Apparently a Soundcloud subscription is coming to users in the near future, so that got us thinking: what does that mean for music blogging?
If you’re not aware, 99% of music posted from music blogs comes from Soundcloud, the current system works quite well for us. We get an abundance of legal music to post, and labels and artists get exposure. It’s not perfect, sure, but it kinda works; we get a little bit of ad money, and I mean a little, and artists get exposure and bookings off the back of that exposure.
But unfortunately, and most importantly, it doesn’t really work for Soundcloud, they’re not making any real money, and they’re in the firing line for being sued by major labels who are fed up of not getting any money for having their music on the service.
If Soundcloud splits its users into two groups paid and unpaid, then it could have huge ramifications for music sites, blogs and bloggers, and artists. If rumours are true, then Souncloud might be considering limiting how many streams and downloads users can get before they’re persuaded to pay to listen to more, according to Musically.
Get this balance wrong and Soundcloud could essentially kills itself off in one foul swoop. When it positions itself as an alternative to Apple Music or Spotify they’re no longer a hybrid social network that everyone uses, they’re a paid service that is competing with services that have a proven track record of generating money for artists, something Soundcloud doesn’t.
So where does that leave humble music blog? Well that’s million dollar question for us. Soundcloud’s pursuit of turning a decent profit could inadvertently kill off music blogs. First of all, people who listen to music via blogs aren’t going to want to pay. That’s a given, they’ll be driven to piracy, or to services that have better catalogues and better access and represent better value for money.
And that’s the problem there are no alternatives to Soundcloud. We’re essentially sleep walking into a very uncertain future, where music blogging slowly and painfully dies out. And you might think well that’s fine, everyone will be streaming music, and once that really takes off then there’s not really any need for blogs. And that’s fine if you want your playlists chocka-block full of tracks chosen by label-backed playlisting companies like Topsify. But then how does the next crop of artists break through? If there are no blogs then there even fewer ways for artists to break through, and then you’re stuck will the same old artists, with the same old music, from the same old labels. The current democratisation of music could be set back by years.
Music blogs at their core generally give artists chances where others don’t, we don’t care about likes, or how many followers you have, or what you look like – we’re simple folk who just listen to the music and if we like it, we post it. And if Soundcloud disappears into the ether like Myspace, then we all lose.