Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Musicians: You Can Now License Your Music Through SoundCloud

An important piece of running your band as a business is looking for opportunities to create multiple revenue streams aside from typical recording and performance income. A popular alternative to these streams is the ever-elusive sync license, and we all know that every indie band dreams of having that hit song on Grey's Anatomy.

Now, thanks to a partnership between multimedia creator and distributor Getty Images and social sound platform SoundCloud, independent artists are one step closer to making their sync licensing dreams come true.

The new partnership will allow SoundCloud users to add an optional "License" button to their content. When a user then clicks the license button, Getty Image's Music licensing department carries on the rest of the process. SoundCloud takes no fee, offering the service as a value-added feature for its 20 million users, while Getty takes 65%, leaving 35% of the fee for the artist.

This is potentially a huge opportunity for up and coming artists. This feature on SoundCloud could be a valuable source of passive revenue, but will be up to the artist to promote their own content and get commercial users interested in licensing their songs. Artists should take this as another tool in their arsenal to further leverage their work and their online presence.

However, there are several things musicians looking at using this service should keep in mind:

  • Be careful who you allow to use your music. You, as an artist, should have an easily visualized brand and matching values. Validate the work and the brand/mission of whoever wants to license your work to prevent damage to your brand through clashing messages and/or poor quality of work on the licensor's end.
  • Take note of any exclusivity. Because this service is just launched, I am not sure if Getty or the license buyers can delineate any kind of exclusivity with these licenses. Even if they do this may not be an issue for you, but keep it in mind when deciding which work to enable the license feature for.

Bottom line, this seems like a great opportunity for musicians who are willing to put the work in and get their songs out there, but always remember to be selective when it comes to who you are aligning your brand with and allowing to use your work.


  1. You might be interested to know that Getty has 100% control over who uses your music if you sign their license agreement and that their license fees are also below the industry standard. I've written an article called: "Getty Licensing Partnership with SoundCloud: 35% Licensing Fees for Musicians" on audiogang.org if you would like to read my article on the partnership.

    1. Yeah I have seen that as I have found out more details since the initial announcement happened. Either way, I still think this could be of interest to creators of electronic and instrumental music who are looking for exposure or a chance to gain some (albeit very little) passive income. I still think that moves like this towards making it easier for musicians to license is a step in the right direction.

  2. To build your community on SoundCloud you need to listen to other people's music and interact with other 'Clouders to get an understanding about the type of music which excites people on SoundCloud and what they generally prefer to listen. buy SoundCloud plays

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