The artists who have complained about streaming music royalties may soon have a better option – under the right conditions. SoundCloud has launched a “fan powered“a royalty system for independents that sends your subscription or advertising money to the artists you listen to, rather than a general pool that pays artists based on their share of the total plays played across the service. Ideally, this ensures that independent artists are paid properly Critics have long criticized the pool approach for allegedly favoring big stars and sending money to musicians you never play.
The change will take effect for artists using SoundCloud Premier, Repost and Repost Select from April 1. This is expected to affect around 100,000 artists, the company said. This theoretically makes a difference for at least some musicians. SoundCloud cited examples of artists who could collect multiple times their previous royalties – five times more in one case.
As Music company in the world Remarks, however, it is not clear how well this will work in practice. The listener-based royalty model is potentially expensive to operate, and it might not do much to improve the incomes of intermediate artists who have large followers but have not made a big splash. There is certainly no guarantee that the model will take off without the support of major brands that will gain little (if any) from this model.
SoundCloud’s effort could serve as a real-world test of this approach, however, and the company is clearly betting that more indies will post on its platform in the hopes of securing better wages. It might expand your music selection and give you more reasons to use SoundCloud if you’re worried about artists making a living.