Business News Digital

Mixcloud launches new subscription package, puts limitations on free

By | Published on Thursday 1 August 2019


Mixcloud has announced some new restrictions for people listening to mixes, radio shows and podcasts on its platform, while also launching a new premium level that will remove all those limitations for $7.99 a month.

The audio-sharing platform had already launched a creator-centric subscriptions scheme last year, allowing users to subscribe to specific programmes from as little as $2.99 a month. The new platform-wide subscription scheme will run alongside all that.

The limitations on free will include the removal of rewind and a three-times-a-fortnight limit for listening to any one programme or mix. Programmes that feature more than four tracks from one artist or three tracks from one album won’t be available to free users at all.

In a post on Medium, Mixcloud’s founders explained that the changes were required “so that we can keep up with the costs of running a streaming service that puts artists and creators at its core, and so we can build a sustainable platform that will be here for you in the long-term”.

Mixcloud sits somewhere between radio and on-demand streaming, which has created licensing challenges in the music domain. Initially relying on blanket licences from collecting societies on both the songs and recordings side in some markets, it was then pushed into direct deals with labels.

Obviously with streaming now the record industry’s primary revenue stream, labels tend to be demanding of streaming services. Though Mixcloud is different, and in a world where the music industry is increasingly banging on about the promotional potential of podcasts, it is pretty much the only platform where podcasters can legally post music-based shows.

But labels and publishers still want paying. And, to be sustainable, the people making the programmes being uploaded to Mixcloud need to find a way of generating revenue too. With online advertising so competitive, some kind of subscription offering always seemed likely, and it is interesting to see the Mixcloud team now experimenting with different approaches to this.

Concluding, the Mixcloud founders write: “As these new playback changes are rolled out across the platform to all free users, we understand that you may be frustrated – or perhaps you won’t even notice”. Either way, they say, the changes are necessary for a platform like Mixcloud to survive and prosper long-term.

“Our small, incredible team works tirelessly, day in and out, so we can continue to make Mixcloud better for everyone”, they say. “In exchange for your support, we commit to staying true to our values every day: doing the right thing, playing the long game and championing the culture”.