SoundCloud gets radio feature

SoundCloud has joined almost every major audio streaming competitor with the launch of radio-listening service, Stations.

Available on its iOS and Android, Stations acts as a discovery tool on its mobile apps, allowing users to create radio stations based on any track, search term, or other content stream on SoundCloud.

Similar to features offered by Spotify, Play Music, Pandora and the now defunct Rdio, the move is seen as a strategic play to compete with streaming’s heavyweights. Late last month Apple announced its decision to fold its ad-supported iTunes Radio on January 28. The decision left the global 24/7 Beats 1 as the sole free-to-stream music service from the company.

SoundCloud has had a similar feature to Stations on its website via the Related Tracks option. Given the fact Related Tracks wasn’t available via the mobile app, this could very well be a glossy update to its previous offering. However, Stations is much more intuitive. Users can access a menu after searching for a term, one of the 100m tracks available, a content stream, or the users’ own Collection, and then click the “Start Station” button. Stations then remain in users’ Collections.

SoundCloud has been readying a paid premium tier for some time. Most recently it inked a licensing deal to give the streaming service full access to UMG’s catalogue. SoundCloud also has a licensing deal with Warner Music Group, which it finalised in 2014, and with global indie label representative Merlin. But in early 2015, Sony Music Entertainment pulled its entire catalogue from SoundCloud. It’s now the only major music company without a licensing agreement with the platform.

A paid subscription plan is expected to be introduced this year, with a focus on exclusive content for paying users and advertising targeted at its more than 175 million unique monthly listeners.

The Stations update is available from the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Read more in The Music Network here.

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