…audio, video, web and general tech ramblings.
SoundCloud & AudioBoo, Part 2: SoundCloud
I know this has been a long time in the making but there’s been loads of news on SoundCloud recently. I even opened an issue of Sound on Sound magazine recently to discover a two page spread coinciding with their podcast moving over to SoundCloud! So I’ve had to re-write a few things. Anyway, here it goes!
In part one of this review I talked through the features of AudioBoo which can be summed up as any/all of the following: audio-for-twitter, automated micro-podcasting etc. Now we’re looking at another relatively new platform with very different features. Both platforms/services store your audio in ‘the cloud’ with AudioBoo focused on speech and SoundCloud focusing on music.
AudioBoo works great as a news feed because it’s instant and mobile. I was impressed with AudioBoo as a platform but those of you who know me personally are aware that I’m not (usually) a big talker so found it quite difficult to get into. This may change over time though as I’d really like to find use for it. I think took more easily to SoundCloud because I’ve been making music for years and I also like to share my creations.
For anyone already using SoundCloud this will be wasted on you, but to anyone who hasn’t; read on.
Getting an account is as straightforward as any other site and you can get the basic one for free which gets you 120 minutes of storage, limited stats and limited downloads etc. There are another four premium accounts, two aimed at artists and the other two aimed at businesses. All of which give you varying levels of storage, stats and custom players at reasonable prices. More details can be seen here and they all come with two week trials if your unsure.
The site allows you to integrate a number of other social networks (myspace, facebook and twitter) it will find any friends you have in those networks and also auto-post if you wish to notify your friends when you upload a new track. The friend finder feature was a bit sketchy with facebook, presumably becouse names aren’t unique…i ended up with new contacts that had the same name as my friends but were actually different people!
A Place for Music
SoundCloud was created very much with the musician in mind and with the pure and simple aim of sharing music. After all the tag-line on their homepage is “We Move Music”. It then goes on to describe itself as a platform which lets you move music fast and without any hassle, suitable for artists, labels and other professionals.
Loose comparisons can be drawn with MySpace, which has been the number one place for bands and music makers since it’s height and is practically the only thing keeping it going. The problem with MySpace, which is pointed out in this article is that it’s lost a lot of the social aspect and become more of a service. Pretty poor for the former top social networking site. Obviously Soundcloud is a service too but interaction with others on the platform comes much more freely.
SoundCloud is very strong on the social side of things. On logging into your account you the first thing you see is updates from your contacts. Not unusual when you think of Facebook & Twitter etc. You also get a mini stats update which tells you how many plays, comments, favouritings, and profile views you’ve had for that day and also for the week. Comments are particularly useful because not only can you make a general comment on the track but you can also add comments to specific positions along the timeline. This could be used to let the user know what specific aspects you like about the track and even offer advice on how to improve it.
A Quick Note on The Art of Tagging:
Tagging is quite important, as important as it is anywhere else on the web these days. It allows people to find your tracks, I found this out as the first track I uploaded I didn’t tag a genre for it. So basically the only time it is likely to ever get listened to is when someone visits my profile. On my next upload I made sure it was properly tagged with appropriate genre. Shortly this track was actually favourited and now it’s getting hundreds of plays while the original upload just sits there.
A Tool for Collaboration
A cool feature of this site is the dropbox feature you can add a widget to any other site and users can send you audio files even if they dont have an account. This could be usefull for collaborating, remixing etc. It’s also a great way to get sounds from people who aren’t on the site.
The key point that makes collaboration on the site work is the support for uncompressed audio. You can’t pass MP3’s back and forth between projects for tweaking and remixing then to get re-compressed, constantly being degraded as it’s passed on. Well you could but I’d consider it a crime!
Sharing audio files can be done either publicly and privately. This combined with the fact that you can share many different formats including WAV files makes the whole process of collaborating on projects with people and the potential for crowdsourcing effortless.
The Possibilities Are Endless
The implementation of the SoundCloud API has been interesting and there’s a constantly updated list of apps on the site.
I think it definitely has the potential to finally push MySpace out of the picture with respect to where bands hang out. It’s the new kid on the block but has a hell of a lot to offer. I still have a number of myspace accounts but they are all for music purposes, I dont use it to chat with friends and rarely log in these days. There just doesn’t seem to be much keeping me there. Sound Cloud is a place where music creators can network, collaborate, share work and have discussions, all in a slick and neat interface.
There are some aspects of the site I haven’t touched on yet including groups and apps but I’m putting together some more posts on how to use the platform in more depth and focusing on third party apps. So stay tuned.