In July, Portishead became one of the most high-profile artists to test SoundCloud’s user-centric ‘fan-powered royalties’ system, with a cover of Abba’s ‘SOS’. So, they tried, but how has it carried on?
SoundCloud has been talking to Pitchfork about the release, claiming that (in Pitchfork’s paraphrasing of data shared by the streaming service) “in less than a month, ‘SOS’ earned more than six times the revenue it would have under a pro-rata model”.
An impressive-sounding stat, although clearly it would be much more useful to have the actual data – both on the revenues it generated and the modelling of what it might have made under a pro-rata model. SoundCloud is promising “full aggregation of market-live payout data is pending over the coming months”.
The track’s page on SoundCloud reveals it has been played just over 143k times so far. “I didn’t expect huge amounts of people to listen,” Portishead’s Geoff Barrow told Pitchfork. “It was more about getting the idea out that you could stream music and it could make money…. It’s the difference between being able to order a pizza and someone actually paying the rent.”