Tech Talk: Exploring SoundCloud

Posted by Drew Stoga on May 2, 2011

SoundCloud logo

In our ongoing effort to keep you informed of the latest and greatest in new media and technology that can help your business – today’s tech update focuses on a very useful online tool for musicians, SoundCloud.

SoundCloud is a relative newcomer to the scene (new compared to YouTube, who we profiled here, and the trinity of Facebook, Twitter and Myspace – the focus of our ‘Social Media Strategy’ post) but it already has over 3 million registered users world-wide. For that reason alone SoundCloud is clearly worth investigating.

Here is what we found:

What is SoundCloud?

Well, according to their FAQ page: “SoundCloud is an audio platform that enables anyone to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds across the internet, in a simple, accessible and feature-rich way.”

What Does SoundCloud Do?

On the most basic level, SoundCloud is a place where you can upload and share your music. But there is a lot more to SoundCloud than there is to, say, MySpace Music.

The brilliant thing about SoundCloud is that they followed Twitter’s well documented path of allowing outside web developers to create apps that use their service. As a result there are over 100 apps that interact with SoundCloud.

A stroll through SoundCloud's App Gallery reveals apps that do everything from make it easy to share your music across the internet to allow you to record music into your mobile device. SoundCloud's most useful apps help you share your music on sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as blogging software and much more (leading some to dub the site, and others like it, as providing “Social Audio").

What Doesn’t SoundCloud Do?

The problem is SoundCloud does not offer much beyond the music itself.

The pages are very bare bones. You are allowed one main thumbnail photo for your page and one smaller thumbnail for each track. You cannot upload any video or write anything about yourself. Other SoundCloud users (aka other musicians - not necessarily the people you are looking to be heard by) can follow you but there is no way to leave comments or reviews.

SoundCloud really can claim that they are all about the music. But for the musician looking to book gigs and sell records, that might not be enough.

The Bottom Line

I can see why SoundCloud could be very useful for musicians, bands and DJs when used properly. It could be worth your time to set up an account, upload your tracks and use SoundCloud to get your music onto Facebook, your blog, etc.

That said, it is important to realize that while SoundCloud is a helpful tool for the modern musician, it is not the entire toolset.

The truly successful tech-savvy musician is one who can use sites like GigMasters, SoundCloud, Facebook, YouTube, CDBaby, etc. in combination to get their music to the masses.

SoundCloud, and other sites like it, can help you get your music onto the internet. What you do with it from there is up to you.

Do you SoundCloud? Let us know your experiences with the site in the comment section below.

 

UPDATE: Check out the comment below from David, a 'SoundCloud Evangelist.' Turns out there are a few features we missed. In particular, SoundCloud allows users to leave comments that display as the song plays. You can leave a comment on a specific moment of the track - really cool. Check out this track by way of example:

 

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