Posted Aug 14th, 2015 (2:23 pm) by Matt Felten

Could this be the end of the once magnificent music platform?

The most useful and open source of music on the internet has turned militant, detaining accounts and striking down tracks in the name of copyright.

The offensive has everything to do with SoundCloud's quest for cash. Until recently the site operated without a profit, only making money off of premium account subscriptions. Over the last 6 months, the company has been making plans for a big move towards monetization.

First came the ads. An understandable step for a free service, and not the end of the world. But it didn't stop there. The company started signing royalty deals with a bunch of record labels, including Warner Music Group and Merlin, an organization that represents over 20,000 indie labels. Expectedly, the labels did not take lightly to all the nonchalant use of copyrighted music that the site has overlooked for so long.

That brings us to where we now stand, on the verge of SoundCloud dystopia. Pressured by their new label overlords, SoundCloud's discretion-less police bot is wreaking havoc on amateur producers and superstar DJ's alike with it's shoot first, ask questions later policy. The algorithm combs through the site and strikes down any mixes that include unlicensed tracks, songs with unlicensed samples, and bootleg remixes that sound anything like the original.

SoundCloud was once a realm of seemingly infinite possibility for aspiring and established music makers and mixers, but the age of freedom and prosperity on the site may be over.

It's completely understandable to want to make a profit on a thriving business, but SoundCloud is making a huge mistake by alienating the very users that have made them so popular. Yes, enforcing copyright laws is important, but doing it in such an aggressive and non-discriminatory manner could end up being the final nail in their coffin.

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