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SoundCloud has a lot of things going for it 7 Reasons Why You Should Start Using SoundCloud Today 7 Reasons Why You Should Start Using SoundCloud Today SoundCloud is often thought of as a hangout for indie kids and backyard bands - a place to discover new music. And that's true to an extent, but it's far from the full story. Read More , as it’s the premier service for emerging artists to upload their work and connect with potential listeners without all the drama of record labels. You can even listen to SoundCloud music on your desktop Experience SoundCloud On Desktop With CloudDeck And Adobe Air Experience SoundCloud On Desktop With CloudDeck And Adobe Air Are you someone who uses SoundCloud every single day? Here's the best desktop interface for SoundCloud. It's a quick, free download and you can get started streaming your SoundCloud library in just seconds. Read More if you’re a power user.

SoundCloud isn’t content with its current status, though. Recently it announced SoundCloud Go, a new premium music streaming service that aims to compete with Spotify, Apple Music, and other similar apps. In a sea of music, does SoundCloud Go do enough to set itself apart? As you may have guessed from the title, No.

What You Get When You Go

SoundCloud Go is co-existing next to the classic SoundCloud membership, which is free. Go costs $10 per month, but be warned that it costs $13 if bought on iOS due to Apple taking a cut of all in-app purchases Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From The Mac App Store The Mac App Store doesn't hold a candle to the same store used by iPhone and iPad users to guzzle apps, games and in-app purchases. Read More . If you’re an iPhone user looking to subscribe, be sure to do so on the Web, then just sign into the SoundCloud app with the same account to avoid this ridiculous up-charge.

The first thing you get for your $10-per-month is access to more tracks on SoundCloud. The company claims the number to be over 125 million, which sounds great compared to the ~30 million on Spotify. However, SoundCloud has made a mark with remixes, podcasts, and original music Music Lovers: Why Aren't You Using SoundCloud? Music Lovers: Why Aren't You Using SoundCloud? Discovering a new artist, album or record label that corresponds with your tastes and expectations can be a rewarding experience. These golden discoveries can be few and far between and that’s where I turn to... Read More that aren’t considered normal “songs” as known by most people. We know that SoundCloud had some 110 million tracks before announcing this new service, so subtracting that from
their 125 million number shows that you’re getting about 15 million new songs with SoundCloud Go.

In addition to the new music, SoundCloud Go lets you listen to your music offline How To Download All Of Your Music From Google Play To Your Phone How To Download All Of Your Music From Google Play To Your Phone Do you really want to go through song by song or album by album and download all your music? Of course not. Thankfully, there's a quicker way. Read More on your phone, which is a great feature for those with limited data plans. The subscription also drops the ads that come with the free plan.

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Using SoundCloud Go

When you start using SoundCloud Go, it’s difficult to tell which tracks you now have access to and which are free for everyone. When you’re on a free account, you’ll see a PREVIEW tag on tracks that aren’t available to you and can only listen to 30 seconds of them. There’s no way to tell this without opening an incognito window in your browser Not Just for Porn: Other Uses For Private Browsing Not Just for Porn: Other Uses For Private Browsing Private-browsing mode has many other names, including "incognito mode" in Chrome and "InPrivate Browsing" in Internet Explorer. Some people refer to private-browsing mode as "porn mode", but it isn't just for porn addicts. It can... Read More so you can see what SoundCloud looks like to regular users and check it out manually.

I was new to SoundCloud before signing up for the free trial of Go (aside from the odd track someone shared with me), and quickly became frustrated with the way the service operates. You pretty much have to search for an artist to get started, and this is where the problems begin.

First off, SoundCloud Go is missing several big-name artists Hooked On Music: 20 Of The Catchiest Songs Ever On YouTube [Weird & Wonderful Web] Hooked On Music: 20 Of The Catchiest Songs Ever On YouTube [Weird & Wonderful Web] These are the earworms that burrow their way into your head and refuse to leave. Be afraid, be very afraid. Read More , such as Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Kayne West. I’m personally not a fan of this type of music, so their absence doesn’t bother me, but it’s alarming that several artists responsible for the Spotify Top 50 tracks aren’t even present on this service, since clearly lots of people enjoy their music.

