Terms & Conditions: SoundCloud keeps your music yours

Terms and conditions: SoundCloud

If you have a band or podcast, you had better be on SoundCloud – because that’s where people are looking to discover new music and artists. In the five years since its launch, SoundCloud has solidified its spot as a leading audio-distribution service thanks to its simple listening and uploading functionality, easy sharing and embedding of tracks, and unique commenting system.

As we saw with the short-lived Instagram debacle, however, terms of service matter, especially when you’re handing over your intellectual property to a company. So how does SoundCloud handle copyright issues and user content ownership? Let’s take a look.

Terms of Use

Looking at SoundCloud’s overall terms of use, the document does exactly what we like to see here at T&C: Summarizing. It’s simply the right thing to do, to help ensure that users know what they are getting themselves into by using the service. And it’s especially the right thing to do because SoundCloud’s full terms rival the verbosity of War and Peace. Fortunately, they are also written in natural language, so you don’t need to pass the Bar to know what the heck SoundCloud is talking about.

As far as what the terms say, well, it’s all darn good – just the kind of user rights and protections we should celebrate, because they are so rare. Here are the key things you need to know about SoundCloud’s terms of use.

Your account is your account

As with most companies, SoundCloud makes it your responsibility to keep your account login credentials a secret. Unlike other companies (*cough* Facebook *cough*), SoundCloud makes it easy to delete you account, should you choose to do so. If you do, all of your uploads and most other account will be “irretrievably deleted by SoundCloud.”

List all the rules!

SoundCloud has a ton of rules – 19, to be exact – all of which you can see here. But here are the ones I would guess most people are likely to break: No uploading content that you don’t own. No buying or automating plays on your content to make it look like you have more fans than you do. No posting any “offensive” content (as determined by SoundCloud). And no ripping songs off of SoundCloud. Break the rules, and SoundCloud may delete your account.

This is especially true of copyright violations. SoundCloud repeats how serious it is about copyright through its terms. And it warns users that you could get sued by rightful copyright owners if you repeatedly infringe on copyright. So stick to your own music, will you?

Own it

This is perhaps the most important provision in the entire SoundCloud terms: You retain ownership of everything you upload to SoundCloud. And “SoundCloud does not claim any ownership rights in Your Content.” This is exactly as it should be – well done, SoundCloud. Well done, indeed.

Keep in mind that you are, however, giving SoundCloud a “limited, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid up, licence” to other SoundCloud users, which basically lets them play and share your tracks – which is the point, right?

Meet up at your own risk

One provision that is particularly unusual – but maybe it shouldn’t be! – is SoundCloud’s waiver of responsibility for SoundCloud community meet-ups. Basically, if you go to a meet-up that’s centered around SoundCloud, and something bad happens, SoundCloud excludes itself from all liability.

Conclusion

While SoundCloud’s terms are particularly long, they are some of the best I’ve come across so far. So head’s up, other companies: If you’re going to have a long, complicated terms of service, copy SoundCloud.

Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here’s how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Mobile

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Music

A wealth of rich tunes: Cash in with the best songs about money

There may not be as many songs about money as there are songs about love, but it's a close second. If you're looking for a skrilla-inspired playlist, check out our picks for the best songs about money.
Home Theater

Mobile masters: Tidal’s better-than-CD MQA tracks come to Android

Audiophile-grade music tracks and streaming music services don't come together very often, and when they do, it's not always easy to find a device that plays them. That's no longer the case as Tidal's MQA tracks now work on Android.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2018 cram tons of music into a small package

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? Don't sweat it. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? No worries. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Home Theater

Future Apple AirPods may use pressure sensors to tune sounds to your ears

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Music

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much is Spotify Premium going to cost you, you will want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Mobile

Music junkie? Here are the 24 best music apps for consuming and creating tunes

We rummaged through the iOS and Android app stores to find the finest mobile music-creation and music-consumption apps in existence. No matter if you're on Android or iOS, here are the best music apps.
Home Theater

Mobile audio gets an upgrade thanks to new Sonarworks apps

Sonarworks is used by audio engineers around the world to get more accurate sound from their headphones. Today, the company launched Android and iOS apps for the same ability on mobile devices.
Music

The best new music this week: Angelo De Augustine and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: New albums from Angelo De Augustine and Miss Grit.