According to The Guardian, SoundCloud has reached an agreement with Merlin, a licensing company that represents approximately 20,000 independent record labels. Under the terms of the deal, the labels will now make money from SoundCloud streaming. In addition to the revenue, these labels will now be able to use the streaming service's advanced user data.
At a time when SoundCloud's relationship with labels, especially Sony, has been uneasy, executives from SoundCloud and Merlin stressed their common interests. Merlin’s chief executive, Charles Caldas, told The Guardian, “The labels we represent perform particularly well on SoundCloud.” Caldas’s counterpart at SoundCloud, Alexander Ljung, noted that “since day one, we’ve been really strong and really established in the independent community.” He added, “we’ve really been longing for this last step: enabling them to make money off of their music… Doing a deal with Merlin is definitely a huge step forward in opening up a lot of monetization opportunities to tons of indie creators.” The Guardian suggested that Merlin may now also own a portion of Soundcloud, though that remains unconfirmed.
Earlier this week, a contract between independent music publishers and SoundCloud leaked. Read about the details of that agreement, which outlined the platform's plan to implement two paid tiers, here.