I’m all for Soundcloud making money. I think it’s a fantastic service and a great vehicle for promo, for works in progress and for allowing people to listen to your music.
It’s just a shame that when great services are looking to “monetise”, the answer is always advertising.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that I used to make radio commercials for a living, and I believe there’s such a thing as good advertising. You can entertain, and make a difference for a client (especially gratifying when it’s a small business trying to get a message out to people who would really appreciate what they do).
But when I hear “We’re adding advertising and paying the content creators – and you can pay to have the ads removed”, I always hear “we’ve made our service worse and broken the user experience, and you’ll need to give us money to fix it back the way it was, in order to stop the record labels from suing us”.
All of that is entirely unpleasant. And not just for the listener.
If I was an advertiser, and I was told that my commercials were essentially going to be used as a repellent to drive customers to pay to get rid of my message, I would not be excited about advertising on that platform.
Spotify is a case in point. Spotify wants paid subscribers. In order to do that, they make terrible, annoying and unpleasant ads. Who pays for these ads? Are they insane?
In an ideal world, businesses like Soundcloud and Spotify would choose between either making a service that people genuinely want to pay for (and giving artists and rights holders an equitable share of that revenue), or providing a service that is sustainable through the creation of great advertising that creates positive associations for the client and genuinely entertains, informs or at the very least, doesn’t piss off the target audience.
But the default message seems to be “give us money to make terrible and intrusive ads for your company, and we’ll use them to annoy people into paying us to make you go away.”
Which makes no sense to me at all. Hope that’s not what Soundcloud end up doing – but fear it might be.
— Andrew Dubber
I agree with Andrew Dubber, use soundcloud for tracks, works in progress, for albums use bandcamp.
But, if as Andrew Dubber reports, soundcloud is to introduce advertising, or even worse, pay to have the advertising removed, then that is indeed bad news, and this advice to use soundcloud will have to be reconsidered.
This is like at Larnaca Airport, crap check-in, with a premium ten euros for fast check-in. Or at least one mobile phone company, long delay if you call us, but pay a premium, and you get a better service.
There is something very wrong when a company provides a crap service, then expects you to pay to get a better service, the service you expected in the first place.
According to an article in The New York Times, advertising is part of soundcloud growing up, a deal with the major record labels, who will the use soundcloud to peddle their hyped crap. A deal with the major record labels, those global corporations who treat music as a commodity, who screw artists, who screw fans, who criminalise fans for sharing, is as bad news as advertising.
In many ways the move is a reaction to industry pressure to license content and produce revenue. It also reflects SoundCloud’s complex relationship with record labels, which use the service to promote new releases and even hunt for new talent but have been irritated by their inability to make money from SoundCloud’s millions of listeners.
As part of their licensing talks, major labels and some independents are negotiating with SoundCloud for equity stakes in the company.
Maybe the reason we’re having such a hard time finding out ways to monetize various internet services like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, is that they can’t be monetized.
We have reached the limits to growth, an end to the businesses model of exponential growth, loot the commons, then sell it back to us.
Internet enables a participatory gift economy. We have a desire to share. We use facebook, not because we like it, but that is where our friends are, who we desire to share with. Andrew Dubber, could be paid to write a couple of hundred words of drivel for a newspaper column, instead he freely shares his thoughts on the net. I share his thoughts, and add my two pence worth. Artists use soundcloud to share their music, poets and writers to share the spoken word.
When Murdoch introduced a paywall, people simple looked for the news elsewhere.
Bandcamp is a success because it enables sharing, but it also enables musicians to earn a living, and bandcamp takes a small cut for doing so.
To cite Eric Reasons again (Innovative Deflation):
We’re told to believe in our future in a knowledge based economy, but nobody has really figured out how to make real money of it. Of those who are making money off of it (Craigslist, Google), they are making pennies per dollar in the old markets that they’ve upset or practically eliminated with their innovation. This isn’t because we haven’t found the right monetization scheme yet. It is because innovation is leading to efficiency and not growth and that is exerting deflationary pressure on bloated industries. Moreover, it is largely being done by us, the end-user, in our free time, because we want to create and share, not just consume.
Innovation is cutting costs, and internet is accelerating that trend. The thesis of Jeremy Rifkin in The Zero Marginal Cost Society is that the marginal cost of things is tending to zero.
Open Source software gets written because software designers are willing to collaborate and do so for free, but what enables that collaboration is the internet. It is what has given us Apache and Linux upon which the net runs.
Greater efficiency, greater productivity, means more free time, though in reality it has resulted in mass unemployment and a concentration of wealth for the already rich. Those who have the free time fritter it away as zombies on soma in front of a widescreen TV, but it does not have to be, it can used creatively, through participation in the sharing economy, and although we may have less monetary income, in a sharing economy our lives are enriched through social engagement and interaction and through the gift economy, more for me becomes more for you.
Maybe it is my imagination but I appear to be receiving a growing number of promoted tweets. These are as annoying as junk mail and e-mail, junk texts and nuisance phone calls. If you have nothing useful to say keep quiet. If you have to pay to get your tweets promoted, then they cannot be worth reading. I generally ignore on the grounds maybe they will not know I exist. The only one I have responded to was from Vodafone, I hijacked their hashtag and used it to respond on their tax dodging. I did so with glee, knowing each and every response was costing them money. It caused an increase in their tweets then they stopped.
If soundcloud are to bastardise their service, users will simply migrate elsewhere.
One such alternative is mixcloud.
Steve Lawson recommends hearthis.at and to help, they even have a button to migrate from soundcloud.
Soundcloud controlled by major record labels, is not a place people will wish to be to share their music.
No, I do do not wish to see artists paid a pittance for having their output polluted by advertisements. I want to see artists rewarded for their creative output.
At Staycation Live this year, I was pleased to find a greater awareness of bandcamp, but still not widely used. Perverse when a band tells the crowd to find them on iTunes when they are on bandcamp. Anther told me they used spotify as better than bandcamp. It figured he worked in PR and marketing.
Many take a blunderbuss scatter-gun approach, they are everywhere and nowhere. Better to focus on a handful of worthwhile sites and keep updated. Twitter, facebook (a necessary evil), vimeo or youtube, bandcamp, soundcloud (or an alternative like mixcloud) a wordpress blog and a website, and interlink the sites.
What the internet does is provide equality.
If soundcloud introduce advertising or cut a deal with major record labels, then I strongly recommend artists migrate their work elsewhere and that users boycott soundcloud.
- Popular and Free, SoundCloud Is Now Ready for Ads
- SoundCloud introduces ads and revenue sharing, as it prepares to launch a subscription service
- SoundCloud introduces ads so it can pay musicians and other creators
- SoundCloud, The Music Startup Twitter Almost Acquired, Is Reportedly Negotiating Deals With Major Record Labels To Avoid Getting Sued
- SoundCloud launches advertising and artist payments
- brb…Deleting SoundCloud
- Copying is an act of love
- Why use spotify when there are far better alternatives?
- Has tech killed the music industry?