Kanye West performs during Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 on February 11, 2016 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris—2016 Getty Images
By Victor Luckerson
March 29, 2016

When rapper Drake decided to unload a 3-minute barrage on the unsuspecting Meek Mill last summer, he chose SoundCloud as his platform of choice for the attack. The diss song, “Back to Back,” now has more than 124 million listens, a sign that the streaming can attract a sizable audience for a single track.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Berlin-based SoundCloud now wants to make money from its legion of music fans. The company is launching a paid subscription service March 29 called SoundCloud Go, which will let people listen to the current assortment of freestyles, fan-made remixes and unofficial singles as well as the major label releases found on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Like its competitors, SoundCloud Go costs $10 per month and is available for iOS and Android. The subscription will let users download songs for offline listening and will eliminate ads across the service.

The content that is currently free on SoundCloud will remain free, but artists and podcasters will have the option to put future tracks behind the Go paywall, according to Wired.

SoundCloud is entering a crowded market that has already forced one longtime player, Rdio, out of business. But the company seems to be betting that its access to lots of alternate versions of songs will help it stand out. It’s also become a repository for work from major artists that doesn’t fit on a traditional album. Kanye West released a gospel song on the platform on Easter Sunday, for instance. YouTube is making a similar gambit with YouTube Music, a new standalone music streaming app that lets people listen to label-distributed tracks as well as fan-made covers.

Still, it’s not clear whether those songs will be enough of a differentiating factor for Soundcloud. According to The Verge, SoundCloud Go is currently missing lots of albums from mainstream artists like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Rihanna and The Beatles.

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