How to Make Money from Your Music on SoundCloud
Following the launch of the new-and-improved SoundCloud Premier in 2018, SoundCloud is now better than ever. Singers and musicians from all walks of life can join their monetisation programme and make money on Soundcloud with original tracks.
SoundCloud is notoriously popular among independent artists. The platform helps indie artists upload, stream, and make money on their original music. Savvy users can even connect distributors and online stores to their SoundCloud to make more money.
Every musician’s dream is to make money from their craft, and SoundCloud helps independent artists on their way to do just that. This article gives a full breakdown of the best ways to optimise your earning potential on SoundCloud.
Can you make money on SoundCloud?
Independent artists across the board have been able to make money on SoundCloud since 2018; when SoundCloud Premier was re-launched with a revised set of rules.
The monetisation programme existed before 2018 but was an invite-only beta until the programme was changed a couple of years ago.
The new, revamped SoundCloud Premier has become much more inclusive and allows any indie artists who self-upload tracks to make money on SoundCloud.
How do you qualify for monetisation on SoundCloud?
You’ll have to tick a few boxes to qualify for monetisation on SoundCloud. To start with, you need to be signed up to SoundCloud Premier to start making money from your music.
To be eligible for SoundCloud Premier, you need to be:
- 18 years old or above
- An independent, original creator
- A Pro or Pro Account SoundCloud member
- An artist who has at least 5,000 plays in the past month from SoundCloud monetised countries
- An account holder with no copyright strikes
How to monetise a track on SoundCloud
Once you’ve signed a SoundCloud Premier agreement, you can submit a request to monetise your tracks on the platform. If you’re approved, a blue icon will appear beside your content.
When you’ve got your account approved, you can monetise multiple tracks on your SoundCloud account at once by following these steps:
Go to your tracks page and select all the tracks you want to monetise.
Press the “Edit tracks” button and click “Monetisation.”
Double-check your metadata is correct and then press the “Enable Monetisation” button.
Press “Save,” and you’ll be notified in 24 hours whether your monetisation request has been approved.
How many plays do you need on SoundCloud to get paid?
You’ll need to be signed up to SoundCloud Premier to get paid on SoundCloud. To go Premier, you need 5000 plays in the SoundCloud approved countries listed below.
SoundCloud monetisation countries
To sign up for SoundCloud Premier, your tracks need to be streamed in SoundCloud’s recognised monetised countries. These are currently the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.
Where SoundCloud monetised tracks are available to stream
Once you monetise your track on SoundCloud, your song will be made available to stream in all countries. Just double-check your SoundCloud track settings and ensure you haven’t enabled geo-blocking if you want your tracks to be streamed everywhere.
SoundCloud monetisation free
If you want to make money on SoundCloud, you’ll have to part with some of your own money first. Sadly, there’s no way to access their monetisation for free – subscribing to a Pro account alone comes with a monthly charge.
Like with a lot of audio streaming platforms, selling your music on SoundCloud has a catch: the platform will keep a share of the revenues from your sales. Singers and musicians who monetise with SoundCloud Premier receive a 55% net revenue. This means that for every song you upload or own the rights to, you will earn a 55% share of the profit, while SoundCloud will keep a 45% cut.
Your income on SoundCloud is also affected by the platform’s revenue. How much you get paid will depend on how much SoundCloud makes from advertising and subscriptions, as it’s these schemes that fund the SoundCloud Premier programme. If SoundCloud doesn’t perform well and their income dips, so will yours.
How does Soundcloud make money?
As SoundCloud’s performance and revenue will directly affect your income, it’s worth knowing how the platform makes its money. SoundCloud operates a freemium basis, meaning its core streaming is available free of charge to its users.
If people can listen to your music for free, you might wonder how you can make any money on your tracks. The SoundCloud Premier programme is funded largely by premium features and advertising, meaning that – although fans can access your music for free – the platform can still make a profit and pay you revenue on your songs.
Premium features like SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud Pro Unlimited require a subscription fee. The income from this, and from collaborations with big companies and brands to run ad campaigns, turn over a profit for SoundCloud and allow them to pay artists who upload tracks to the site.
How much money do you make on SoundCloud per play?
The revenue you make on SoundCloud depends on more than just your plays, so it’s hard to determine how much money you’ll make based on streams alone.
Your income will actually depend on SoundCloud’s performance each month in terms of advertising and membership subscription, rather than how many times your track is played. Whether people engage with the ads on SoundCloud (which they won’t if they have an ad blocker on) will affect how much you earn, and this means your revenue can fluctuate.
A rough ball-park figure for how much existing artists have been paid per play on SoundCloud is in the region of $2.50 – $4.00 for every 1000 streams.
How can you sell your music on SoundCloud?
Joining SoundCloud Premier and monetising your tracks is the typical route for selling your music on SoundCloud, but it’s not the only way.
