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SoundCloud launches paid streaming service

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016 By Danielle McGrane

SoundCloud is launching a new version of the music service in Australia and New Zealand similar to music streaming platforms Apple Music and Spotify.

SoundCloud Go is a subscription service that offers an expanded catalogue of 135 million tracks from established and emerging artists for a monthly fee of $11.99/NZ$12.99 while the existing free service will include some advertising.

It's a bold move from the music site, which since its inception in 2008, has been known as a platform for emerging and unsigned artists where they can upload their creations alongside those of major artists such as Kanye West and Ariana Grande who often use it to drop remixes or new tracks.

Aussie DJ Flume released some of his first music on the platform.

Now this online community of freely shared music is entering the realm of paid content, having launched in the US, France, the UK and Ireland earlier this year.

But is this move likely to challenge SoundCloud's raison d'etre and scare off some of its 175 million users?

"The thing that's been important for us, going back to how we started is, what works for creators? And how do we build our revenue stream as much for us as for the creators who use the platform?" SoundCloud's co-founder and CEO Alexander Ljung told AAP.

"So SoundCloud Go is a big piece of that and what it really is, is our way of saying this is the best way to monetise music on the platform across all the different users that we want to monetise, and that's users in subscription and users with advertising."

SoundCloud's free version will remain but will have advertising in a range of formats including audio advertising and native advertising, in which brands pair up with artists and sponsor a track.

"One thing we have which is very unique is that people know that SoundCloud stands for creators, so I think a lot of consumers understand that advertising and subscription is something that works for creators," Ljung said.

"What we often say is `Every time an ad gets played, an artist gets paid'."

The creators have partnered with major record companies including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group to gain access to the back catalogues of major artists.

"Different artists will have different set-ups. Some have a label, some don't, so we try to cater for the whole spectrum," Ljung said.

"Some people are signed up through their labels, through companies they have, some are signed up directly with us."

Emerging independent artists who wanted the chance to be paid could apply to a program called On SoundCloud and, once accepted, they had the choice to enable monetisation for their music.

Much like Spotify and Apple Music, SoundCloud Go has also introduced classic formats including albums and a radio service catered to the user's taste.

There is also an option for offline listening for subscribers.

*A 30-day free trial of SoundCloud Go will be available, after that it will cost $11.99/NZ$12.99 per per month. If users sign up via Apple's iOS system via the App Store they incur a surcharge raising the cost to (AU$14.99 / NZ$17.99 per month). Avoid that by visiting

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