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Soundcloud Becomes a Distribution Platform: How Emerging Artists can now Upload Content to Spotify and Apple Music

WRSU Spotify and Apple Music
Chance the Rapper | Creative Commons

Soundcloud has upgraded its distribution feature to “seamlessly” allow users to release content to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.

By having a subscription to either Soundcloud Pro or Pro Unlimited, users have access to Soundcloud Premier, which contains this new feature. Through this new open beta, users can distribute their content from their Soundcloud account and earn profits based on their popularity on each platform.

This new monetized system creates a revolutionary approach as Soundcloud will not take any profit from the earnings an artist makes through these other platforms. Soundcloud CEO Kerry Trainor explained how he wanted to create a “unified platform” in which artists can “instantly upload and share, connect with fans in real-time and get paid for their work everywhere.”

In creating a simplified distribution channel for artists, Trainor wants to make Soundcloud a breeding ground for new talent. Artists now have the freedom to distribute their work and Soundcloud gives these unsigned free agents the opportunity to showcase their ability in a public sphere.  

Soundcloud’s music catalog stretched to over 200 million tracks attributed to 20 million creators from as many as 190 countries. While this wide array of talent may seem daunting for unknown artists, this new system allows for a larger reach to the masses. Recent success by artists who have used Soundcloud also speaks to the platforms capability to attract fans.  

It’s been nearly six years since Chance the Rapper changed the music business through the massive success of his second mixtape Acid Rap. Without any major label involvement, the now Grammy Award winning rapper challenged the landscape of music distribution through his decision of remaining independent.

His success led to the flurry of Soundcloud rappers who achieved some fame or notoriety for their similar approach to independent distribution. While artists such as Lil Pump may not have the critical success that Chance garnered so quickly, they remain highly popular and among Soundcloud’s highest streamed acts.

Through monopolizing the system that breeds talents like Chance, it creates a direct pathway for artists to market and profit off their content. However, this direct pathway complicates the relationship between the music industry and emerging artists as streaming services become further embedded in distribution.

Article By: Matthew Gavidia