I’ll admit that I’ve never been a big fan of SoundCloud. With that being stated, I have no ill will towards the service or its users. Still, it seems we write about SoundCloud here fairly regularly and the news usually isn’t positive. That brings us to the latest SoundCloud-related tidbit. Earlier this month, the company began a massive purge of files in response to takedown requests from the major record labels. These deletions don’t appear to have yet affected any podcasts hosted by SoundCloud. But it seems inevitable that this will happen.
The story on SoundCloud is pretty familiar by now. The company began as a collaborative tool for musicians and then evolved into its current platform as the so-called “YouTube of audio.” SoundCloud’s early adopters were mostly DJ’s and other artists who relied on samples to round out their mixes. As SoundCloud’s popularity grew, it got onto the radar of the big players in the music industry. Those players wanted to know how SoundCloud would compensate them for using their intellectual property. Since then, SoundCloud has taken on more venture capital funding, and engaged in equity sharing talks with the big record companies. All this on top of reports that the company is hemorrhaging money, and now SoundCloud is removing sounds by the truckload.
So far, SoundCloud has managed to keep the music and podcasting sides of its operation separate. But that can’t last forever. SoundCloud is responding to these takedown requests swiftly and without appeal from its users. If you’re using SoundCloud as your primary media host, you’ll need to be vigilant about not including any copyrighted sounds in your podcast. But even that’s no guarantee against your episodes disappearing due to an errant takedown request. Indeed, it might be a good time to start formulating an escape plan should these aggressive takedowns make their way to SoundCloud’s podcasting accounts.