SoundCloud is about to implement advertisements into its service. The announcement was made last week on the company’s blog that a new service, called “On SoundCloud,” will enable users to allow banner audio ads to play before their tracks.
Users, whom SoundCloud dubs “creator partners,” will have a $15/month premier membership in order to see revenue from the ads. As of now, only a select group of users will have the opportunity to implement the ads with plans to expand that option to a general user base down the road. According to SoundCloud, no ads will appear without a user’s consent.
Similar to Youtube, users who draw in larger audiences can expect better revenues from the ad service.
The move towards ad revenue has been viewed by some as an effort to appease labels who have, up until now, been unable to find a way to monetize popular tracks through SoundCloud’s millions of listeners.
As to be expected, the move is met with mixed reviews from artists who have long viewed SoundCloud as an indie haven, free from the sway of big labels. Artists and fans have taken to Twitter in the past few days to voice their disillusionment.
An ad-free subscription service is also planned for release in the next few months.
SoundCloud has already been in hot water recently for dropping several key features for artists in its iPhone app update and for allowing big labels to remove users content indiscriminately for “copyright claims.” For some artists the new ads represent another disappointing move away from what made SoundCloud so appealing in the first place. For other artists, the new ad revenues could prove to be very lucrative.
Whether you like the coming changes or not, one thing’s for certain: the world's most popular site for indie artists to share and discover music will likely never be the same.