When Billboard first reported that Sony was pulling music from SoundCloud, I was immediately transported back to the trash compactor scene in Star Wars. There are snakes in the water and the walls are closing in, and SoundCloud has a limited amount of time to figure out how to avoid getting squished.
Granted, the site already has a contract in place with Warner Music, but this is a potentially heavy blow to SoundCloud and free streaming everywhere. Sony took down catalogs from Adele, Passion Pit, Miguel, Hozier, and MS MR due to “a lack of monetization opportunities,” according to sources close to the negotiations. With Warner in and Sony out (for now), the tiebreaker vote falls to Universal Music Group.
Since SoundCloud first introduced its monetization strategy last August, the company claims to have paid more than $2 million to about 100 partners. This followed on the heels of $150 million in fundraising, so while Sony’s decision deals a blow, SoundCloud still has time to find an R2D2 to save the day.