There are a lot of places to listen to music for free online these days, and of all of them, SoundCloud is one of the hippest. It also seems to force ads on users a lot less than some of the other sites, like YouTube. Sony apparently has a problem with this.
Sony Music is reportedly pulling songs of many of its artists from SoundCloud due to “a lack of monetization opportunities,” according to Billboard. Artists whose music is being removed include Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Passion Pit, and Leon Bridges.
Essentially, Sony doesn’t feel that it is making enough money from its artists’ presence on SoundCloud to make it worthwhile. SoundCloud, on the other hand, says that it has already paid more than $2 million in ad revenue to over 100 partners through its On SoundCloud program.
Last year, SoundCloud signed a deal with Warner Music Group, making Warner the first company to be a part of the ad-supported On SoundCloud program. Since then SoundCloud has added over 100 partners to the program, including two other major labels. A SoundCloud spokesperson told Billboard that the company has paid more than $2 million in ad revenue to partners of the program so far.
“We are in ongoing conversations with major and independent labels and will continue to add partners to the program,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve always put control in the hands of creators, and anyone who makes music and audio can decide when and how they want to share it with fans, allowing artists to essentially broadcast out to the world the availability of new content.”
Even so, SoundCloud might be the first to admit that it needs to supplement its monetization strategies. Last month the company signed a deal with ZEFR, better known as the company behind Content ID, which pairs relevant ads with YouTube videos. Whether the partnership will work as well for SoundCloud as it has for YouTube remains to be seen.