SoundCloud is reportedly looking into a new payment system that would allow music fans to pay artists for their work directly on the platform, Billboard reports. According to “multiple sources close to the situation”, the company is “still exploring several alternative streaming payout models” and will make a public announcement on its plans “before the end of the first quarter of 2021.”
Like other major streaming services, most notably Spotify and Apple Music, SoundCloud currently uses a ‘pro-rata’ model for its paid tier, pooling subscriber revenue and distributing earnings to the artists who brought in the most streams, thus directing most of the revenue to a small percentage of the world’s biggest acts. A move towards a direct payment system would make SoundCloud the first Western streaming platform to introduce such a model, which is similar to that used by subscription services like Patreon and OnlyFans, and which Chinese streaming services like Tencent Music’s QQ Music have already been utilizing for years.
Since 2017, SoundCloud has offered its 175 million monthly users the option to pay up to $10 a month for the platform’s on-demand streaming service SoundCloud Go+, a premium version of SoundCloud Go. As Billboard notes, the move to explore new payout systems comes just weeks after Michael Weissman succeeded Kerry Trainor as CEO of the company.