SoundCloud finally introduces discounted student pricing

SoundCloud wants to make its streaming music service more affordable to a key demographic: younger users who generally spend more time listening to music, compared with their older counterparts. This morning, the company announced the launch of discounted student accounts, offering a 50 percent discount off its top-tier SoundCloud Go+ subscription. That brings the cost down to $4.99 per month.

The company is a bit late to the party with its launch of lower-cost student subscriptions. All the major streaming services today — including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music and Amazon Music Unlimited — offer special student pricing. They know that getting younger users hooked on their product early is an investment in the future — when the student graduates, they’ll hopefully want to continue using the service where they’ve spent so much of their time and energy. And they’ll pay the higher rate then.

Students have been asking for a discounted plan for years, following the launch of SoundCloud’s $9.99/month plan (SoundCloud Go+) in 2016. On SoundCloud’s own community forum, for example, you’ll run into questions from students about the topic, with some even noting that the lack of a more affordable plan is the “only thing holding me back” from subscribing. Others just seemed perplexed that there wasn’t an option for students, given how standard it is these days to offer students a discount.

Instead of catering specifically to students, SoundCloud in 2017 introduced a $4.99 per month SoundCloud Go plan, which had fewer features than the SoundCloud Go+ plan, for those who wanted a more affordable option. The move was meant to help convert a larger portion of SoundCloud’s 175 million free users to paying customers — but a year later, the company was estimated to have only gained some 100,000 subscribers, according to Midia Research’s Mark Mulligan.

The new student subscriptions will include the perks that come with the flagship Go+ premium offering, like ad-free listening, track downloads for offline listening, high-quality audio and access to SoundCloud’s full catalog of now more than 200 million tracks, which includes originals, DJ sets, remixes and more.

To access the new student pricing, students must verify they’re attending an accredited college or university full-time, in a market where SoundCloud Go+ is available. (SoundCloud is available in 190 countries, but the subscription is available in 9 markets.)

SoundCloud Go+ for Students is launching today in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and will be live in Germany, France and the Netherlands next week.