SoundCloud launches its paid subscription service ‘SoundCloud Go’

Overnight, SoundCloud announced that it’s finally launching its paid subscription service SoundCloud Go, after years of speculation about the company’s future.

The music streaming site – which hosts uploaded tracks by everyone from megastars to emerging musicians, unlicensed bootlegs and mixes, live sets and more – had been plagued with troubles for years. Besides the near-constant takedown notices by major labels for copyright infringement (which caused some artists to quit the site in frustration as their own tracks or remixes were deleted), there was also the unfortunate fact that it just wasn’t making money.

SoundCloud first hinted that it would move towards a paid premium subscription model way back in 2014. In a post to the SoundCloud blog overnight, the site confirmed the launch of its new subscription service, available at first for the US only, with other territories to come.

And if you don’t want to pay then don’t stress – you can still use SoundCloud, you just won’t have the same level of access as paid subscribers.

The US$10 (AUD$13) a month subscription fee gets you “uninterrupted, ad-free listening,” the opportunity to download tracks to listen offline, and “even more tracks from emerging and established creators.” As SoundCloud co-founder Eric Wahlforss told Wired, it means that artists can decide which tracks to release to the general SoundCloud populace, and which will be hidden behind the paywall for subscribers only.

Wahlforss is adamant that SoundCloud won’t lose the bootlegs, mashups and mix uploads that made it the dance music community’s go-to site in the first place. Instead, the deals with major labels mean that the unlicensed content can sit happily side-by-side with the originals, while the artists and labels get their paycheque from subscription fees.

“All of that stuff [remixes, DJ mixes, etc] can live now on the platform side by side with premium content,” Wahlforss told Wired. “A lot of people might think, ‘Oh, they’re getting further away from their path.’ But actually this gets us very much closer to our vision. And it’s very positive for DJs.”

The licensing agreements with labels like UMG, Sony, Merlin and Warner mean there’ll also be a whole lot more music available for subscribers, alongside the bedroom acts you won’t find on Spotify or other major streaming competitors. Head over to the SoundCloud blog to read more about the new paid listener service.