Berlin-based SoundCloud is today launching its new consumer subscription offering, dubbed SoundCloud Go, in the UK and Ireland, following an initial debut of the service in the United States a little over a month ago.
At the same time, SoundCloud is introducing advertising on its free service, giving creators essentially two ways of getting compensation for sharing their work on the SoundCloud platform, which is used by more than 175 million people every month.
SoundCloud says the launch of Go in the US has been successful, but co-founder Eric Wahlforss was not willing to share numbers during a recent phone conversation with tech.eu even though he was "super pleased with the results" - which is understandable, given that the introduction of the paid service is so recent and there's still a lot of work to be done.
SoundCloud users in the UK and Ireland are now able to sign up for the subscription service (which they will need to if they want to avoid audio and in-stream advertising), and access more than 125 million tracks, online or offline.
SoundCloud Go is priced at £9.99 and €9.99 per month respectively, with a free 30-day trial. It's currently $9.99 in the US.
Asked why the company is taking a country-by-country approach to introducing Go and ads, Wahlforss told me that SoundCloud has been able to close global content licensing deals with publishers and labels, but that they still need to make separate arrangements with local collecting agencies to roll out a subscription service.
He also mentioned that it takes a while to ingest scores of music (acquired through recent deals with major labels such as Universal Music Group and Sony, among others). Interestingly, the company started with tracks and will only start integrating full albums afterwards - and it may take a few more weeks for all of this to be completed.
SoundCloud's plan is, however, to expand internationally at a fast pace, Wahlforss says. Launching in the UK and Ireland after the US was a logical move, as it's SoundCloud second-biggest market today (even though it employs only around 10 people in its London office). Wahlforss didn't want to say which countries are up next.
Wahlforss also talked about the introduction of advertising to UK and Ireland-based users of the free service, noting that it's been a fast-growing business for SoundCloud since its launch in the US roughly 1.5 years ago. Again, he declined to share revenue or growth figures - SoundCloud is a private company backed by VC and debt funding providers - so you'll need to take his word for it.
In terms of product development, Wahlforss seemed particularly excited about SoundCloud Stations, a recently introduced way to discover new music on the platform. He said to stay tuned for news about that particular product - so staying tuned is what we're going to do.