SoundCloud expands Sony/ATV Music agreement, subscription music service coming to Europe in 2016


Three weeks after launching its streaming subscription service in the U.S., SoundCloud has now given its first indication of when a wider rollout of SoundCloud Go may happen.

The Berlin-based company has announced it has expanded its existing agreement with Sony/ATV Music — the publishing company that’s part-owned by Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson’s estate — which will open the doors for SoundCloud to launch its service in Europe. The company has said it plans to introduce both subscriptions and advertising-backed services across Europe in 2016, though it didn’t provide an exact timescale for rollout.

Founded in 2007, SoundCloud has traditionally been different from other music services, such as Spotify, in that it is geared toward creators and allows anyone to upload their music or podcasts to build a fan base. But with more than $100 million in funding, SoundCloud has also been under pressure to monetize its platform with a number of initiatives — including On SoundCloud, a platform that runs audio ads against tracks for users within the U.S.

The launch of SoundCloud Go in March marked a major evolution for the company as it looks to ramp up the competition against incumbents such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer. The company has been inking deals for some time with the major record labels, including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. While all these deals did cover global markets, SoundCloud has still been waiting to reach agreements with royalty-collecting societies around the world.

Back in December, U.K. music-licensing company the Performing Rights Society (PRS) dropped legal action it had filed back in August that alleged SoundCloud failed to pay royalties for music hosted on the platform, and instead inked a multi-territory deal with SoundCloud. With the launch of SoundCloud Go in the U.S. last month, the existing PRS deal suggested that the U.K. could be next in line for launch, but with Sony/ATV Music now on board too, it’s looking increasingly likely that SoundCloud will flip the switch across the whole of Europe at the same time.

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