Following on from the decision by Sony to remove tracks by its artists from SoundCloud (citing "a lack of monetization opportunities"), a contract has been leaked that may well help to entice the label back.

First and foremost, it seems SoundCloud will be offering to pay out 10.5% of their revenue (including ads), or 22% of what they make on sound recording rights, depending on which is higher.

It goes on to detail an ad-supported free service in the future, with two premium tiers for subscribers; one, known as "Additional Services", would allow users an ad-free experience with a number of free downloads per month; the other, the "SoundCloud Full Catalog Subscription Service", would offer an even wider array of music, at a higher per-month fee for the user.

The crux of the matter here is the way SoundCloud intend to pay labels. The contract estimates that labels could take $0.18 per individual subscription to "Additional Services" per month, and $0.80 per "SoundCloud Full Catalog Subscription Service", only provided however that this is a larger amount than that month's income from recording rights.

In addition, SoundCloud are offering $350,000 to the group of labels (part of the National Music Publishers' Association, or NMPA) as an advance regarding the compensation outlined above, to be doled out between labels based on the market share of whose music is listened to online.

For something that didn't begin as a project pandering to major labels, it seems a shame (or is it progress?) that a service more associated with label-less artists and independent labels who don't even belong to any "association" should now be drawing up contracts of this magnitude — but hey! That's business!

If you have a spare minute or thirty, feel free to peruse the legalese of the 19-page contract below.

SoundCloud NMPA Umbrella Agreement