Soundcloud just introduced a $US10 ($13) per month streaming music service in the US called Go ($US13 [$17] if you sign up through the iOS app), which adds only two new features to the existing offering: the ability to listen ad-free and download music for listening offline. Is it dead in the water? Oy Soundcloud.
Soundcloud has been struggling over the last few years to find its groove in a streaming world increasingly dominated by Spotify and Apple Music, which get bigger every day. Once upon a time, Soundcloud was the wonderful home to communities of DJs, experimental acts and no-name indie bands. These communities, while vital, didn’t support any kind of a business model, and in the case of the DJs, actually caused Soundcloud headaches due to the carefree practice of using lots and lots of uncleared samples. Remixes and podcasts would be taken down over complaints from labels, users would get upset and Soundcloud wouldn’t make a cent for the trouble.
Soundcloud’s been trying to remedy the situation by negotiating licensing contracts with major labels and introducing advertising. $US13 ($17) per month seems to be the next step in the frustratingly futile quest to make a beautiful idea profitable. Soundcloud Go is currently only available in the US, but there’s no way in hell I’m signing up for this service anyway. While I wish the crazy geniuses who’ve built their homes on Soundcloud glowing orange platform the best, I can’t help but feel like we’re heading towards the end.