SoundCloud is in the middle of another giant wave of removals, and those that are uploading unofficial remixes are feeling the burn. They're getting copyright notifications, accounts are being flagged, and records are getting removed at a breakneck pace. I'm sitting here saying "I told you so," but we're just bloggers, right? Our words aren't without merit, as outside of our platform I have had logins to several high-traffic accounts that have generated more than 50 million plays, and have been navigating copyright issues with this platform for the past two years.
The rules are simple. If you don't have permission from those you sample, you are in direct violation of SoundCloud's Terms of Service. As they lock in partnerships with more labels, SoundCloud will continue to remove audio that violates their rules. We spoke on this several months ago, saying that their removal technology would only get better, and that anyone hinging uncleared content to iTunes or Beatport runs the risk of getting sued.
Kaskade recently had 70% of his content removed from his SoundCloud page, but he should be happy that his account wasn't deleted. The rule of thumb is that three flags on your account is grounds for termination, and he dodged the bullet of complete loss of his fan base. If he checked his Twitter notifications, he wouldn't be surprised. We watched as Henrix responded to Kaskade back in January saying that his account got deleted because of mashups, and Kaskade himself spoke on SoundCloud removing records from his account:
@kaskade my soundcloud got deleted because of mashups
— Henrix (@HenrixMusic) January 31, 2014
There are several solutions. Kaskade's management can reach out to those that he sampled to get thumbs up for use and upload, and those records will be restored. SoundCloud is more than accommodating when you have permission, and generally answer emails within 24 hours. Kaskade can also simply stop using samples or creating unofficial remixes, as hosting sounds that you don't have permission to use is against SoundCloud's Terms Of Service. Reinstating records that might have been blocked due to automatic detection from a label that you're signed to, or sounds that have been wrongly flagged is incredibly easy.
Kaskade spoke on hosting these tunes elsewhere, and as he's generated a huge fan base by evading copyright standards, he will have no problems whatsoever pulling his audience to wherever he wishes to place his content. Surely, unofficial remixes are still violations of copyright, but hosting these sounds on platforms that aren't obligated by labels to remove records that they aren't giving approval to host doesn't seem to be problematic yet.
All said, though most artists blame the platform instead of realizing that they shouldn't have ever uploaded the records in the first pleace, SoundCloud surely should have a rapport with the top 1% of accounts, and really could have taken the time to explain all of the above to sweep all of this under the carpet. They have a user with more than three quarters of a million followers that's upset, and that certainly doesn't make much sense.
All told, everyone on SoundCloud is held to the same standards, and a public cry or complaint when you're making tens of thousands of dollars a show is simply silly. If Kaskade strayed from the terms of service in order to generate a fan base and plays, he should be glad that his account still exists.
EDIT It's looking like the issue (or at least some of the issue) is due to tracks Kaskade might have uploaded that he put out with Ultra. Neither side have spoken about it outside of the below tweet, but that doesn't negate the concept of whitelisting when it comes to producers and record labels operating on SoundCloud.
— Kaskade (@kaskade) June 4, 2014