distribution is offered as part and parcel of SoundCloud’s Premier program, this doesn’t necessarily make it a free service. The cheaper SoundCloud Pro tier costs $72 annually, and it only allows you to distribute one release to all major services. Pro Unlimited costs $144 annually, and it allows for unlimited distribution. Depending on how extensively you use the platform, this could actually make it a more expensive option than competitors like CD Baby, which starts at $29 per album, and Distrokid, which is $19.99 a year with unlimited distribution. Spotify took a minor stake in Distrokid last fall, allowing artists in its beta self-monetization program to self-upload for free and then self-distribute through the Spotify for Artists dashboard.
Premier user Sweeps sent The Verge screenshots of what the SoundCloud distribution process looks like for those that are eligible. Primary outlets that can be selected include Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer, Facebook and Instagram (for their audio libraries), the Google Play Store, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and Napster (“and all other current and future services”). Songs must be submitted in WAV or FLAC format, and there’s a form to fill out for identifying information like release title, primary artist, genre, and album artwork. You can then immediately submit for distribution, or schedule distribution for a later time. SoundCloud will give you an estimated date for when your material will be live on the platforms you select.
SoundCloud first made its self-monetization program public last October, and following a report from The Verge that pointed out its unfair terms, it rewrote the agreement. The Verge has obtained a copy of SoundCloud’s new self-distribution contract and found it to be agreeable. SoundCloud says users who are eligible to self-distribute will be notified via email and on SoundCloud beginning today.