User-friendly music streaming services

By Samuel Martinez | Evergreen music columnist

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For over a year now the online music streaming service Soundcloud has been under scrutiny for copyright issues, but now with the launch of Soundcloud Go, could their troubles be a thing of the past?

Fortunately for Soundcloud, their legal issues have been solved with huge deals involving the three biggest record labels in the U.S. According to the New York Times, Soundcloud finalized a deal with Sony records on March 18th. This comes after a year of negotiations and agreement with the other major labels, Warner Music and Universal.

So the good news is, Soundcloud will not suffer the same fate as the once loved Grooveshark; a music streaming service that was destroyed by copyrights and law suits back when we were in junior high.

Here is the bad news: just weeks after the deal was made, Soundcloud Go emerges, changing the familiar service that you may be accustomed to.

So in diving into the changes to Soundcloud, I first see who is a part of the community. There are two major disciplines of Soundcloud users from my experience with the site.

There are electronic music fanatics who love Soundcloud as the best way to hear whole live sets from around the world. A lot of the time producers will upload new tracks before releasing singles or new albums, and in some producing software there are pathways to upload straight to Soundcloud rather than export your music file.

Sure, on Pandora or Spotify you can hear the albums, but on Soundcloud you can hear a whole set as if you are at a concert witnessing it live. Similar to this is the second major type of Soundcloud user. The up and coming musician.

I was tempted to say “rapper” rather than musician, because the whole “check out my mixtape” joke was partially born due to Soundcloud’s format, but this takes away from how large the community is. Soundcloud has become a hub of independent and on-the-rise musicians.

Here, you can post a song or set and compile a digital library of your music.

Of course there will always be people who use Soundcloud outside of these two disciplines, but for the most part these are the communities that make up the site. These people unify under a banner of orange and white with a soundwave strung across the middle. And I think these people; the very soul of Soundcloud is what Soundcloud is ignoring with their changes.

To an extent, there was no choice. Make the deals, or get shut down. But this introduction of Soundcloud Go is a step in the mainstream streaming service direction that makes Soundcloud a competitor with Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and many other services. Just look at the community and you’ll see that is not what Soundcloud should be about.

Now, major names in music can only post 30 second previews of new songs, and to hear the whole track, you have to pay the $10 a month subscription. Plus, that is on top of the $15 a month a lot of people pay to upload their music without a limit.

Those two main types of Soundcloud users represent the two main schools of thought as to why somone would download and use Soundcloud. I see no reason why someone would stop their subscription to a different service like Spotify to switch over to Soundcloud.

Therefore, even with a lack of ads and offline play being convincing factors to subscribe to Soundcloud Go, all it does is make Soundcloud money, and ignore the true identity of the streaming site that has always been the black sheep in the online music world.

Much like 1967 had the Summer of Love and is remembered for the musical changes and consistent themes of peace and hippies, maybe 2016 will be remembered for having the Summer of Streaming where profits and hipsters are the center of attention.