In a recent interview with Music Week, SoundCloud’s chief business officer Jeff Toig revealed that “its journey to monetisation for creators was always part of its business plan.” SoundCloud recently announced plans to roll out ads and drew quick and sharp criticisms from users and content creators alike. However, Toig said that it was a part of the model from the very beginning.
“Building a company takes time and SoundCloud has been built in three phases,” Toig explained to Music Week. “Firstly, we wanted to build tools for creators. Secondly, we wanted to help artists build a huge audience through our service. Now we’re taking the third step – enabling creators to make money through the platform.”
It is understandable that a company would desire to increase profits, or even aid its users in making money of their own. What I might take issue with is the way in which this whole idea came to light. To my knowledge, SoundCloud never mentioned anything about ads or monetisation until it was already happening — which is completely within their rights, don’t get me wrong. But SoundCloud has become such an integral part of electronic music, I feel a little betrayed.
Their new service “On SoundCloud” hopes to serve in making its users money, but it will likely just be bait for advertisers and large labels. Already, 20 content partners are said to have signed up including Red Bull, Jaguar and Comedy Central, of which the latter two have very little to do with music at all. Although On SoundCloud is currently only available in the Unites States, Toig said, “We’re working to aggressively roll out the On SoundCloud Premier tier to more creators. Ultimately, we want all creators to have the opportunity to make money through the platform and we’ll be working to expand the programme globally over time.”