SoundCloud’s streaming service moves closer with Universal deal

Music-sharing site SoundCloud is closer to its goal of launching a subscription-based music-streaming service.

The company is expected to announce it has reached an agreement to license tracks from Universal Music Group artists, following months of talks.

The arrangement follows SoundCloud’s accord with Warner, and indie label representative Merlin agreed late last year.

Today’s deal gives SoundCloud, which already has 175m users around the world, access to tunes from artists such as Kanye West, U2, Miley Cyrus and Sam Smith.

SoundCloud must now agree terms with Sony if it plans to take the fight to streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal.

The New York Times, which first reported the deal, says SoundCloud plans to launch its long-plotted subscription service at some point this year.

In the past, SoundCloud has relied on individual artists – both big name and bedroom – to upload and remove content from the site and app. Now, with access to multiple licensing partners, it can push on with a widespread distribution model.

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The company has earned goodwill by giving upcoming artists a sleek platform on which to push out their work, earning itself a reputation as a place to hear underground music first.

It will be interesting to see whether, with the launch of the platform, SoundCloud is able to translate this to a subscriber-based service.

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