If you expect your favorite ad-free services to remain ad-free, you're probably living in a constant state of disappointment. Here, let's add to it.
SoundCloud, currently free and ad-free, is about to introduce ads. It's part of a new content creators program called On SoundCloud, a tiered initiative to help the people who upload content on the service.
On SoundCloud is launching with three tiers - Partner, Pro, and Premier. The first is free, and offers basic stats and support. The second is paid, and offers "extensive" stats, support, and double the content limit. The latter is where we move into ad territory.
Currently, On SoundCloud Premier is invite only. SoundCloud is starting slow with a small set of creators, expanding "as fast as they can."
It is on content from these Premier level members that you'll find SoundCloud's new ads.
"The introduction of advertising is an important step for creators. Every time you see or hear an ad, an artist gets paid. If you’re in the US, you’ll start to experience occasional ads from our brand partners. We’re bringing ads on gradually. In addition to supporting creators, ads will keep the service free and open for people to listen to SoundCloud. Audio ads will only be served on the content of Premier Partners with their explicit consent. If you have a Free, Pro or Pro Unlimited account, you will not have any audio ads placed on your tracks," says the company.
Artists in the Premier tier will only get paid when plays come from inside the US – for now.
A paid content structure like this allows SoundCloud to keep the service free, and also encourages creators to produce more content by incentivizing their hard work with hard cash. SoundCloud has also quietly mentioned that an ad-free subscription service is on the horizon.
"We’re rolling out ad products very gradually with attention to your listening experience," says SoundCloud. Ads will appear on desktop, app, and embedded players. You can also expect to see "promoted tracks" appear when searching.
Image via SoundCloud