SoundCloud Strikes New Licensing Deal with Universal Music

Streaming music site SoundCloud will now have access to the Universal Music catalog, including songs from artists like The Weeknd, Sam Smith and U2. The licensing agreement allows Universal Music artists to make money from the advertising on SoundCloud when their songs are played. SoundCloud already has licensing agreements with other music companies, including Merlin and Warner Music Group. The company said it would also introduce a paid streaming subscription service this year.

This deal is another step toward improving relations with the music industry. SoundCloud lets people upload and stream music for free. From 2008 until 2014, the company did not pay any royalties to artists or publishers and it did not have licensing deals with any record companies. Then, in 2014, SoundCloud began to change its tune. It introduced advertising, paid $2 million in royalties, and began to strike licensing deals.

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With the addition of Universal Music, SoundCloud now has partnerships with most of the major music publishers. Warner Music Group, Merlin and the National Music Publishers Association have all reached agreements with SoundCloud. According to The New York Times, Soundcloud was able to reach an agreement with PRS for Music to end a copyright infringement suit. The music streaming site still has yet to snag Sony.

SoundCloud also announced that it will launch a paid subscription service this year. The company hasn’t released any details about the launch date or price. The new deal with Universal will give the music publisher the rights to release its music as it pleases, which may mean that some music will only be available to paid subscribers.