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SoundCloud to let users license content for commercial use through Getty

SoundCloud users, both casual and professional, now have the opportunity to license their original music or sound effects through the company's new partnership with Getty Images Music.

The partnership aims not only to provide fresh, unique audio to users, but to remove the traditional licensing barriers often placed on visual projects.

Visit the new joint site to sign in and access your files, then choose which sounds you want to make available for listening. Those choices will sport a "license" button on the SoundCloud player and widget, and those selected by Getty Images can be used by media, advertisers, designers, and other creative types.

In a SoundCloud file posted by CEO Alexander Ljung and Getty Images COO Nick Evans-Lombre, the execs touted the new service as a fresh channel for artists to distribute their audio, and a place for content creators to discover new music.

"SoundCloud is a powerful, innovative brand, and here at Getty Images, we're thrilled to be partnering with them," Evans-Lombre said.

Ljung echoed his statements. "Music, audio, sound effects — all of this can now go into the amazing collection of Getty," Ljung said.

Getty Images will serve as a commercial rights manager of the audio content selected from SoundCloud, ensuring all tracks are available for safe commercial use by customers. SoundCloud users will retain assistance from Getty's global sales and distribution teams to help market their sounds.

"We hope you get your sound into some exciting productions out there," Ljung said. "Or, if you're creating productions, manage to find the sound effects or the music you're looking for."

Getty is no stranger to building collections via collaborators. In the fall of 2009, the images arm of the site partnered with Yahoo's Flickr, inviting users to submit up to 10 images for consideration. Getty became the exclusive commercial rights manager to those photos deemed worthy of a licensing deal. As of November 2009, Getty Images had amassed more than 60,000 images.

In other music news, Pandora chief Tim Westergren today penned a blog post that touched on what he considers to be unfair royalty rates for Internet radio. Companies like Pandora pay up to $3 million (£1.9 million) in annual fees per top artist, while traditional radio stations pay substantially less, he said.

Westergren is not against royalty rates; the few thousand dollars that some artists get from firms like Pandora can mean "the difference between making music an a vocation and a hobby," he wrote. But "since Pandora accounts for just 6.53 percent of all radio listening in the US, it seems fundamentally unfair that other forms of radio that represent much larger shares of US radio listening pay substantially less to artists," he said.

This is not a new issue; Pandora has been fighting the battle since at least 2008. But Westergren still urged Congress to "stop the discrimination against internet radio and allow it to operate on a level playing field, under the same rules as other forms of digital radio."