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juannomore / Flickr CC

Music streaming service SoundCloud is adding a new — and — cheaper paid subscription option that is focused on convenience by removing ads and letting users listen to music offline. The company unveiled its first subscription service last year.

The lowdown: The new tier will cost $4.99 per month and will give users access to the 120 million songs part of SoundCloud's free content catalog without ads and available offline. This can be a great option for users who travel and don't want to use their smartphone data to stream, for example. It will be called SoundCloud Go.

The company's original subscription service will now be called SoundCloud Go+, which costs $9.99 and will continue to offer these features in addition to SoundCloud's premium content from music labels and certain artists for a total catalog of 150 million songs.

Why it matters: Though SoundCloud made its name as a way for independent artists and DJs to upload and distribute their music, the company has faced increasing competition from services like Spotify and Apple Music, which offer music from all the major labels. Subscription services also serve as an additional source of revenue for the company, which was rumored last year to be in talks to sell to Spotify, though the latter has reportedly decided against it.

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12 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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