SoundCloud Go

Today is a big day for our portfolio company SoundCloud. They are launching SoundCloud Go in the US today. They plan to launch SoundCloud Go in other parts of the world as soon as they can get the rights together to do so.

SoundCloud Go is the ultimate music service, giving listeners access to 125 million tracks from all over the world, offline or online, and ad-free. For comparison, traditional music subscription services, like Spotify and Apple Music, offer access to roughly 35 million tracks and internet radio services, like Pandora, offer access to roughly 2 million tracks.

I’ve had beta access to SoundCloud Go for the past month and it is an entirely different experience than the other premium music services. Here are some of the things you can only do on SoundCloud Go:

  1. build a playlist that includes the top hits, emerging unsigned artists, and remixes and listen to it on the subway to work
  2. stream your favorite podcasts online or offline and ad free
  3. listen to mixtapes legally in a way that honors the rights of the underlying content creators
  4. start a listening experience with a top hit and find emerging artists that are similar

You can either build a content platform on the internet top down or bottom up. It is easier to do it top down, going to the industry for the content. But it is better to do it bottom up, going directly to the creators for the content. Because a service with an upload button in it is fundamentally different than a service without one.

The bottom up approach can be harder to pull off, but the services that have done it like YouTube and SoundCloud are special.

I am listening to my favorites on SoundCloud Go while I write this. In that playlist I have KanyeΒ and I have my friend Noah who grew up with my son and is an emerging artist. Both Kanye and Noah have profiles on SoundCloud. Both Kanye and Noah upload tracks they make to SoundCloud. So SoundCloud Go is the democratic, open, all inclusive music service, built for creators first and foremost, but also perfect for listeners.

To try SoundCloud today, go toΒ It is $9.99 on desktop and Android. If you are an iOS user, I would recommend you subscribe on web and then enjoy on your mobile. There is a 30 day free trial. I hope you enjoy SoundCloud Go as much as I do.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield


    1. William Mougayar

      Too bad you’re in Canada, you can’t try it! Now you know how we feel sometimes πŸ™‚

      1. JimHirshfield

        I know! But thankfully it’s a temporary condition in my case.

        1. William Mougayar

          yup, thanks for rubbing it in.

          1. Brandon G. Donnelly


          2. William Mougayar

            try with Hola on desktop; you can get it.

          3. JimHirshfield

            Like anti-itch cream, rub it in until the irritation goes away.

        2. William Mougayar

          not so fast. i can get it with Hola πŸ™‚

      2. JLM

        . MergerJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. William Mougayar

          you’re relentless

  2. markslater

    We’ve been toying with the notion that Creators can and will benefit from vetting snippets from experts. Grab 10 minutes of an “expert” (recognized artist) time where he / she can provide feedback on your creative for a small fee….these experts get hundreds and thousands of requests per day to “listen to stuff” and have no incentive to really do so. Strikes me that they could spend an hour or so a day providing feedback for small $$ (like 10 bucks for 10 mins)….

    1. Jake Baker

      A great idea. I would think this also scales in an interesting way — perhaps as a producer Pharrell’s feedback is 10x or 100x or 1000x more valuable than a more generic performer. Ashton Kutcher’s group could be a great finder to back this in the early days.

      1. markslater

        exactly – i have friends in the business – they would be delighted to make extra $ per day (a couple of hours) – and there seems to be remnant inventory for the service…

    2. falicon

      check out (I think this is something along the lines of what you are talking about)

      1. markslater

        thanks – this seems like its in the general area – except that their marketplace is turked and not matching notables with up and comers…

        1. falicon

          Yeah – there are a few other players in this general space as well.I think the challenge is that most artists don’t really have money (or time) to get their stuff evaluated…or really know what to do with the data/results once they do. So the key to making any of this work is figuring out who really can/will pay for stuff (and what value they are getting out of that so that you can properly set prices, expectations, and identify who/how to target sales)

  3. whitneymcn

    So I saw a post about the iOS update leaking the existence of the service early this morning, which got me wondering:A question: would it be possible for Soundcloud to structure their license deals such that they cover users hosting content on the service?β€” Whitney McNamara (@whitneymcn:disqus ) March 29, 2016<script async=”” src=”//…” charset=”utf-8″></script>Glad to see that the answer to my question seems to be “yes.” πŸ™‚

  4. Brandon G. Donnelly

    love the point about top down vs. bottom someone who has been focused specifically on real estate products, i feel like everything that’s out there is top down. but the real opportunity is for someone to pull off bottom up.

    1. Jake Baker

      I would love more detail on the bottom up approach applied to real estate – any thoughts you are willing to share would be highly valued! A very thought provoking concept!

