Streaming services have been under a mistrustful spotlight lately, and for good reason. Fiscal business decisions have caused them to treat artists as a lifeless commodity, with several sites opting to adopt subscription services in an attempt to subdue the era of free streaming. With their monetization of “Premium” artists and absolutist takedowns of sampled content, including tracks that were “bootlegged,” SoundCloud has certainly held a place in the hot seat.
Now that seat may have unjustly caught fire. Soundcloud announced Tuesday that they will be implementing a limit of 15,000 plays on it’s API, or Application Programming Interface, per each 24 hour period. SoundCloud’s API is a way for different apps to communicate with the source (Soundcloud), which is a staple of sites like Hype Machine. Although this is a clever business decision – SoundCloud is basically forcing you to visit their website directly – the public reaction has already proved to be overwhelmingly negative; however this is largely due to misreporting by various music publications.
Several major publications have lead with blaring headlines claiming 24-hour stream restrictions will apply to embeds as well, however this is completely inaccurate. SoundCloud’s move to enforce API stream restrictions is simply an effort to control how their content is shared. Similar to YouTube‘s current enforcement, albeit on a smaller scale, SoundCloud wants listeners on their platform, viewing their ads. Clearly an attempt to boost revenue streams for SoundCloud itself, rather than lose clicks to platforms like Hype Machine, this is a smart business decision and undoubtedly one we can’t complain about.
The Next Web reached out to SoundCloud and received a prompt response clarifying the situation:
“SoundCloud got back to us — this limit only affects its API, not embedded streams. SoundCloud also says the change will affect a small number of Developers.”
Still, developers will have to scramble over the next few weeks to find an alternative solution as rather short notice was extended to the public. Read the full announcement here, and let us know what you think of this abrupt policy change below.