SoundCloud is expanding its artist services business globally by entering into a joint venture with Jax Jones’ and Dan Stacey’s UK-based, dance-focused record label, WUGD (What You Gonna Do) Ltd.
DJ, songwriter, and producer Jax Jones launched WUGD in 2021 alongside Dan Stacey, the founder of Loving Alliance, which is home to artists like Riton, D.O.D, rising star Hannah Laing, and Jax Jones himself.
SoundCloud says it has teamed up with WUGD “to discover, nurture, and invest in emerging electronic music artists featured on the platform internationally”.
SoundCloud’s deal with WUGD comes a year after SoundCloud signed an artist-signing joint venture with Solid Foundation, the management and creative services arm of Atlanta rap powerhouse QC Media Holdings (Quality Control).
Just last week, HYBE America, led by CEO Scooter Braun, agreed to acquire Quality Control, home to acts such as Lil Baby, Migos, Lil Yachty and City Girls, from its owners, respected music industry veterans Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas.
A SoundCloud spokesperson says the recent acquisition by HYBE does not affect Coach K and P’s relationship with SoundCloud going forward.
SoundCloud notes that Dan Stacey “has been an influential figure in UK music” stretching back over 20 years to his time as Music Editor of i-D Magazine and A&R at 679 Recordings, where he signed prominent artists Kano and Plan B.
First with his company Hardlivings and now Loving Alliance, his Grammy-winning and nominated artists have been responsible for over 30 Top 20 singles on the UK’s Official Singles Chart, and over 12 billion global streams.
Jax Jones, meanwhile, is a multi-Grammy, Ivor Novello, and Brit-nominated artist have racked up 8 billion streams globally, 15 platinum singles in the UK, and his debut album Snacks was the biggest-selling dance album in the UK in 2019 and 2020.
SoundCloud’s current model has two distinct sides:
- (i) A user-facing streaming service, which offers both ad-supported and subscription (SoundCloud Go+) income streams; and
- (ii) An artist services business, under which indie artists can not only upload their music direct to SoundCloud, but also distribute their tracks to rival services like Spotify. SoundCloud also offers additional tools and resources to indie artists under the ‘SoundCloud for Artists’ brand.
SoundCloud also launched a top-tier of artist service offerings, known as its “roster” last year. Under these “roster” deals, particularly successful independent artists ‘sign’ direct to SoundCloud, with the company paying advances, investing in artist marketing etc. just as a traditional record label might.
Writing in a blog post at the time, Tracy Chan, SoundCloud’s Senior Vice President of Creator, (and former Head of Music at Twitch), called SoundCloud for Artists “an elevated, all-in-one platform for artists to connect with fans and accelerate their careers”.
He added that, “SoundCloud for Artists is now your centralized home for all things distribution, promotion, monetization, and more”.
Commenting on the deal with WUGD, Jessica Rivera, SoundCloud Global SVP & General Manager, said: “WUGD’s genuine approach and commitment to supporting artists makes them an ideal SoundCloud partner as we continue to expand our offerings and provide the resources they need to build sustainable careers.
“WUGD’s genuine approach and commitment to supporting artists makes them an ideal SoundCloud partner as we continue to expand our offerings and provide the resources they need to build sustainable careers.”
Jessica Rivera, SoundCloud
Added Rivera: “Jon Vick, our Director of Roster International, was the lead in our effort to bring this deal to life, which will tap Jax Jones and Dan Stacey as key advisors within the dance music space, a highly engaged community on SoundCloud in the UK and internationally.”
“Jax and I started WUGD to nurture and empower new talent, and this partnership with SoundCloud expands on our commitment to artists, providing the perfect space for them to develop and flourish.”
Dan Stacey, WUGD
Dan Stacey, Co-President of WUGD Ltd, added: “SoundCloud has the biggest community of new dance music artists on any platform today.
“Jax and I started WUGD to nurture and empower new talent, and this partnership with SoundCloud expands on our commitment to artists, providing the perfect space for them to develop and flourish.
“We all had important mentors who lifted us up on our journeys and we will do the same in kind here. In this partnership, we look forward to investing in new artists and introducing them into the wider industry – from mentorship to distribution and marketing .”Music Business Worldwide