Kayne-West-SoundCloud-Go

The fun keeps going once you locate an artist that’s on SoundCloud. I can’t fathom why this is, but there is no way to sort an artist’s music on SoundCloud Go. When you open an artist page, you simply get a column of their uploaded music in no particular order — no way to sort by album, most recent release, or most popular.

On Spotify, as soon as you open an artist you’re able to see their 10 most popular tracks, giving you a fantastic place to start checking out a new artist Top 10 Free Ways to Discover New Music Online Top 10 Free Ways to Discover New Music Online Read More — if you start with and like their most popular tracks, you’re bound to check out more of their music. SoundCloud Go gives you none of that — there’s a Playlists tab on each artist, presumably for them to upload their music into playlists.

However, not a single artist that I found in my trial used this function, so if you want to listen to a particular album, you have to 1) hope that all its tracks are available and 2) hunt down each one and add them to a playlist. This is exactly the archaic, tedious method we had to use to collect albums on Spotify before they introduced the My Music feature that allows you to save albums and tracks to a collection Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More . Because of this, SoundCloud feels disorganized, confusing, and second-rate.

This is a huge issue. Many people, including myself, are album-oriented and want to experience a full album as it was originally released. Every other music service gives you an easy way to listen to music in a logical way, but this is absent in SoundCloud Go. Making your own playlists for every album would take a long time, and is just unacceptable. This style of finding music feels like the now-defunct Grooveshark The Day the Music Died: A Grooveshark Retrospective The Day the Music Died: A Grooveshark Retrospective Grooveshark is dead. But how did this infamous streaming piracy service stay alive so long? And what does its closure mean for users? Let's take an in-depth look. Read More or listening to music on YouTube The Best Ways To Search And Play YouTube Music On Chrome, Firefox And The Web The Best Ways To Search And Play YouTube Music On Chrome, Firefox And The Web YouTube is fantastic to listen to music quickly and for free. But what if I told you there are browser extensions and websites that make the YouTube music listening experience even better? Read More — you look something up and hope that someone, somewhere uploaded it.

The Rest of Go

There’s not a whole lot more to using SoundCloud Go. You can follow artists on their pages, which means you get their music in your “stream” on the main page of the site. This is organized by most recent upload, so if you’re trying to use the service to listen to “normal” music and not SoundCloud original content (which is supposedly the point of the service), this is essentially useless except for seeing what’s new. For comparison, Spotify already notifies you when artists you follow release a new album Don't Stop The Music: 4 Ways To Set Up Alerts For New Album Releases Don't Stop The Music: 4 Ways To Set Up Alerts For New Album Releases There was a time when you could keep track of new music releases by checking in at your local record store, but we live in a different world now. How do you keep track now? Read More .

The main page lets you view Charts to listen to the most popular music in various genres, which isn’t anything special. You can add a heart to any song to add it to your collection, which houses your favorite tracks, playlists, and artists; acting as an inferior version to Spotify’s My Music. Since you can follow playlists, your best bet for listening to music that you want is to find playlists created by those that have similar taste to you.

If you get through all the music in a playlist or other source, SoundCloud Go won’t stop the tunes, but rather starts playing “related tracks” to what you just heard. This is a neat feature, but you can’t turn it off and there’s no way to know how it picks these — in my testing, it just played other tracks on the same album from the same artist. When listening, the player at the bottom of the screen lets you repeat single tracks, but doesn’t feature a shuffle button — probably because this entire service is one giant shuffle button.

Mobile Apps

It’s worth noting how the SoundCloud mobile app looks when you’re a Go subscriber. The app for Android and for iOS is the same as the one for free users, but you have access to some advanced features. The main page contains the same “stream” view that lists recent uploads, you can search for an artist or hashtag genre, or view your liked tracks and playlists, just like on the Web.

