SoundCloud – the new MySpace
Soundcloud has had a meteoric career since it was founded in 2007. With its founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, the Berlin based firm became the music platform in hardly any time at all – completely overshadowing its former competitor MySpace in the process. Even with its latest relaunch, MySpace can’t catch up with SoundCloud in its heyday.
“We both came from backgrounds connected to music, and it was just really, really annoying for us to collaborate with people on music—I mean simple collaboration, just sending tracks to other people in a private setting, getting some feedback from them, and having a conversation about that piece of music. In the same way that we’d be using Flickr for our photos, and Vimeo for our videos, we didn’t have that kind of platform for our music.” Quote from one of the founding members of SoundCloud (Source: Wikipedia)
What makes SoundCloud unique?
1. Player with waveform graphics
People who love the good old days of vinyl can still remember how you could recognise parts of songs from the patterns made by the grooves. SoundCloud seems to transfer this into the digital age in a wonderful and graphic way. In visual terms, this makes the player one of the best that the web has ever created. The waveforms are also the perfect way to let you jump to any of your favourite parts of a song – it’s simply good fun operating the SoundCloud player.
2. Unique comment function
Another highlight which remains to be beaten is the way that you can leave a commentary directly on the track playing (i.e. on the waveform). This means that you don’t necessarily comment on a whole song, you choose individual moments instead – or you can expand upon a comment which already exists. Once again, SoundCloud doesn’t just score on functionality, but also on graphics. The comments are also supplemented by photos and links to the respective authors.
3. Detailed meta information
Every track that you upload can be padded out with lots of information. It’s easy to include label copies, upload covers, generate links to shops and respective videos, write keywords, and also include genres, BPM information, labels, catalogue numbers, etc. – a whole range of valuable information on every song uploaded.
4. SoundCloud DropBox
It’s not just artists who can create a SoundCloud profile, but also labels, publishers, managers, etc. The “DropBox-Function” is very useful for these groups, as it’s perfect for receiving demos. For example if an artist follows a particular label (or another artist, you name it), he or she can send tracks to them via SoundCloud DropBox. This function is also ideal for radio, press or DJ promo.
5. Spotlights and groups
If you want to present your music to a broader audience, you can do this via so-called ‘groups’. The function ‘Add to group’ is for this purpose. Of course you have to join the respective group beforehand. If you like, you can also set up your own groups and be equally active within them. The possibilities are virtually unlimited!
6. Mobile apps
SoundCloud has also made its presence known in the mobile field, with both iOS and Android. Unfortunately there is still no app for Windows Mobile Telephone (Nokia Lumia etc). The SoundCloud app does, however, seem even better on Android and iOS because of this, and it’s especially good for tablets. It has a ton of functions, and it’s a really fun way to discover music, administrate it, and even upload it! With the record button, you have the opportunity to record entire live performances, conversations or samples directly onto your mobile device, and upload them into the cloud. The audio recordings can also then later be downloaded and edited further at home if desired.
Many websites and software developers (for DAWs, see our overview here) use the Soundcloud interface in order to exchange audio files. In this way tracks can be transferred directly to mastering studios, or samples which were recorded on mobiles can be edited using audio software. The SoundCloud team works extremely effectively with third party firms, which is why the interface has expanded so quickly.
8. Not just for musicians
SoundCloud is no longer a secret tip, and it isn’t limited to any particular genre. The service is also used by universities (for lectures), radio stations, comedians and press organs. SoundCloud has progressed so successfully that it is simply the standard platform for internet audio (like YouTube in the video sector.)
Conclusion: It is definitely worth creating a SoundCloud profile – a free standard account is perfectly fine for most musicians. If however you want to enjoy all the functions available and you need more server space, we recommend a paid account (you can see an overview here). The cool thing about SoundCloud is that your account is not charged according to storage space, but according to time used! Meaning: instead of Mp3s, you can also upload top quality wave data, so that you have access to your master files at any time (a bit like a backup.)
Tip: Even if you deactivate the track download function, you have to be aware that if you upload a full length title, it can be ripped via various tools (which is also unfortunately the case for YouTube.) You might like to consider uploading shortened fade-in/fade-out versions because of this – but this is of course entirely up to you!
Link: Read more about SoundCloud in this article.