Does SoundCloud finally have its long-negotiated licensing deal with Universal Music. There were conflicting reports yesterday, with Music Business Worldwide claiming that the companies were “on the verge of confirming a landmark licensing deal”, but Billboard later suggesting that “negotiations are ongoing”. They have certainly been conducted in public as well as private, although Universal execs at the highest level have always stressed their desire to strike an agreement.
In October 2014, UMG boss Lucian Grainge told a Wall Street Journal conference that there was an “opportunity for SoundCloud to create incredible revenue” but warned that the company needed to prove that it could turn its large audience into a service that monetised well for rightsholders. Since then, SoundCloud has inked deals with Warner Music Group, the US National Music Publishers Association, and indie licensing agency Merlin. Now watch for speculation about what kind of equity stake UMG wants in SoundCloud, and whether bagging that deal would bring the streaming firm any closer to an agreement with remaining major Sony Music.