SoundCloud has introduced a new limit on how many songs third-party applications can play from its catalogue – a move that is already sparking complaints from developers who’ve been using the streaming service as a source for music.

“Beginning July 1, client applications will be limited to 15,000 play requests per 24 hour period,” explained Dean Hudson, senior manager, API at SoundCloud in a blog post.

It’s reminiscent of the time in 2012 when Twitter announced caps for third-party Twitter apps, although that was focused as much on setting limits for the number of users they could register.

According to Hudson, this is an attempt by SoundCloud to crack down on “an increasing number of applications that abuse creator content”, although he stressed that “only a small number of developers will be affected by this change, and we’ll be contacting them via email to ensure a smooth transition”.

There’s an interesting sentence later on in the post though: “In the coming months we’ll be introducing an application process for developers who’d like additional access.”

That indicates a recalibration of SoundCloud’s relationship with developers. For now, though, the new rate limit is certainly a move fraught with pitfalls for a company that has always prided itself on being the most open platform for streaming music. The comments under Hudson’s post hint at likely unrest to come.

“‘Developers are an important part of that ecosystem’ and that is why you only give us 15 days notice before you make a massive change. You do realise you put many developers in a crunch now,” wrote one angry commenter.

“So many blogs and music sites have spent time building over the top players that work with SoundCloud’s API and uses exactly what they are limiting,” wrote another. “I bet the move is to put in a revenue model to monetise SoundCloud plays in other sites,” speculated another developer.

Any change like this will attract some unhappiness, but in the coming days we’ll find out if these are isolated complaints or a bigger backlash.

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