Scrolling over to your user profile gets you an Explore option, which lets you pick either a genre, general music, or non-music “audio” and shows you random tracks that fall into these categories. It’s nice if you’re looking for something totally random Upbeat Easy Listening Music To Lift Your Mood For A Happy Day [Sound Sunday] Upbeat Easy Listening Music To Lift Your Mood For A Happy Day [Sound Sunday] Music can get you through any day. And with Sound Sunday, all your music downloads are free! In this edition, you'll find albums perfectly suited for animating your feet and inspiring a happy mood. Read More , but does nothing to remedy the issues with not being able to systematically find music.

The only other notable part of the mobile app is the Save automatically option for offline listening. When enabled, the app will automatically save offline every track that you give a heart and every playlist that you follow. Combined with the fact that you can limit how much storage space the app uses, this is an intelligent feature that other apps should implement. Those who frequently dip in or out of a mobile network connection How to Prevent Any App from Using Mobile Data on Android How to Prevent Any App from Using Mobile Data on Android Want to limit which apps are connecting to the Internet on your smartphone or tablet? That's easy. Let us show you how. Read More will appreciate not having to remember to click “available offline” like they do on other services.

So, Should You Pay for SoundCloud Go?

Absolutely not.

I’m not trying to be cruel, but I see absolutely no point in this service. At its core, the advantage that SoundCloud offers over Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and others is the user-generated content. If you want to hear podcasts The 20 Best Podcasts of 2015: As Recommended by MakeUseOf The 20 Best Podcasts of 2015: As Recommended by MakeUseOf Have you ever wondered what your favorite MakeUseOf authors listen to when they want to learn something new, hear a good story, or simply be entertained? This article means you need wonder no more. Read More , remixes, or music from independent artists (or even just people who record an occasional song for fun), you can use SoundCloud. You can still do all that for free, so why pay for SoundCloud Go?

I’ve rarely used SoundCloud over the past few years, but when I have listened to the occasional podcast or track from an indie artist, I never heard or saw a single advertisement. In addition, you can get offline listening with any premium music app, so two of the three selling points for SoundCloud Go immediately fall flat.

The only remaining advantage is the new music from big artists, but we’ve just discussed at length how a lot of them are not present, and what is here is so disorganized it brings to memory the days of Napster and Limewire The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here The rise of the iPod, the music-playing mobile phone, and a number of streaming media platforms all point toward a single, simple idea: music is important. But how did we get here? Read More . Perhaps it’s just my personality, but I like music services to be neat and organized. SoundCloud Go immediately struck me as confusing, as I couldn’t just pick an album and listen to it through.

Organization aside, though, there’s just so much more that other services give you. With Spotify, you get the amazing Discover Weekly playlist Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Spotify has recently released several new ways of generating unique playlists that will help you discover awesome new music. We're here to guide you through these automagic playlist makers. Read More that knows your taste to a scarily accurate degree and brings you 30 fresh tracks each week. Plus the ability to read along to lyrics in real-time with any song 4 Ways You're Using Spotify Wrong Without Even Knowing It 4 Ways You're Using Spotify Wrong Without Even Knowing It Lots of people use Spotify. But are you using it efficiently? Find out 4 common errors Spotify users make. Read More is awesome, too. You can also import your own tracks, see what friends are listening to, view related artists to find similar music, save your music into a neat collection, and collaborate on playlists with friends — all for free.

SoundCloud Go doesn’t even offer the basic features of other music players. You can’t add music to a queue, there’s no high quality option for streaming (which is lame, considering that Spotify Premium ups the quality significantly), and it features no crossfade option. I’m not trying to nitpick, but for a music service not to have all of these standard features feels underwhelming.

I’m most familiar with Spotify as I’ve been using Premium for years; I know Google Play Music fairly well, and haven’t ever touched Apple Music since I’m not an iOS user (if you’d like to learn more about Apple Music, we’ve covered how to get started Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More ). However, I would go for either of those services before SoundCloud Go if I ever left Spotify. They both include most of the features listed above, and actually feature music that you want to listen to in a logical manner.

The only other good thing I can say about SoundCloud Go is that it gives the artists control over what Go subscribers can hear and what regular users can hear. If an artist wants to make one of their albums free for everyone to listen to and hold the rest back for subscribers only, that’s supported. I think it’s a good idea, but further reinforces that subscribing to this service is pointless — why pay when what makes the service unique is free and you can get what you’re looking for elsewhere for free?

