After years of rumors and cutting deals with major labels, SoundCloud has officially released its subscription service. SoundCloud Go is an ad-free service and will cost $9.99 per month for Android users and $12.99 for Apple users. If you already pay for the ability to upload unlimited content, the price per month comes at a cheaper rate. You get a free 30-day trial of the service.
But what’s so different about SoundCloud Go?
The way the streaming service is advertising on its website, you’re paying the money for an “expanded catalog,” “offline listening” and for ad-free content. The “expanded catalog” is listed on the site as: “From major labels to your friends’ recordings, SoundCloud Go’s got more of everything. Play full tracks, build playlists and share it all.” So, essentially, if you don’t use the paid service, it’ll be more difficult to access and discover tunes from all levels of the industry.
The offline listening is nice, but if we’re being real, it’s not often I’m trying to use when I’m “in the subway, off the grid or 30-thousand feet overhead.” The ad-free content is, again, a nice thought, but i can’t remember the last time I heard an ad on SoundCloud. (Although, those will probably increase along with this new service to try and get people to pay for the ad-free content.)
This is all being done because the company needs to generate revenue — plain and simple. SoundCloud has cut deals with all the major labels who were potential threats to limit the amount and type of music SoundCloud could stream. Thus, they need to make money to pay for those deals.
SoundCloud’s appeal has always been in its discovery algorithms. SoundCloud can take you on an endless ride through the Joe Schmo’s and Jane Doe’s of the Internet music world, enough to where being discovered on SoundCloud has nearly become its own genre. Spooky Black, Kehlani, Kevin Abstract and plenty more have seen their talents supported through the service, and these are the people who I really think this could effect. (Remember that kid that got signed because SoundCloud played his song after Kanye’s “Real Friends”?) If you’re not paying for the service, you may miss out, or artists may get missed out on, because these major labels are forcing SoundCloud’s hand in making extra money. SoundCloud is being forced to become just another streaming service in the sea of Spotify, Apple Music and TiDALs of the world.
But we’ll see where this heads. On immediate thought, this probably won’t bode too well for SoundCloud. But, it’ll probably keep its head above water for at least a while so it wouldn’t get shut down immediately due to backlash from major labels.
Head to SoundCloud’s website to learn more about SoundCloud Go, and good luck with your streaming.