The Streaming music war is still being raged.
SoundCloud often billed as the “YouTube for audio” because of its huge trove of
user-generated music and spoken-word tracks, uploaded by some 12 million creators and now
listened to by over 175 million monthly users globally. Today is unveiling their new subscription
service which puts them in direct competition with streaming giants like Spotify, Apple
Music and Deezer. SoundCloud Go will give users access to some
125 million tracks including premium licensed content on demand, starting first in the U.S.
at $9.99 per month (or $12.99 on the iOS app after Apple’s transaction fee). On top of
the existing SoundCloud user generated content trove, subscribers get tens of millions of
on-demand premium tracks, along with offline listening, and no ads.
Those who don’t have the cash money and choose to stay on SoundCloud’s free tier
will still see ads, and will get a very reduced number of new premium content tracks with
a strong mix of user generated content as well. For example, an artist keen on promoting
a single track from a new album might choose to put that track into the free tier, while
the rest of their work is only available in Go.
All said, today’s Go launch is not SoundCloud’s first subscription service as such: SoundCloud
Pro, which aims at creators rather than consumers gives people the ability to upload more than
the standard 12 hours of audio, plus analytics and more content controls.
The launch of Go is a long-time coming: it was leaked back in July 2015 and ever since
the company has been signing deals with record labels, including Sony, to get the service
off the ground. To make a streaming service possible, SoundCloud has had to repair some
serious bad vibes it has had with rights holders, who pulled their music off the platform in
the past because it was impossible to collect royalties on tracks when they popped up on
SoundCloud. SoundCloud is a very late entrant to the streaming
race. Will they be able to take on Spotify of even Apple Music? We will see. The services
boasts 125 million tracks, 30 million paying users and 75 million total users, which seems
like a lot to me. The UGC element also helps the service appeal to fans looking for content
they can’t find anywhere else.