The only people who should look into SoundCloud Go are those who already use the free service religiously and want to get offline access to music that they can’t get anywhere else, or simply want to support SoundCloud financially. For everyone else, your money (and time) is much better spent with Spotify, Google Play Music What Is the Best Way to Stream Music for Free on Android? What Is the Best Way to Stream Music for Free on Android? There are a ton of free music-streaming apps for Android, but how are they different and which is your best option? Read More , or Apple Music.

Have you tried SoundCloud Go? What do you think of it compared to other streaming music services? Please let us know what you think in the comments below, whether you agree or disagree with my review.

  1. E
    October 31, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Good write up, I agree with pretty much everything in this.

    • Ben Stegner
      October 31, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for the comment! The service really didn't impress me, especially with the other competitors out there.

  2. Christopher Bradford
    October 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Your post about popular music not being on SoundCloud is false because you looked at the wrong account for kanye west, which in the picture is Kayne west and I checked personally to find out that he has many songs on the real "Kanye West" account.

    • Ben Stegner
      October 31, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Yes, I realized this after publishing. I don't listen to his music. That was my mistake; however, it also shows off a problem with SoundCloud. Any other music service is smart enough to point you to the right artist following a minor typo like that.

  3. salut
    August 27, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    What a nice objective review
    Now people will believe what you're saying, that's a shit move for SoundCloud
    Are you an undercover Spotify spy ?

  4. Rachel
    August 15, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I think chad said it really well. Approaching soundcloud as a Spotify user is going to make soundcloud seem pretty useless. But as I've used soundcloud for years I've realized this is the best way to find new music for me. I am more than willing to pass up Katy Perry's neatly organized albums to get access to new artists' work.

  5. whatevsm8
    July 23, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Extremely horrendous review. Know the difference between SoundCloud and Spotify first then try to review them. I can't believe the article is still live.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Sure, I'm not a much of a SoundCloud user, but based on the writeup that that company gave to describe this service, I expected a lot more. I expected to see big-name artists on the site and have a logical way to listen to them, which the service doesn't provide. If you want to listen to big-name artists, I can't imagine paying to do so on SoundCloud, which is why I gave this the review that I did.

  6. Aaron Riggs
    July 20, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Soundcloud isn't meant for the chars like spotify. Spotify and Soundcloud cannot be compared as Soundcloud is for underground and uploading work

  7. whatever
    June 19, 2016 at 11:24 am

    his name is "kanye" not "kayne". maybe that's why you didn't find shit, you useless excuse of a journalist.

    • Ben Stegner
      June 19, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      I was useless until you came to the site and read my article, making me useful. Thank you so much for doing so!

      • Dylan
        November 30, 2016 at 11:40 pm

        I am glad to see a positive response to this clearly reasonable person, thank you for increasing the productivity of my day.

  8. Chad
    May 12, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I agree with the majority of the comments on the dichotomy between Spotify (and other music services) and Soundcloud. It is a shame that we are here comparing the two when frankly, they were never meant to be compared.

    I have been an avid Soundcloud user for about 4 years now. It is the only place I get my music. For a person who switched from Spotify to Soundcloud, I can say that they are very much different, with respect to whom will use each service.

    As already discussed, the main difference is that Soundcloud is a community-oriented platform in which Artists and the community can collaborate with each other - particularly in regard to new music. People are able to leave comments on individual songs discussing what aspects they like or dislike, and people can also send messages to artists. When I say Artist, I mean anyone who creates music (or spoken word).

    The experience is just that, being enveloped in a community through the artists and songs you follow, thereby creating your own customized experience. As the author stated, many other music services offer similar features to customize your listening experience, which is great. How Soundcloud does that is a bit different than other services.

    Soundcloud Go is about going commercial free. I personally purchased Go because I don't like commercials, and also because I am employed at a job where I have the luxury of listening to music while I work, but I don't have service. I understand a lot of people will be content with the free service (as with Spotify free service as well).

