SoundCloud Rival Mixcloud Inks Licensing Deal With Universal Music Group

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Universal Music Group has signed a multi-year direct licensing deal with U.K.-based audio streaming platform Mixcloud.

Under the terms of the agreement, UMG artists will be paid for the use of their music on Mixcloud’s advertising-supported and future subscription services. The global deal does not cover Japan and China, but it does notably include retrospective payment for previous uses of Universal repertoire that were not covered by its existing deals with collecting societies.

Launched in 2009 and often touted as a rival to SoundCloud, Mixcloud specializes in long-form dance and EDM mixes and has built up a loyal and sizable following among EDM fans, artists and producers.

The ad-supported platform has a catalogue of over 15 million on-demand radio shows, DJ sets and podcasts — typically lasting around 45 minutes-plus — and claims to attract over 17 million listeners each month. Notable contributors have included David Guetta, Erykah Badu, Tiësto, Moby, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, as well as independent radio stations like London’s NTS and New York’s The Lot Radio.

Universal Music is the second major to sign a licensing deal with Mixcloud following Warner Music and brings the London-based company a step closer to realizing its long-mooted ambition to launch a full subscription offer.

At present, the platform only offers an ad-free subscription tier costing £4.99 a month ($6.50), but it plans to roll-out a full ‘premium’ service, offering personalized experiences and advanced functionality, as soon as it concludes a full suite of licensing deals. Discussions are said to be ongoing with Sony Music and independent rights organization Merlin.

The platform — which uses its own proprietary Content ID system to identify individual songs within mixes and track and monetize usage — already has agreements in place with a number of international collecting societies and PROs, including SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SACEM, and U.K.-based PPL and PRS for Music.

Earlier this year, it signed a multi-territory licensing deal with pan-European online music rights licensing and processing hub ICE. 2018 has additionally seen the company raise $11.5 million in a funding round from WndrCothat saw Ann Daly, former president of DreamWorks Animation, and Anthony Saleh, an investor and artist manager of hip-hop stars Nas and Future, join its board.

“Our focus has always been on empowering artists and curators alike, and this deal with Universal Music will help us usher in a new era of collaboration in which everyone wins,” said Mixcloud co-founder Nico Perez in a statement announcing its latest licensing deal.

Perez went on to say that the agreement “ensures that all rights-holders are paid fairly for the use of their work” and would “enhance what we can offer to our curators, their listeners, and to the artists that created the great tracks in the first place.”

“Mixcloud has developed an innovative platform where audiences can uniquely discover artists and experience music through curated stations, podcasts, DJ sets and other influencer-driven audio formats,” said James Healy, UMG’s vice president of digital business.

“Working together,” he went on to say, “we will expand the programming that’s available across Mixcloud and give their passionate fans more choice over how they consume music and interact with their favorite artists.”

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