The London based streaming platform, Mixcloud, recently launched a new subscription service that significantly undercuts its rivals like SoundCloud. “Mixcloud Select” subscriptions start at $2.99 per month and provides users with ad-free access, offline listening and the ability to view upfront full track listings. Unlike other subscription platforms, listeners don’t subscribe to Mixcloud’s full music offering, however directly to DJs and individual curators who are free to set their own price starting at $2.99 and earn a cut of the generated net revenue once royalties are paid to labels as well as publishers. 47 curator channels were available for subscription at launch. The service opens up new ancillary revenue streams to podcasters, radio presenters and DJs who don’t create their own music.
“We wanted to make sure that we launched something that had our creators at the very core of it, but also was different to what else is in the market,” said Mixcloud co-founder Nikhil Shah. “Mixcloud Select” is also targeting specifically towards listeners “that really care about the creators they love and really want to support and get closer to them. A lot of those guys were previously left out of the revenue mix, even though they were making very meaningful and very valuable content,” explained Shah. Meanwhile curators who also make music can theoretically get paid twice, first from streaming royalty payments and secondly from their split of the subscription revenue.
After royalty payments, Mixcloud says the majority of net revenue goes to the curator, however they won’t discuss subscription revenue splits. “Right now, our focus is to get a few case studies out there working and showing that we can make a meaningful difference to creators’ lives and incomes. Once this is working for the few, then it’s much easier to scale that up to the many,” said Shah who is also confident Mixcloud’s new model will appeal to its 17 million monthly listeners. “Like any good subscription model, this is about having the right level of conversion from the free tier,” he said. Among the incentives to grow its subscriber base, the new model will have exclusive content as well as the ability for curators and artists to direct message fans.
Mixcloud is asking its contributors to sign up as it develops the service over the upcoming months. “Building a subscription model on top of the currently free service is not going to be easy,” said Shah. “We need to stay really close to our community and test and learn a lot, but we think there is a really exciting opportunity here for us and the industry.”