From day one, I’ve always been in awe over Soundcloud. Even from their humble beginning, the website was super fast, very intuitive, and clutter free. Oh and did I mention free? I always wondered how they could possibly turn a profit on a website that consumes so much damn bandwidth. Any artist could make an account, upload some music, and have 5,000 plays and/or downloads over night. And for free with no annoying advertisements on their page.
Revised premium packages & ads
With their revamped premium packages, Soundcloud is hoping to attract more users who need to upgrade but aren’t quite willing yet. There are now just two paid tiers for the average user: a Pro package that is priced the same as the old Lite (€29 annually or €3 a month) and offers the same amount of audio storage (4 hours), but with added analytics and controls; and a Pro Unlimited tier that adds unlimited storage at €9 a month or €99 a year. As you can see, you will be getting a serious bang for your buck.
In addition, Soundcloud will be launching a Pro Partner program where advertisers can target new followers in the “Who To Follow” section, much like the “Suggested Followers” area on Twitter. Fortunately for now it seems these advertising areas will be mostly organic and unobtrusive.
Emphasis on visuals
The next design revamp will focus entirely on making the interface even more streamline while giving the user more stimulating visuals to look at. Soundcloud have referenced some kind of “moving image slideshow” that will be featured behind the waveform, which will also be even bigger than it is now.
I’m sure there are many people out there giving out a resounding groan as one of their favorite websites “goes corporate” – but didn’t we all expect this to happen? I give kudos to Soundcloud for not plastering advertisements all over their website and essentially exploiting their platform. As someone who has been a free user for several years, I certainly don’t mind them developing an ad platform for the site, so long as it doesn’t interfere with my browsing / listening experience.
For example, I wouldn’t mind a graphic ad on the side of the page, but I would be seriously frustrated if I had to listen to a 5 second ad before playing a track (a la YouTube).
What are all of your thoughts on this?