Last year, Spotify took a stake in music distribution service DistroKid. Apple acquired Platoon. And today, SoundCloud announced it’s adding its own music distribution tools to its premium accounts aimed at artists, SoundCloud Pro and SoundCloud Pro Unlimited. With SoundCloud Premier distribution, artists can upload their tracks to all major music services, including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Tencent, YouTube Music and even Instagram, directly from SoundCloud.
The service, which is now launching into beta, is available at no extra cost to existing premium account holders.
The company notes this is the first distribution tool built directly into a streaming platform, but that’s not likely to remain the case for long. When Spotify invested in DistroKid in October 2018, it said that it would soon roll out a tool that would allow musicians to upload their tracks to the service through the Spotify for Artists platform. And Apple’s acquisition of Platoon seems to indicate the company wants to go in a similar direction in terms of offering more tools and services to artists.
However, SoundCloud touts the benefits of its own Premier distribution service as a means of centralizing artist payouts, from all music services — itself included. Via SoundCloud Premier, artists can monetize their music through a revenue-sharing program. With the distribution service, artists can now publish their tracks more broadly — and SoundCloud says it doesn’t take a cut of the payouts from the other services.
In addition, the company highlights the tool’s feature set, noting how it allows artists to make changes and correct mistakes on the fly, rather than having to go through customer service as on some other distribution services. It even offers to help artists currently using alternatives like DistroKid or TuneCore to switch over, so they don’t lose their stats.
The new distribution tool is rolling out to eligible Pro ($6/mo) and Pro Unlimited ($12/mo) subscribers who are 18 years of age or older, creators of original music and have zero copyright strikes and at least 1,000 monetizable track plays, the company says.
Creators will be notified by email and in-product notifications when the tool becomes available to them.
SoundCloud had once aimed to compete on the same playing field as streaming music giants like Apple Music and Spotify, but may be waking up to the fact that it can offer more value by investing in tools that artists need.
It wouldn’t be the first company to make this sort of shift either. In the video space, Vimeo once aimed to compete with YouTube, before changing its focus entirely to become a hub for tools for video creators. That pivot has paid off for Vimeo — this month, parent company IAC noted Vimeo saw a 28 percent increase in revenue during the past quarter.
SoundCloud, however, has progressed slowly, including on monetization and other changes — allowing competitors to catch up or surpass its own offerings. That could be the case with music distribution, too, as Spotify’s soon-to-launch tools could outdo SoundCloud’s in the near future.