SoundCloud being sued by PRS for Music for not paying its members

Royalties body says it has failed 'numerous times to recognise its responsibilities'

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PRS for Music, which represents the rights of over 111,000 musicians in the UK and distributes royalties owed to them for their music, has decided to sue SoundCloud after negotiations stagnated.

“After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud,” it said in a letter to members.

The organisation said it had made the “difficult decision” to begin litigation because SoundCloud “continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence” despite being asked “numerous times to recognise their responsibilities”.

SoundCloud has hit a major milestone! What’s your personal #SCMilestone?

Posted by SoundCloud on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PRS documents proof of this, saying that the service only removed 250 posts from the list of 4,500 created by members.

SoundCloud says it is taking PRS’ claims “extremely seriously”, but claims the legal notice is “entirely devoid of merit and foundation, and it is our intention to vigorously defend and contest the claim."

"SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators. We respect creators and their work, and give all copyright owners full control over their content on the platform," it added. "We are working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers and independent artists.”

It’s a murky area, as while plenty of copyrighted material does end up on SoundCloud unlawfully, many bands wilfully use it when starting out to increase their fanbase to a point where they can then hopefully monetise their output through labels and other mediums.