I presume that most 8tracks playlist makers got the same message in their email boxes on Friday. By the end of this summer, 8tracks users will no longer be able to access the SoundCloud API.
That means that, as of Saturday, July 24, 8trackers won’t be able to search for and add SoundCloud tunes straight from SoundCloud to their 8tracks playlists. “In addition, any previous uploads that had been supplanted with a SoundCloud track will revert to the original upload,” the announcement says. Then on September 30 all existing SoundCloud tracks will be dropped from 8tracks lists. Playlists that go below 8track’s eight song minimum will not play on Android or iOS mobile apps.
“We are thankful for your hard work in creating amazing playlists on 8tracks,” the 8tracks message adds. “We want to keep tracks and playlists playable, while making the transition as easy as possible for you.” 8tracks notes that over the last six months the operation has licensed tons of music from various companies (among them: INgrooves, CD Baby, Dim Mak, and DashGo). In addition, 8tracks has already been busy identifying SoundCloud tunes on playlists and replacing them with licensed content from the 8tracks music library. “We’ve already matched 90% of the SoundCloud tracks played over the last 6 months.”
Alas, 8tracks won’t be able to match some of the SoundCloud tunes on my three 8tracks playlists with something else, because those tracks are of me performing classical pieces on my Yamaha Clavinova, including one of my own compositions. Here’s my SoundCloud uploaded rendition of Faure’s Impromptu #3 in A flat major, which can be found on my La Belle Epoque 8tracks playlist. On September 30, this SoundCloud performance and others will presumably disappear from my 8tracks lists.
Please don’t mistake this for a boo-hoo-thanks-to-some-tech-company-my-career-is-over post. I am a certified don’t-quit-your-day-job amateur pianist. No career hopes flow from my SoundCloud performances. I also assume that I can upload my files directly to 8tracks and carry on from there. But part of the point of uploading content to SoundCloud was being able to integrate my amateur music elsewhere via one popular source. Now in this instance that’s over for me and presumably for many more serious artists who took advantage of the 8tracks/SoundCloud partnership of the last five years.
Why is this happening? 8tracks doesn’t really say beyond this oblique official explanation: “We’ve together concluded that the time has come for 8tracks to discontinue use of SoundCloud’s API.” TechCrunch quotes 8tracks CEO David Porter calling the reliance on SoundCloud “a bit of a drag” for various reasons. With the rise of subscription radio services, less users have audio files to upload to 8tracks or SoundCloud, it seems, so music libraries are more convenient to use. SoundCloud also removes tunes that violate copyright, making its cornucopia a bit unreliable (SoundCloud has come under lots of pressure from the big labels to tighten up its copyright policies).
For SoundCloud artists who may be affected by this change, 8tracks recommends the TuneCore distribution service: “$9.99 per single, $29.99 per album.” I’m not going to pay that, so for me, the DIY-music-sharing-for-fun landscape just got a bit smaller. On the other hand, maybe this is a wake up call for me to open a new YouTube account.