If you want to sell your music on SoundCloud and cut out the middleman (and the extra revenue charges) you can connect your online store to your SoundCloud. Directing your fans to an external site to buy your tracks means you can keep 100% of your revenue.
Make money on SoundCloud with Sellfy
If you don’t have an existing online store, a great e-commerce platform you can use to set one up is Sellfy. Lots of artists use this site to connect their online store up to their SoundCloud profile and make more profit on their music.
Follow these steps to create a Sellfy online store that’s SoundCloud-friendly:
Head to Sellfy.com and create your online store. All you need is an email and password, and you’ll be set up in a few minutes.
Add some products to sell on your Sellfy store. You can do this by pressing “Add New” on the dashboard and selecting the “Digital Product” option.
You’ll then be given the option to add your music, a description, an image, and a price. Click the “Publish” button when you’re done.
Before you complete your Sellfy online store, make sure your store can accept card payments. To set up PayPal payments, select “Payment Options” on the dashboard and enter the email address you use on your existing PayPal account.
Your online store is now ready to go, and you can connect it up to your SoundCloud account to make even more money on your music.
How to make money on SoundCloud
Connecting your online store to SoundCloud will create more earning potential on your tracks. There are 3 ways you can connect your store to your SoundCloud profile:
- Add a link to your online store in your track description
When you upload a new track to SoundCloud, paste a link to the product on your online store in the “Description” box that comes up.
- Paste a link in your bio
Your bio is another great place to provide a direct link to your online store. To add a link to your bio, go to your SoundCloud “Profile Settings” and press “Edit.” Paste the link to your online store in the bio box and make sure you press “Save Changes” afterward.
- Create a buy link on your tracks
The buy-link is a button that appears underneath your songs on SoundCloud. To get one, select the “Metadata” heading that comes up when you upload a track to SoundCloud. You’ll then be given the option to add a buy-link to your tracks and choose the text that appears on the buy button.
You’ll need to make sure you have a SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited profile before you can add buy links to your songs.
Tunecore SoundCloud monetisation
You’ve monetised your SoundCloud tracks, you’ve connected your SoundCloud profile to your online store. Now the only thing that’s left to do is to connect TuneCore to your SoundCloud.
TuneCore is a digital music distribution and publishing service and has had a partnership with SoundCloud for over ten years. Working with distributors is invaluable for indie artists, as the service can get your music out onto all the biggest streaming platforms.
Connecting a distributor like TuneCore to your SoundCloud will boost your monetisation not only on SoundCloud but on other streaming platforms too. TuneCore can take the music you’ve uploaded to SoundCloud and distribute it to other commercial services like iTunes and Spotify. You maintain all your rights and 100% of the royalties on your tracks, making TuneCore a priceless tool in the monetisation of your music.
How to connect TuneCore to your SoundCloud
Connecting TuneCore to your SoundCloud account is super easy and really worthwhile. Here’s how to do it:
First, you’ll have to enable the import feature on your SoundCloud account. You can do this by signing up on the TuneCore landing page.
Once you’ve signed up to TuneCore and logged in, click on the “Distribution” menu button and create a new single or album using the form that comes up.
Next, a button saying “Connect with SoundCloud” should appear on the song adding page on TuneCore. Press this button to connect your SoundCloud account to TuneCore.
Now that your accounts are connected, a “Get Song From SoundCloud” button will appear on your TuneCore song adding page. You can use this button to import each track from your SoundCloud account over to TuneCore.
The rest is then down to TuneCore. The distribution service will do all the legwork to get your music from SoundCloud onto all the important streaming platforms. Hopefully turning over a bigger revenue for you in the process.
How to discover music on SoundCloud
SoundCloud has a huge user-base and a huge catalogue of artists waiting to be discovered. You can find music on the platform using the universal search bar, the charts feature, or the site’s recommended song suggestions.
As an indie artist looking to be discovered, SoundCloud is an invaluable resource. The platform will not only help you be discovered by new fans but if you monetise your SoundCloud tracks and connect your account to your online store, you’ll be earning revenue while you do so.
If you’re hoping to get discovered as well as make money on your music, SoundCloud is the place you need to be.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do SoundCloud’s royalties compare to Spotify?
According to figures from 2016, SoundCloud typically paid 0.001305585 per stream in royalties, whereas Spotify paid 0.003589881. This means to make $1 on SoundCloud, you needed a total of 766 streams. To earn $1 on Spotify, you needed 279 streams. A full comparison of the royalties paid across streaming platforms can be found here.
- What is the difference between plays and monetised streams?
You might notice a discrepancy between the number of plays your track has on SoundCloud, and how many monetised streams you’ve been paid for. This is because you only earn money from streams containing an ad on SoundCloud.
Some users have adblockers on while they play your song, so it won’t count as a monetised stream. This can result in your number of monetised streams being lower than your total plays.
Do you have you music on Soundcloud? Leave a link in the comments and we’ll check it out.