      1. Noah Rosenblatt

        Brandon & Jake – Curious your thoughts on residential side of re markets. So at urbandigs, we have a new platform coming soon that is a bottom up approach for Manhattan re markets. If I were to summarize, we first cleansed the dirty data in Manhattan, built a real-time hyperlocal charting system, and then engineered price models so that users can price an apt. Took years just to engineer the integrity issues out of the pipes that feed Manhattan real estate data to achieve these main elements.Then, we built a new collaborative ecosystem (mobile + desktop) that is launching in Fall and will let producers & consumers co-search, co-share, co-organize, co-analyze, co-comp, co-plan appointments/OHs, etc.. Both consumers & producers have their own user-flows throughout. The bottom up approach is seen as both the consumer & producer search.For example, say you are on property page for a 1bed, 1bath, coop in Chelsea. From that page we know the individual attributes that the user tends to like/love and then you can (i) identify similar config sales in the bldg & the nhood, (ii) see bldg trends + nhood trends over 5yr period, (ii) view most comparable listings & sales, (iv) begin a comps analysis (select comps + adjust for differences), (v) when comps report done, users can get a bldg snapshot + nhood report + industry report that is automatically configured based on attributes of subject property, etc.. The way most listings sites are designed now, these main analytics are missing and consumers/producers have to go to another resource to gain these kinds of insights.Sorry for long comment, but im curious to your thoughts on the short summary noted here.

        1. Brandon G. Donnelly

          so, property page = listing? where are you getting your listings from? thanks.

          1. Noah Rosenblatt

            can you please email me directly. noah at urbandigs dot com. thx

      2. Brandon G. Donnelly

        hey jake, what’s your email address? i’ll send you a prototype.

  5. Salt Shaker

    SC certainly appears to offer some advantages over other streaming services, particularly w/ respect to mix tapes, but how large an upside, if any, is there between a service that provides 2M tracks vs. one that offers 125M? All in favor of broader choice, but a vast majority of listeners will be satiated at the 2M level. Which leads to my second point, is the market robust enough to successfully sustain so many players (e.g., SC, Spotify, You Tube, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal). Pandora appears to be now in play, primarily cause it can’t get enough listeners to convert to its premium pay service. I continue to believe a two-tiered free/premium model was the wrong approach for the industry, but that cat’s out of the bag long ago. The price/value on premium just isn’t great enough to drive subscription for too many (as executed), while an ad rev model has a ceiling, particularly w/ so much fragmentation.

  6. William Mougayar

    125M vs. 35M or 2M for the others. wow. that’s a less known fact (at least I didn’t know).Sounds like SoundCloud has the Long Tail of music covered, closer to YouTube in that regard.

    1. Ben Kinnard

      although it sounds impressive it is also irrelevant – just like when Android and iOS were competing on the number of apps on each platform – once it goes over a million its irrelevant as they both have everything you want.Apparently 4 million songs on Spotify have never been played even once

      1. falicon


      2. LE

        Agree size of catalog is an old school metric.Apparently 4 million songs on Spotify have never been played even onceHard to believe that stat and makes you think the songs are posted by bots.

        1. whitneymcn

          It’s not that hard to believe when you think about how music gets onto Spotify: a label cuts a deal, then everything that they’ve ever released (assuming they have digital copies available) goes up on Spotify. It’s to the label’s benefit to upload everything, because the cost of doing so is vanishingly small, and every track represents potential — if largely theoretical — revenue.But the flip side of that is that most records haven’t sold a copy or had a listener in a long, long time, even in the pre-streaming era. Just running quickly through I got:- Guitar music from Ecuador, recorded in the mid-’70s.- “Yeah I Want My Cake” by Tennis and the Mennonites. (Awesome name.)- The demo version of “Bone Breaker” by a band named “Kreator.”- A mid-’60s folk song by Mickey Miller (released on Folkways!)Sadly, none of these songs are anything that anyone is actively looking for these days, and it doesn’t seem surprising to me that they’ve never (yet) been played on Spotify.

          1. LE

            Great points that I hadn’t thought of. My assumption was the songs were posted by creators like videos on youtube and as such you would expect that they would watch it, or begin to roll it, for even a few seconds.

      3. Susan Rubinsky

        And yet, there are hundreds and hundreds of songs I want to play that are only available if I rip them myself from a CD.

