SoundCloud's Premier monetization program allows artists to upload their music and make money from it without having to sign a deal with a record label. However, in a new report from The Verge, enrolling in the program has restrictive terms that may be alarming. Things like indefinite payment dates and payout percentages that can change instantly, as well signing away all rights to sue the company is very questionable.
The Verge was able to examine an artist's contract who had signed on to SoundCloud Premier, and detail how much an artist gets paid. When and how they receive payment, provisions for potential instances of copyright infringement, as well as clauses that protect SoundCloud in the event of a conflict with an artist enrolled in the program.
Additionally, what's even more glaring is that the agreement includes a mandatory arbitration clause and a release of all claims against the company called a "covenant not to sue.” Artists who sign the agreement agree to never sue SoundCloud or aid in someone else’s lawsuit against the music streaming service, and to take any disputes to arbitration only, and not to court.
Furthermore, SoundCloud’s agreement also allows the company to make changes to the payment program without advance notice. Artists are not able to negotiate these changes as remaining in the Premier program counts as agreeing to the changes, even without being notified of upcoming changes to the contract.
According to music entertainment lawyer and artist manager Josh Kaplan, all of these terms makes SoundCloud's agreement an unfair deal for artists. Head on over to The Verge for the full story.
In related news, SoundCloud tracks can now be shared on Instagram.