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Is Soundcloud about to place serious restrictions on DJ mixes? Sources say yes

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Music service Soundcloud made a name for itself by becoming the de facto site for DJ mixes. That will soon change, as new restrictions are likely to be put in place soon that would all but ban them from the site.

Music news site Digital Music News quotes sources close to the service saying that “significant and serious limitations are on the way” that will permanently change how Soundcloud operates. While it is not clear how far they will go, DJ mixes would, at the least, need to be cleared first before they’re allowed on the site, the sources said.

The site had operated under the guise of DMCA protections to keep its service afloat. That said, revenue from subscription fees from DJs alone was not enough to keep it solvent, and Soundcloud faced the threat of suits from record labels before it made nice with the music industry.

Rather than raise prices on the DJs, it launched subscription service Soundcloud Go in March. It has also penned a number of licensing deals with three major labels. First came Warner Music in November 2014, later followed by Universal Music in January and then Sony in March.

As the deals were stuck, DJs found their mixes ripped down over copyright infringement with increasing regularity. Popular electronic DJ Morgan Page found his entire account deleted in late March (although it was later restored), and other lesser-known DJs have also been subject to takedowns.

An educated guess would point the finger at the labels and the terms set within these newly struck deals. While Soundcloud has become increasingly hostile to DJs over the past year or two, the number of DJs publicly voicing their displeasure with the service truly reached critical mass this year, with many leaving or choosing to post their content elsewhere first.

Rival services like Mixcloud have benefited from the exodus, although it’s unclear how long those services will be able to escape a similar fate. Mixcloud has been very successful in striking deals with terms favorable to its business strategy — any uploader is protected from copyright infringement there — but other smaller services have not, making for an uncertain future.

Another option for DJs might be Apple and iTunes podcasts, which so far have escaped pressure from the labels to monitor musical content. However, podcasts seemingly have fallen out of favor, especially with Apple now focusing on its Apple Music subscription service.

It’s unknown when Soundcloud plans to implement the new stricter mix policies. Digital Music News noted that other sources close to the service refused to comment, and Soundcloud itself did not respond to requests for comment. In either case, it is only another blow to what once was one of the most popular streaming music services on the web.

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Ed Oswald
For fifteen years, Ed has written about the latest and greatest in gadgets and technology trends. At Digital Trends, he's…
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