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SoundCloud confirms its deal with Sony Music, paving the way for its subscription service’s launch

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Gillmor Gang LIVE 03.18.16

Streaming music service SoundCloud today announced that it has finalized a deal with Sony Music, confirming reports from earlier this week citing sources who claimed the deal had finally been done. The deal will increase the number of songs listeners can access via SoundCloud and will allow Sony Music Entertainment artists to make money off of their tracks hosted on SoundCloud’s service, the music startup says.

SoundCloud already had forged similar deals with other music publishers, including an agreement with Merlin – which represents some 20,000 indie labels – back in June, as well as a deal with Universal Music Group earlier this year. It also forged a deal with Warner Music back in 2014. Sony, however, is a notable addition, as the world’s largest music publisher. Sony had already ironed out agreements with rival music services like Spotify and Pandora, but not yet SoundCloud.

“With more than 110 million tracks on the platform, the addition of [Sony Music Entertainment]’s repertoire will make SoundCloud even move vast and diverse,” announced SoundCloud via its blog post this afternoon.

According to the company, Sony’s roster will “soon” be available to listeners, but it didn’t give an exact timeframe. (Sony, as you may recall, pulled its music from SoundCloud last year.)

Meanwhile, the company also touted what this means for SME artists, or those on affiliated and distributed labels like The Orchard and RED Distribution, saying that they’ll now be able to generate revenue via SoundCloud. These artists will have access to SoundCloud’s promotional tools as well, plus analysis and data to help them in building relationships with fans, the company noted.

Ahead of this deal, SoundCloud had been investing in more tools for creators on its platform, including SoundCloud Pulse, a dedicated app which allows them to share their sounds and tracks, interact with fans, and track their performance on SoundCloud’s network.

With the addition of Sony, SoundCloud is shaping up to be a more viable competitor in the world of music streaming services, as it can now say it has deals with all three major labels, and reaches a community of over 18 million artists.

This also paves the way for SoundCloud to introduce its subscription service – something the company has said would happen this year. 

Music Business Worldwide and others, including The Verge, leaked the deal on Thursday, ahead of the official confirmation, saying also that Sony will receive stock in SoundCloud and has been invited to participate in the startup’s next funding round. However, SoundCloud declined to comment at the time.