      4. fredwilson

        that’s not true. most of my favorites (over 90% of them) are tracks you can’t find anywhere other than soundcloud

    2. falicon

      The long tail only helps if you have amazing search & discovery features…otherwise, the long tail (and the noise it brings) actually kills you.BTW – *This* is one of the real problems that Twitter has always struggled with…they have a long tail and it constantly knocks them around because they’ve never really mastered search & discovery within it.Anyway – from everything Fred (and others around here) has said, SoundCloud actually has pretty good search & discovery so their long tail might actually be a huge advantage.(Though I haven’t personally found that to be the case yet — in fact, in my personal experiences I’ve experienced more noise/junk than joy from my *limited* SoundCloud experiences. I fully blame myself for that though; quite sure I’m doing it wrong.)

      1. Sebastien Latapie

        Agree with the above! I use the service quite a bit, but still find those limitations key. Discovery is great, my stream always helps me find new people and new music – but the search experience once you have stuff you like is miserable. It’s frustrating to have to re-create a playlist with the entire album you want instead of it automatically being populated.Sometimes you don’t want to be in discovery mode and just want to listen to what you know.

      2. Chimpwithcans

        Totally with you on this one. Lots of long tail music doesn’t = a good experience. Tidal my favourite service so far.

  7. Evan Hill-Ries

    Absolutely agree that an upload button makes all the difference. TBF, Google Play Music is another bottom-up service by that definition; it’s always allowed you to upload your own existing music collection. I can see how SoundCloud’s approach might end up being better, but I’ve been doing offline playlists of originals, remixes, and underground stuff together for years, and indeed, I wouldn’t give it up for all the Spotify friends in the world.

    1. Noah Rosenblatt

      will 2nd Google Play as a nice bottom up service. I find that experience a good one, especially for starting stations from an artist or from a specific song. Looking forward to trying soundcloud though and see it how it compares. Im still waiting for a service that knows what artists I love and somehow finds unique live concerts or live songs that I otherwise would have missed, and pushes those as a separate option. Guess im biased towards live music though.

  8. kevando

    I was just about to start making my Coachella playlist in Spotify.. Going to try this instead!

  9. pointsnfigures

    Listened to a Jerry Colonna Reboot podcast on my drive down to Champaign, IL this morning.

  10. Sebastien Latapie

    That is great news, but until some functionality is improved, it doesn’t matter how many tracks Soundcloud has. As much as I enjoy Soundcloud, my biggest gripe is this:There is no efficient way for me to find the music I have already liked.I’m always in the process of re-searching for tracks that I know I’ve already “saved”. On iTunes I can easily sort by artist, genre, date added, plays, etc… all filters that allow me to quickly find what I want. There is no such feature in Soundcloud. While their discovery process is great, it doesn’t help me create an evolving library. It’s difficult and cumbersome for me to remember each and every track name / artist. I may be missing something, but until I figure out how to do the above, I’ll likely be staying with something else.

    1. fredwilson

      just go to your collection. all of your likes are there.

      1. Sebastien Latapie

        I should have been more specific – my biggest trouble is finding music and tracks within the songs that I have liked. It does not help me to have a single list of all the songs I have liked, I need a way to filter and search through them.I have about 250 liked songs right now, and its almost impossible to find the specific track I want. Compare that to my iTunes library of over 8,000 songs where I have no trouble quickly filtering to the artist / album / track that I want

  11. Todd Wascom

    Unless I missed something obvious, using the SC search feature I was only able to find a handful of songs from Zac Brown and Metallica. Four songs from a Grammy winning artist (Zac Brown Band) and maybe a dozen from one of the most influential rock bands of all time? Please tell me I’m missing something (like the ability to search by album). I understanding licensing and all that good stuff but to swim in the deep end of the pool these are table stakes…

  12. Nick Terzo

    Always grateful for your insights and sharing. One day soon, may the investor community come to realize quantity doesn’t really have the same value vs. curation/quality. This from a Soundcloud fan.

  13. Pete Griffiths

    There is one major issue with having that many songs. The IP for sounds is incredibly complex. It is a bundle of rights and most people don’t understand them at all well. Administering those rights for 125m songs is a truly onerous task. The company may have this covered but I will not be at all surprised to see lawsuits.

  14. Kirsten Lambertsen

    “… a service with an upload button in it is fundamentally different than a service without one.” _Drops the mic._Long live the long tail.Have you checked out ?

  15. jedd

    Oh god, another streaming service. Soundcloud is always buggy. Never streams smoothly.I don’t see this company surviving. Maybe a quick flip.

    1. fredwilson

      i think you will see massive improvement on that very soon.

  16. WA

    Why settle for a few million when I can have an 1/8 of a billion to play with…wow. Didn’t know I needed it until I knew I could have it. Very Jobesque…nice. Okay, I am all in.

