Ahh, SoundCloud. The home of free audio streaming, with clips straight from their respective artist or label sources. Its user-friendly interface and mobile app make the site a favorite for many music fans. But things this perfect can’t last forever, unfortunately, as SoundCloud is set to engage in discussions with major music labels regarding licensing issues and artistic rights.
According to confidential sources currently speaking with Digital Music News, major labels are discontent with SoundCloud’s difficult process for them to take down every single individual infringement of items they have rights to. Because this process is available though, SoundCloud has been able to circumnavigate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The law doesn’t require monitoring third-party, user-generated uploads (like SoundCloud), so long as major labels are able to take down infringements at their discretion. Thus, the music can remain free-flowing, for the most part.
But notifying SoundCloud of every little re-post and illegal upload in a label’s catalog is pretty much impossible. “Their [catalog] is all over SoundCloud, and it’s essentially too hard to police but that doesn’t mean they won’t start,” the source told DMN. Furthermore, “SoundCloud doesn’t want to start that because they could get completely flooded [with DMCA takedown demands]. And that’s just one way [the major labels] will start a war.”
How can SoundCloud avoid a DMCA shutdown? Although a simple download Google result these days will yield warnings from the Act, Google (and YouTube) have the power and resources to provide content while complying within these laws, unlike the much smaller SoundCloud. This loophole has been largely ignored until now, but as the service only grows, it’s garnering more attention and the company must come face-to-face with these issues.
Looks like we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of these meetings to find out what’s next for our beloved SoundCloud.