Sony Music has removed original recordings from the SoundCloud pages of more than a half-dozen artists -- including Adele, Hozier, Miguel, Kelly Clarkson, Passion Pit, Leon Bridges and MS MR -- as part of a breakdown in negotiations between the major music group and the Berlin-headquartered streaming-audio platform. Spokespeople for Sony Music and Columbia Records, the label with the most impacted artists, declined comment, but an executive familiar with negotiations says the recent takedowns are due to “a lack of monetization opportunities” on the platform.
The Sony impasse comes at a transitional time for SoundCloud, which until recently was a completely free service to more than 350 million monthly users. Though its content was unlicensed, the platform has played an influential role in helping developing artists like Lorde and, ironically, Bridges get discovered and ultimately signed by major labels - as well as a destination for established acts like Beyonce, Miguel and Drake to debut new material. “[It’s] been a good place for exposure,” says one notable artist manager. “At the same time, artists and labels need to get paid for music. Until that can be worked out, we’re going to have situations that are incompatible with artist development.”