Following SoundCloud’s complete sharing and discovery-focused redesign back in December, the company announced a new business model and some changes to its sharing capabilities.
Three-tiered subscription model
Let’s cut straight to the chase: Many bands are strapped for cash, making it difficult to cough up even a hundred dollars for hosting music on SoundCloud. So at SXSW, SoundCloud introduced a three-tier, affordable premium subscription models.
With three tiers, what you get is pretty straight forward. There’s a free, Pro, and Pro Unlimited account. The big difference in value between these three (save for the cost) are the number of hours of music that you can host. How many minutes free gets you hasn’t been revealed, but the middle tier “Pro” offers up to four hours of music uploads. At just €3 ($3.90) if you’re paying month-to-month or a discount of €7 ($9.09) for a total of €29 ($37.67) for a full year (if you pay up front), it’s not a bad deal. If you’ve been a SoundCloud subscriber, the Pro plan is the equivalent of the old Lite plan in both cost and hours. The new plan’s value really shines with its unlimited storage plan, the Pro Unlimited account, for just €9 ($11.70) per month, or €99 ($128.58) per year.
Don’t worry about your existing plans if you’ve signed up and paid for the old Solo, Pro, and Pro Plus plans. Your accounts will run until the plans expire, which then you’ll have to upgrade (or downgrade). If you want you can also decide to change your subscription starting tomorrow when this three-tiered subscription plan is live.
Messaging, uploading features go native
SoundCloud’s existing messaging and upload features were Flash-based – a headache considering how frequently Adobe tends to crash. It’s great news for all users. At the same time, SoundCloud notes that it recognized how impersonal mass sharing music could be, since this was one of the gripes that its users were having. So contact lists will be phased out and private sharing will be strictly private, meaning that users can’t send music to more than 20 people at a time.
“Moving Sounds” for brands
SoundCloud has also added a tier for brand partners called “Pro Partners,” which is exclusive for now and has Red Bull, The Guardian, Snoop Lion, The-Dream, Blue Mic, KQED and Blue Bottle Coffee on board. What these partners get are blown-up cover images, popularized by Facebook, and a new music scrubber called “Moving Sounds.” This works in a way that’s similar to how comments pop up in a SoundCloud track. Dynamic images will show up behind the track while the music plays.