SoundCloud has revised its Premier agreement, which artists must sign before they can monetize their music on the platform, after receiving almost universal condemnation. Like a similar free service from Spotify, SoundCloud allows Premier artists to monetize their music without going through a distributor or aggregator.
But the SoundCloud Premier agreement drew criticism from multiple fronts.
In the original agreement, SoundCloud offered vague and restrictive terms, including ambiguous payment dates and percentages that could change at any time. Artists were also forced to sign away all rights to sue the company, leaving no options to contest the deal. Music attorney Jeff Becker, who reviewed the contract for The Verge, said it was “unusual, at best, for a platform to open their terms and conditions with a provision that requires the artist to entirely release it of all prior violations and infringements committed by that platform."
SoundCloud responded that the news coverage mischaracterized its Premier program. "While nothing changes in the way we operate the program, we’ve updated the original agreement to ensure it’s clear, and removed any language that may be unnecessary in the open service we have now," the streamer said in a statement. " This includes the removal of the outdated covenant not to sue language that was part of our previous invite-only agreement. We are a creator-first platform dedicated to building industry-leading products and services to help creators grow their careers."
Other clarifications from SoundCloud include:
- "You retain all of the rights to your content"
- "You receive a pro rata share of 55% of net revenue"
- "You are paid for each calendar month within 45 days of the end of that month, regardless of how much you earn"
- "You have the freedom to exit the program whenever you wish, and can always use any other platform alongside SoundCloud"
But Artists Still Have To Pay To Get Paid
The revised agreement still does not fix our biggest problem with SoundCloud Premier. To be eligible to recieve payments, artists still have to pay to between $6 and $16 per month to become a Soundcloud Pro or Pro Unlimited member before they are eligible to receive payments.