While other streaming services have made a mad dash to properly monetize their work, SoundCloud has always remained a beacon of free use in the ever-changing digital market. Perhaps as a sign of the times, the service has since altered its business model, announcing plans to implement ads on all song and album streams.
For the first time in the company’s seven-year history, ads will be tacked onto the beginning of all SoundCloud streams, as Billboard reports. Most will last about 15 seconds; those that are longer will offer listeners the option to skip ahead after the first 15 seconds. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same system that is already in use over at YouTube.
The new initiative is said to reflect “SoundCloud’s positioning as a promotional tool for creatives, rather than an all-you-can-eat service for consumers.”
However, ad-based revenue is not the only thing SoundCloud is looking to cash in on. They are also hoping to enter the paid subscription business later this year, a field already saturated with the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio. In fact, Google Play is already in the midst of a major re-branding campaign, tentatively dubbed YouTube Music Key.
According to Jeff Toig, SoundCloud’s chief business officer, the company will likely use the same pay structure as other subscription streaming services, which means Thom Yorke and Beck just might have a new nemesis on their hands.