Warner Music has become the first major record company to sign a direct licensing deal with Mixcloud, the U.K.-based streaming radio platform that specializes in long-form dance and EDM mixes -- and has been increasingly touted as a rival to SoundCloud.
Following in the footsteps of its more established and far larger competitor, Mixcloud has steadily built up a loyal audience among the EDM community with DJs like Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Moby and Tiesto among the one million curators who have uploaded mixes, DJ sets and exclusive music content – typically lasting around 45 minutes-plus -- to the service.
The ad-supported platform has a catalogue of over 12 million on-demand radio shows, DJ sets and Podcasts, attracting around 17 million listeners each month, according to the London-based company, which launched in 2009. It uses its own proprietary Content ID system to identify individual songs within mixes and track and monetize usage. Agreements are in place with a number of international collecting societies and PROs including SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and U.K.-based PPL and PRS for Music.
Mixcloud's licensing deal with Warner Music Group is the first stage in the company's plans to launch its new subscription offer that will enable consumers to subscribe to 'individual creator channels' for -- what it describes as -- "a more innovative listening experience."
Billboard understands that discussions are also taking place with Sony, Universal and independent rights organization Merlin about striking similar license deals to that agreed with Warner. Mixcloud previously launched 'Pro' and Premium' subscription tiers in 2014, although neither offered users the chance to download mixes or access music offline – something it intends to remedy with its latest subscription offering.
"Since the beginning, we have worked with rights holders to both monetize long-form audio and champion the importance of curation in the streaming industry," says Mixcloud's co-founder and director of content Nico Perez in a statement announcing today's (Oct. 9) deal.
"As we embark on direct licensing relationships with the major labels," he continues, "we are committed to doing what is best for artists, curators, music fans, and the industry."
"As streaming opens up access to a vast universe of music, we are seeing a complimentary rise in fans' engagement with curated experiences, such as playlists, on-demand radio shows, and DJ sets," adds Ole Obermann, EVP, business development and chief digital officer, Warner Music Group.
Obermann cites the "curiosity and passion" of Mixcloud's user base as a key factor in its growth and says, "As we see that user base expand, this partnership will unlock new commercial value for our artists and their music."