(AllHipHop News) Much of the current "Streaming Wars" discussion has centered around Spotify, Apple, Google, and Tidal, but SoundCloud is another major player in the game making moves to ensure support from music fans and artists. As many of the other services battle over involvement from platinum selling entertainers, SoundCloud is showing support to international independent artists.
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The Berlin-based company has announced digital rights agency Merlin has joined SoundCloud's Premier Partners program. Merlin represents over 20,000 indie labels and distributors across 40 countries. Merlin’s membership represents the most valuable set of rights outside of those controlled by the three major labels - approximately 10% of the global digital market.
“The independent label community has long embraced SoundCloud as an innovative marketing and discovery platform, and Merlin is pleased to partner with the service at the next exciting stage of its evolution," states Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin. "Our deal significantly extends this existing relationship, and ensures Merlin members can participate fully in the long-term value of SoundCloud's future.”
The new deal means Merlin members have access to promotional and commercial opportunities through SoundCloud. Musicians will also have the opportunity to be compensated for the use of their artistic content uploaded to the platform. The agreement also covers SoundCloud’s upcoming subscription service due to launch later this year.
“I’m excited to announce our largest independent label partnership to date with Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector, says SoundCloud founder and CEO Alexander Ljung. "Independent creators have always been at the core of SoundCloud and with this partnership we’re thrilled to extend new revenue generating opportunities to thousands of independent labels.”
Since SoundCloud launched its Premier Partners last August, more than 100 new partners have signed on. In March, the site reported to have paid over $1 million in advertising revenue to labels, audio partners, and emerging artists.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Megan West, Director of Content Relations at SoundCloud, earlier this year. She spoke about the service's Premier Partners program.
“[Premier Partners is] our opportunity – as we continue to evolve the platform – to be able to develop a meaningful advertising business that really creates a benefit for everyone in our ecosystem. At this point, we’re really at the beginning stage with the launch in the fall of last year,” explained West. “It definitely brings benefits to us and our content creators. It’s also making Soundcloud sustainable long-term.”
SoundCloud has a worldwide reach of over 300 million people and topped 175 million unique monthly listeners in 2014. The company reportedly raised $150 million in new financing and earned a valuation close to $1.2 billion at the end of 2014. SoundCloud is currently ranked number three on the Apple App Store music chart behind Pandora and Spotify.