Madeon and Ultra Music speak out about SoundCloud



In its short history, SoundCloud has become an important distribution channel and community for electronic-music artists in particular. Its moves towards making money and striking commercial licensing deals with labels are drawing a variety of reactions from that sector though, as shown by the publicly-expressed views of two dance figures yesterday.

Artist Madeon took to Twitter to praise SoundCloud and criticise his label Sony Music over the latter’s decision to start pulling its catalogue from the streaming service – including the music that he has uploaded. “Thank you SoundCloud for being such a great discovery platform over the past five years. Well done Sony for holding your own artists hostage,” he tweeted.

“Lots of love for my label Columbia of course, they’re great. Less love for Sony Corporate’s disconnected-from-reality strategy.” In response to a tweeted question about whether Sony’s strategy failed to understand the importance of SoundCloud to electronic music in particular, Madeon agreed. “I think that’s very accurate, and I think there is also a lot of bad faith. I think they know what they’re doing.”

Sony has cited a “lack of monetisation opportunities” on SoundCloud as well as a breakdown in licensing negotiations as its reasons for pulling catalogue, but more comments came yesterday from one of its dance-focused subsidiaries: Ultra Music and its boss Patrick Moxey, who was speaking at the IMS conference in Ibiza.

“I think that SoundCloud is fantastic because there 100,000 creators uploading new music to [the platform] every night, but what do they pay artists and writers right now? Little to nothing. Will they pay anybody anything in the near future? Not really,” said Moxey, according to Music Week.

“What electronic artists are going to get out of SoundCloud financially in the next few years is close to nothing. Once you realise that then you’ll realise that you do have to protect the guys that are trying to pay the artists and the labels.”

This is not just a Sony view: at the recent AIM Music Connected conference, several independent labels expressed similar sentiments: an appreciation for the community that SoundCloud has built, but a desire to drive more listening to royalty-paying services like Spotify.

Artists – Madeon and others – are caught up in the crossfire of all this. Our hope remains a resolution that will see SoundCloud thriving as a fully-licensed service – and balancing the demands of the major labels with its still-considerable potential for emerging artists and independent labels.

Written by: Stuart Dredge