So it’s official: SoundCloud has entered the music subscription market in the US.
The following is a developing story. Please check for ongoing updates.
Early this (Tuesday) morning, SoundCloud launched a new subscription service to rival the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. That new service is called SoundCloud Go.
The launch has been highly anticipated for some time, and closely follows licensing tie-ups with major labels Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. The service includes a free 30-day trial, after which Go will charge $9.99 a month for web and Android, and $12.99 a month for iOS.
The reason for the elevated iOS charge, according to SoundCloud, is the surcharge pinned by the iTunes Store.
Go promises on-demand music, ad-free streaming and off-line playback like competing services. But SoundCloud is hoping that its huge catalog of more than 125 million songs will set it apart from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. Even better is what’s in that catalog: DJ mixes, user-generated content, and lots of unique content that makes this a differentiated, sought-after destination.
Accordingly, SoundCloud has the opportunity to be big in the music subscription market. The site already enjoys a massive following, and unique content is a major reason for that. Then, there’s the flexibility of a two-way platform: on SoundCloud, the user can create more varied playlists, while bundling DJ mixes and original tracks together.
Sounds great, though the $1 billion question is whether Go can effectively convert its 175 million monthly active users into paying customers. That’s an incredibly steep challenge, especially since this is a platform with a long-established reputation of being free. That suggests a small conversion rate, though even a small percentage of 175 million is a lot of paying users.