We've written that 2015 is the year that Soundcloud needs to properly monetize its content or face serious blowback from both labels and investors. While still missing 2 majors, Soundcloud's plans took a significant step forward today.
Soundcloud has announced an important On Soundcloud Premier Partner deal with independent music licensor Merlin. An expansion of an existing partnership, the deal extends Soundcloud's commercial, promotional and monetization opportunities to Merlin's 20,000 indie labels and distributors.
The agreement will also includes SoundCloud’s forthcoming subscription service due to launch in 2015.
With 175 million unique users a month, SoundCloud has signed up about 100 Premier Partners including Warner Music. But Universal and Sony have not yet signed on. Recently, Sony Music pulled some of its top artists, after reportedly reaching an impasse in negotiations.
Today's Merlin deal includes many of the biggest indies including Beggars Group, Domino, Secretly Group, Epitaph, Ninja Tune, PIAS, Warp Records, Armada Music and Kontor Records. Merlin member represent in excess of 10% of the global digital music market.