A month after the U.S. release of SoundCloud Go, a premium ad-free subscription for the Berlin-based music streaming service, SoundCloud has announced further international releases of the SoundCloud Go program in the UK and Ireland.
This announcement follows the agreement reached in December between SoundCloud and Performing Rights Society, a UK music licensing group. SoundCloud Go is priced at $9.99 per month in the U.S., £9.99 ($14.64) per month in the UK, and €9.99 ($11.50) per month in Ireland.
The SoundCloud service currently offers over 125 million songs by over 12 million artists, including music from Sony/ATV music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, along with a multitude of independent artists. SoundCloud always differentiated itself from competitors such as Apple Music or Spotify through its large selection of independent artists.
SoundCloud provides easy to use self-publishing tools that enable anyone to upload songs to the service and build a fan base. It also gives artists full control over how their music gets distributed. Through this grassroots, artist-centric approach, SoundCloud has grown to over 175 million monthly listeners. Still, it is late to the party when compared to other large music streaming services.
SoundCloud does have one major hidden trump card as it enters the streaming music market. Spotify, Apple Music, and others maintain control over the distribution of the hosted music. Artists who release on Spotify have to release their album to both free and ad-supported as well as subscription based users. SoundCloud, however, offers users a choice.
"It's all of the big artists, and it's more of the established artists [sic] repertoire than what you would have on Spotify, and the reason is simple: We give all the power to the artists and the rights holders," explained SoundCloud co-founder, Eric Wahlforss, about the publishing model.
In short, artists have full rights to decide which users can access their music. An artist may choose to release every song on the ad-supported free service, or simply release one's latest album exclusively, for paid subscribers to enjoy.
SoundCloud's launch in Ireland and the UK is the first step in its plans for a full global rollout of the subscription service. In a statement to Reuters, the company indicated that it was targeting multiple territories and markets this year and will look to expand globally over the next few years.