Soundcloud Presses Go on Sub Service

Music and audio streaming service SoundCloud has launched its long awaited subscription streaming service. Called Go, it will only be available in the United States first, costing $9.99 a month, or $12.99 for iOS devices to factor in Apple’s 30% share of in-app purchases.

It launched in a strong position to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. Its catalogue of 125 million tracks is quadruple that of its rivals. That in itself should persuade its 175 million users to start paying. (Spotify has 30 million subscribers and Apple Music 11 million). So too will feature as listening to content offline and ad-free uninterrupted listening.

The new service covers tracks from the three major labels Universal, Sony and Warner (who signed on because Go emphasises the value of money and opens up new commercial opportunities), countless independent companies through indie label licensing agency Merlin, rare or unreleased music, live DJ sets, remixers, mash-ups, podcasts and rap battles.

When it comes to mash-ups when the copyright owner is not immediately identifiable, SoundCloud will pool the money and share it on proportional SoundCloud market share.

Go has been in the works for two years. SoundCloud has been patiently working on drawn-out licensing with music rights holders. It also allows them to decide whether to place their material on SoundCloud’s free service, its subscription tier or both. It was this lack of choice which saw Taylor Swift famously pull her tracks off Spotify.

Says Eric Wahlforss, who co-founded SoundCloud in 2007 with fellow-Swede Alexander Ljung, “The deals were done to make SoundCloud Go a one-stop. You can find a new indie act’s debut track next to a one-hour DJ set next to something from Adele. The breadth of our catalogue is our point of difference from the others. We could be the ultimate music service.

“To us, SoundCloud Go is the future of music streaming. It allows creative people to be paid for their work, connect with their fans and collaborate with others, and for consumers to discover more new tracks and artists than ever before.”

What Wahlforss is eager about is that Go should finally allow SoundCloud to make money. He’s already talking about becoming the biggest money making music company.

In 2014, its last public financial statement, SoundCloud showed that its revenues were up 54% to €17.4 million (A$25.7 million). But its losses grew by 69% to €39.1 million ($57.8 million). Since 2009, the company has raised £111 million ($164.3 million) in funding.

It is expected that SoundCloud Go will roll out shortly in the UK. No Australian release date has been firmed.
Read more in The Music Network here.

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