  17. Paul Sanwald

    I’m not happy with apple music (switched from rdio which I loved), don’t like spotify, so this is GREAT news for me. Looking forward to signing up (as a musician myself, I’ve used soundcloud for years).

  18. Brian Levine

    Big day indeed, Fred! I’ve been waiting for this. Offline clearly the killer feature and only thing that was keeping Soundcloud out as my primary listening tool….My question to you….I notice that when you search an artist the tracks seem randomly listed. Is there any sense to categorization by album?Ex: If you look at Kanye’s page the tracks are in no sense of order – random tracks from random albums. I understand the point of soundcloud is “tracks” over “albums” but I thinks seeing tracks in context seems logical. Is this something they’re working on?

    1. fredwilson

      yup. very much so.

      1. Chimpwithcans

        That’s a relief – the organisation of tracks into neat packages is soooooo important for soundcloud to get right….imo

  19. Aaron Loring Davis

    This statement needs an asterisk – “listen to mixtapes legally in a way that honors the rights of the underlying content creators”Fundamentally, mixtapes are most often illegal, as one would need permission BEFORE sampling another work, not AFTER. SoundCloud and YouTube have made the monetization of such ‘ok’, but not without a raised brow from the labels. The labels always have the right to block/takedown if they so choose, however most opt to take the money.Further, only the master license holder (Record Label) is able to manage licensing. On the publishing side, the composition is only monetized if 100% of the song has been cleared and is done via a compulsory NOI (Notice of Intent). So if there are two writers and one can’t be reached or isn’t keen, the work is unable to be monetized.This is similar to the methodology that YouTube used in the early days, but have since incorporated the ability to claim ownership on portions of compositions through the CMS.I hope and believe SoundCloud will follow suit.Disclaimer – I am CEO and Co-Founder of Exploration which is both a SoundCloud and YouTube platform partner.

    1. fredwilson

      the deals soundcloud made with the labels cover “derivative content” and the licenses necessary to monetize it. this is a big deal.

      1. Aaron Loring Davis

        Thanks, Fred! That makes a big difference.

  20. William Mougayar

    Interesting that the price shows-up in Canadian dollars with a Hola routing, although the service isn’t officially available in Canada. So, that global loophole is covered.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      The reason could be that you are reaching the site through an US IP Address provided by Hola and the first check is done using that IP, and later the currency is determined from the browser language setting. Normally yours would be “Accept-Language: en-CA” or a combination.

  21. kirklove

    Congrats to the team at SoundCloud. I know how much work, time, and things you “won’t” see in the app had to go into all of this. Testament to their perseverance. Best of luck to them. I wish music streaming wasn’t so hard on the folks trying to make it better.

  22. Lawrence Brass

    Still mourning Grooveshark and really looking for a replacement. I used it to explore and search for lost tracks and music I liked. I recall using it to hear to the descendants movie soundtrack while I looked for the CD in local stores. Then it went belly up.So, I just tried to find it in Grooveshark and I did got some of Gabby Pahinui’s and some more, many mixed tracks, not the real thing and some low quality versions.It is in Youtube, with ads of course, and maybe infringing some copyrights but this is the version I want.…BTW, if you haven’t seen the movie and want to laugh and weep a bit, go for it. Most of the ambience is thanks to Gabby’s music, probably remastered by his successors.

  23. Mark Zohar

    As much as I love SoundCloud, I feel that they’ve put the cart before the horse with Go. There are so many friction points right now related to discovering, streaming, organizing and embedding music. Search is a bloody disaster and frankly a real embarrassment compared to almost any other music service. Quality of streaming is inconsistent and frustrating. Organizing collections and tracks is fine but it’s incredibly difficult to further filter and sub-categorize, which is what music fans need and want. And, there’s no indication to the user when a track is not supported for embed until you’ve gone to the trouble of trying to embed and get that notification.All these issues and more need to be fixed if Go is to have a go at being a legitimate subscription service.

  24. falicon

    As long as the search & discovery works well enough to allow you to filter down to that…Still in my experience, most systems don’t tag their stuff well enough to actually allow for this level of control within the long tail…without the ‘adwords’ equiv. most people are not incentivized enough to correctly-tag & over-tag their stuff…so you end up with maybe 3 South Korean emo versions of KISS songs performed in the nude on a hot summer day…and 1,000 others that *are* that, but just tagged as “rock” (or worse, tagged as something completely different, or just not tagged at all)

  25. fredwilson

    you are totally right kevin. in a service like soundcloud search and discovery becomes paramount. and they have a lot of work to do on their search and they know it.