One of the pioneering platforms in the music streaming industry, SoundCloud has come under scrutiny more than once when it comes to payments to artists. With a unique ecosystem that nurtures new talent, many artists flock to SoundCloud to share their music.
Unlike major streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, SoundCloud doesn’t operate on a subscription-based model. Instead, it offers a combination of free and paid options, allowing users to download, share and listen to music without any financial barriers. While this approach has undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of SoundCloud and served as a springboard for countless artists, it has also created a complex payment settlement network.
SoundCloud’s revenue primarily comes from advertising and its premium subscription service, SoundCloud Go+. The revenue generated is then distributed to the artists based on a number of factors, including the number of streams, listener location, and the type of account the artist owns (free or premium). These variables make it difficult to accurately determine how much artists earn per stream on the platform.
SoundCloud uses a complex algorithm to calculate artist payouts, making it difficult to accurately estimate their potential earnings. The company does not reveal specific details about its payment model, which further obscures transparency and leaves artists in a state of uncertainty.
What’s more, unlike other major streaming platforms that have publicly announced their per-stream pricing, SoundCloud keeps this information private. While this lack of transparency may be frustrating for artists seeking fair compensation, it is also indicative of the complexity of SoundCloud’s payment system.
SoundCloud has long been renowned for its support of independent artists and emerging talent. The platform’s open door policy has allowed countless musicians to share their work with a global audience, often acting as a springboard to wider recognition. For these artists, the value of SoundCloud goes beyond monetary rewards, providing a space for creative expression and audience engagement.
In recent years, SoundCloud has come under fire from artists and industry professionals who feel the platform needs to do more to ensure fair payments. As the pressure builds, there is a growing call for more transparency and a standardized fee structure. However, implementing such changes can be challenging for a platform that has built its reputation on democratizing music distribution.
The question of how much SoundCloud pays per stream remains uncertain. While the platform offers an invaluable opportunity for artists to share their work and connect with listeners, the lack of transparency around payments to artists is a concern. As the music industry continues to grapple with issues of fair remuneration, it is imperative that platforms like SoundCloud strive for more transparency and fairness in order to support artists who contribute to their success. By addressing these issues directly, SoundCloud has the opportunity to redefine artist compensation standards and solidify its position as a leader in empowering new digital music talent.