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Twitter may buy SoundCloud, could force a copyright crackdown

Tech news site Re/code recently reported that, according to “people familiar with both companies,” Twitter may be considering a deal to buy SoundCloud, the dance music world’s preferred platform for sharing mixes, new tracks, bootlegs and remixes.

SoundCloud was recently valued at US$700 million, and both Twitter and SoundCloud report roughly the same amount of users: around 250 million worldwide. Twitter launched its own stand-alone app to play share and music last year, but Twitter Music flopped and was canned this March. According to a recent survey, Twitter users share links from SoundCloud more than any other streaming service, so its acquisition by Twitter makes sense and would also give SoundCloud access to Twitter’s significantly larger advertising infrastructure.

The deal could cause problems for SoundCloud users posting copyrighted music, however, in particular DJs posting mixes and producers posting bootlegged edits and remixes. At present SoundCloud doesn’t hold any licensing deals with major labels and uses an automated system to identify known copyrighted work; its acquisition by Twitter could force SoundCloud to acquire licenses and crack down more thoroughly on the posting of copyrighted content.

According to Re/code, the issue of copyright licenses prevented Twitter from forming a partnership with SoundCloud when it launched Twitter Music last year. So far both Twitter and SoundCloud have declined to comment on the rumours of a deal; we’ll update as more information becomes available.

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