SoundCloud reaches licensing deal with Universal Music

DLD Conference 2012 - Day 2

SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung speaks during the Digital Life Design conference in Munich, Germany.

(Nadine Rupp / Getty Images)

SoundCloud, the popular online music service, has reached a licensing deal with Universal Music Group that will allow the record label giant to collect revenue from the streaming site. 

The agreement comes more than a year after SoundCloud reached a pact with Warner Music Group. SoundCloud, based in Berlin, since has made deals with Merlin, a digital rights agency that represents independent labels, and the National Music Publishers Association.

Universal Music is an especially important partner for SoundCloud because it represents such top artists as Sam Smith, Katy Perry and Kendrick Lamar. SoundCloud still doesn’t have a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, the only remaining holdout among the major labels. 

SoundCloud, sometimes described as the YouTube of audio, allows its users to upload tracks, including remixes and mash-ups of existing material. It has been embraced by artists such as Kanye West who have used the service to promote new music.


However, it has sometimes clashed with the music industry. Last summer, the British music publishing group PRS for Music sued SoundCloud for copyright infringement, but the case was settled.

Founded in 2008, SoundCloud says it has 175 million monthly listeners. The company added advertising to its service in 2014. In announcing the Universal Music deal, SoundCloud said it will begin to introduce subscription services in the U.S. and elsewhere later this year. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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