SoundCloud Goes Premium With Its New Service, SoundCloud Go

After months of speculations and unconfirmed reports, SoundCloud yesterday finally presented its new, premium tier service, dubbed SoundCloud Go. SoundCloud Go is the answer we waited for, offering users a relatively big premium-music library and the feature that everyone has been waited for, offline listening. This practically means that service will enter the on-demand services battle arena, an extremely crowded battlefield where making profit is hard and keeping the customers under your umbrella is even harder.

SoundCloud

On-demand streaming services that also offer users the option of downloading tracks and listening to them offline are getting better and better. The first logical choice (at least in most countries), Spotify is already built a huge user base, and it has more than 30 million tracks in its library. Play Music, an on-demand streaming service by Google also has a pretty good library (I personally use it and the option to upload your entire library for free is something I cherish dearly), Tidal offers its users a premium sound quality, and Apple Music has the best playlists, curated by respectable music names. All of them have at least 20 million songs in their libraries; bear in mind that their libraries are mostly made of premium music that can’t be accessed unless you buy it, or choose the monthly subscription. There are of course free options (at least with Spotify and Play Music) but they allow you to just listen to various radio stations with lots of ads between the songs.

So, is there some unique feat that will make SoundCloud Go the first choice for some people? Well, in short, not exactly. If you choose to pay the monthly subscription ($9.99 on Android, and the same price for iOS if you subscribe through SoundCloud’s website) you’ll get the ad-free experience that could also be enjoyed offline, like with every other service out there. The (wannabe) killer feature of SoundCloud Go is its humongous music library, consisting out of more than 125 million songs. Sounds inviting? Well, not exactly. You see, numbers aren’t everything; around 110 million songs are in fact tracks uploaded by users, making the actual premium music library, music released by major artists, counting only 15 million songs. And that isn’t everything.

If you try to find albums made by some top-tier (popularity, not quality-wise) artists you’ll probably be disappointed. There are some full albums, but most of the artists don’t have actual SoundCloud profiles where you can find their discography, most of their music is the music uploaded by users, very disappointing ( SoundCloud claims that the service just started and that more tracks are added every second, so this could change).  You see, most of the tracks offered on SoundCloud are remixes, and subscribing will get you many exclusive mixes, but the price of $10 per month is too much if the best thing you could get is a chance to hear exclusive mixes of Kanye’s songs that aren’t available elsewhere. If I want to hear that, I must be compensated financially and not the other way around. And if you like metal or rock music, don’t even think of subscribing. I searched for Iron Maiden, Slayer, Cult of Luna, Killswitch Engage; everyone except Slayer have official pages, but without full albums and with just a few songs (BTW, Iron Maiden have zero songs on their profile).

All in all, SoundCloud Go is a niche product. If you love hearing remixes, you’ll get the option of doing that offline and without ads, with some exclusive content. If you are more of a full album person, get away from it, at least for now. SoundCloud promises that more songs will be added in future, but until that happens premium tier is just unnecessary.

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