    The author may just not have enough experience with Soundcloud to have been able to grasp the concept of what it actually was as he is seemingly a Spotify user. To be fair, I didn't grasp the difference until I started using Soundcloud more and more and becoming more interested in smaller Artists and the new music they were putting out. I hardly use Spotify anymore, and it isn't with any disdain.

    TL;DR Soundcloud and other music services cater towards different end-users. They all have their pros and cons. I personally choose to use Soundcloud because of personal preference and what I am looking for in my listening experience. As time changes, Im sure I'll re-evaluate my preference again (coming from Itunes, to Spotify and Google Play, to Soundcloud). I think we are in a great age of music where we have access to so much music and can support the artists we love through exploration and collaboration.

    Thank you for writing this article. It's good to understand what other's thoughts on the platform are.

    • Allan Armstrong
      August 4, 2016 at 2:28 am

      You cannot send or receive messages via the iOS app, nor the mobile website!

  9. Sage Serendipity
    April 16, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Well, you have to look from the perspective of Soundcloud (and other music formats) users who can not afford premiums and all that, including me.

  10. AA
    April 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Horrible and cruel review. Spotify and Soundcloud have different goals and user experiences. I'd rather have you criticize Soundcloud without saying how much you love Spotify in every sentence, quite lame.

  11. You're Horrible
    April 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I'm 100% content with you never being on the service. You completely miss the point of
    Soundcloud.

    Keep listening to your work work work and enjoy Spotify.

  12. Phid ippides
    April 16, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Spotify and Soundcloud are different animals that only partially go after the same prey (market), so they shouldn't be compared like apples to apples. Soundcloud revolves around user-generated content, whereas Spotify does not, and Soundcloud seems to specialize in certain types of music (electronic, etc.). In fact, I thought I heard it said that Soundcloud wants to be the "Youtube of music". In my experience, much of the music on Soundcloud comes from users generating their own remixes or producing their own original music, and some of this is quite good (this is in addition to user-generated spoken tracks, such as podcasts). It's also nice because listeners can comment on tracks at specific places, so it's much more community-oriented in terms of opinion-sharing. It's no surprise that certain mainstream artists cannot be found on Soundcloud since that is not what the service is supposed to focus upon.

    For the ordinary, mainstream music listener, Spotify is undoubtedly a better service. Soundcloud is better if you want to find the best original music, as well as spoken tracks. I personally use Spotify much more frequently, but on occasion will use Soundcloud to find very nice remixes or other tunes in the electronic genre. I have also used Soundcloud to find background music for video production.

  13. Victor
    April 16, 2016 at 6:00 am

    I think you should take this article down. Commercials were introduced to SoundCloud a year ago even for paid users. It ruined the listener experience. The main point of SoundCloud Go is to be commercial free. In the past year commercials were everywhere on SoundCloud. I don't like commercials and I love music, SoundCloud Go is fantastic tool for people who use SoundCloud as the tool it is, to discover new music the moment it releases. SoundCloud Go is about the home feed/stream experience the user designs. I have Spotify for the experience the artist designs for example Album listening. SoundCloud shouldn't be compared to Spotify or Play Music; they are two completely different financial ballgrounds. Change this article up a little with some research. SoundCloud is not for the corporate record labels but for sharing the audio art people make around the world.

    • Jonathan
      November 26, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      This!

  14. Joe
    April 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Kanye West is in fact on SoundCloud. You spelled his name wrong...

    • Ben Stegner
      April 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      Shows how much I know about him... That's a mistake on my part, but also shows another problem with this service: A) there's a user with a name this close to him that's useless. This shouldn't happen. B) I should be brought to the real artist name when I mistype the real name slightly, like any other streaming service.

      • Dan
        April 16, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        This is not just a "soundcloud" issue. I have Tidal and I just tried "Karnie West" - no hits. Then "Kayne West" - 1 hit,1 song -"golddigger". The real "Kanye West" spelling yields hundreds of hits.

      • Kate
        April 17, 2016 at 10:46 am

        Only 750K people were able to figure it out and followhim.... And it is the 3rd thing that comes up when I type Ka in the Search bar....

        That's some good article research there Lou.

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