Ian Greaves - Soundcloud

Ian Greaves, Director, Global Commercial Partnerships at SoundCloud


-What first led you to working in retail?

My obsession with music! I started out music programming on radio and TV. Then migrated into digital at the very start of music streaming in the mid noughties.


-How long have you been at SoundCloud and what's your role?
I have been at SoundCloud for 4 years. I am in our Music Team heading up Global Commercial Label Partnerships and Label Relations.


- How long have SoundCloud been selling entertainment?

Our company was founded and built on helping artists share and connect through music. We don’t consider ourselves as selling entertainment per se but we do offer subscription-level tools and services for every stage of an artist’s career (Next, Next Plus, Next Pro) and have two levels of fan subscriptions (Go and Go+). We launched our subscription services in 2016


- What do you love most about your job? 

I have a passion for music discovery and helping artists to grow. SoundCloud operates so differently to other music services with the community feel and I love how we can noticeably make a positive impact for artists by working closely with label partners to help connect artists and fans. SoundCloud is becoming ever more culturally relevant, exposing future hits within Electronic and Hip Hop genres in particular, and that’s super exciting.


- What is the main challenge for digital streaming platforms today?

The economics of streaming is not sustainable. The vast majority of artists cannot make a living wage, so new royalty models that are more equitable and transparent are imminent. As we see more experimentation in the coming years, I think streaming platforms will have to follow suit and rethink both their payout system and artist offerings. As royalty models develop, DSPs will need to rethink their value offer beyond royalties.


- Who is your favourite entertainment retailer and why?

It has to be HMV. Despite working in digital for many years, I still love owning physical music and merch. I have a lot of respect for how HMV has adapted in recent years and continues to offer music and entertainment on many high streets whilst other sectors have disappeared.


- Which non-entertainment retailer do you admire and why?

LUSH – The most recognisable store by the sense of smell! I admire them for their personal touches, ethical values and constantly re-imagined soaps.

- What was the first ever film, album and game you owned and where did you buy them? 

Haha, this will show my age!

Film: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure from an independent retailer

Album: Kylie Minogue ‘Kylie’ from Woolworths

Game: Football Director for the ZX Spectrum. There used to be an independent computer store in my home town with an exciting shelf of games on cassette!


- You’re stuck in a lift. Name the album, film, book, game and person that you would like to have with you.

Album: Lola Young ‘My Mind Wanders and Sometimes Leaves Completely’

Film: ‘North By Northwest’

Book: ‘The Yes Man’ by Danny Wallace

Game: Mario Odyessy for Nintendo Switch

Person: Peter Kay


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