Are You Using SoundCloud? Here’s Something You Should Know



Our friends at AIM (the UK’s Association of Independent Music) have uncovered something a little unsettling about SoundCloud’s terms of use, particularly insofar as the permissions and scope associated with their user licence.

Specifically, if you’re uploading any of your music to SoundCloud, you should be aware of how you’ve set up your permissions for API access. When you upload a track to SoundCloud, you’re already consenting to the following:

“To the extent it is necessary in order for SoundCloud to provide you with any of the aforementioned hosting services, to undertake any of the tasks set forth in these Terms of Use and/or to enable your use of the Platform, you hereby grant such licences to SoundCloud on a limited, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free and fully paid basis.” [SoundCloud Grant of Licence].

Where does this get particularly murky and problematic? Anyone who can link or otherwise use SoundCloud’s API to access any recordings you’ve uploaded to SoundCloud – including, for example, to anyone who wants to broadcast your song on their online radio station – can also benefit from this royalty-free licence you’ve extended to SoundCloud in exchange for using their service.

From the terms of use page on their website, here’s the condition in question:

“By uploading Your Content to the Platform, you also grant a limited, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid up, licence to other users of the Platform, and to operators and users of any other websites, apps and/or platforms to which Your Content has been shared or embedded using the Services (“Linked Services”), to use, copy, repost, transmit or otherwise distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, adapt, prepare derivative works of, compile, make available and otherwise communicate to the public, Your Content utilising the features of the Platform from time to time, and within the parameters set by you using the Services.”[Source].

The good news is that you can stop this from happening, if you’re so inclined – simply by turning off the API access on each track you upload onto the service. Just another reason to remind yourself to always read the fine print…