SoundCloud has always offered unlimited ad-free music in the face of ad-supported music streaming services and $10-per-month subscriptions, but now that’s about to change. In a blog post today, the company announced its plans to introduce audio ads, a paid subscription tier and a way for some musicians to make money with a new partner program called On SoundCloud.
The big news here is SoundCloud’s new partner program, which will let artists earn money off the music streaming platform. It’s an invite-only Premium option, for now, that presumably gives musicians a cut of any profits made from the ads that play between their own tracks. SoundCloud said it only generates revenue from tracks played in the U.S., though it hopes to expand in the near future.
SoundCloud is introducing a few new options for the rest of us as well. Beyond the baseline partner tier you can pay extra for advanced tools, additional upload time and detailed statistics on who’s streaming your music. The company also says it plans to add a new subscription option for listeners who’d rather pay to skip the ads, though there’s no word on how much it might cost.
Part of SoundCloud’s appeal has always been its Wild West anything goes attitude compared to more straightforward services like Spotify and Pandora. Ads and subscriptions might help boost profits in the short term, but they could also ruin what made SoundCloud so special in the first place.