Artists on SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited who are 18 years or older, control all rights to their original music, have no copyright strikes, and have garnered at least 1,000 plays in the past month will be able to use the tool. These eligible artists will now see a distribution button within the track manager section of SoundCloud, prompting them to select from a list of distribution channels like Apple Music, and schedule their release.
Last September, Spotify launched a beta for a service similar to SoundCloud's, allowing indie artists to bypass distributors and upload their music directly to the service. SoundCloud is now expanding this idea to support all streaming services, and the company hopes that these companies see it more as a location to scout new up-and-coming artists rather than another streaming rival.
"SoundCloud isn’t, nor ever was, meant to be a one-way, mass streaming experience," Trainor explains. "Streaming has risen, people are paying for music again and it’s fantastic what all the major streaming services are doing there. But what SoundCloud has been about, always, is empowering creators and giving that connection between creator and listener. Our overall position is about continuing to invest in that -- it’s not about trying to chase those other mass services."While SoundCloud does offer a monthly streaming music service that is a competitor to Apple Music and Spotify, the company's major difference is in its community of artists who create and share their music on the platform. With the expansion of direct uploads to Apple Music and Spotify, these creators will now have even more outlets for their music to be heard.
SoundCloud Pro starts at $6/month and Pro Unlimited $12/month (both billed yearly). At the Pro and Pro Unlimited level, artists can schedule releases, check full stats on tracks, gain access to full embed controls, replace tracks, and now distribute unlimited releases to all major music services. At this point, SoundCloud notes that this tool is still in beta.