SoundCloud – Audio Online, Your Way.

So, Part II is about Soundcloud:

Soundcloud is SUCH a great compliment to BandCamp. While BandCamp is all about the curated artifact of music, Soundcloud is all about malleable audio – there’s no restriction on file-size, or resolution, so you can put MP3s up, podcasts, entire gigs as a single embeddable file…

It works great as a sketchbook, and again, you can control whether the stuff is streamable, downloadable or whatever else… There’s also a nice social side to SoundCloud, with the usual 2.0 follower/followee relationship, as well as the option to have ‘private’ files, for sharing music amongst collaborators before making it public. Very useful. It’s got a host of other fantastic features, which you can check out here, and to see it in action, here’s the EP that Michael Manring and I made available a few weeks ago, exclusively via SoundCloud:

Steve Lawson and Michael Manring live at Don Quixotes by solobasssteve

The pairing of Bandcamp and Soundcloud is a pretty much unbeatable combo for distributing audio files online. And Bandcamp gives you to option to charge for them as well.

What is as yet un-mapped is the actual relationship between how we value music, and how artists can price their work relating to that value. Donations, like the pay what you want option in Bandcamp, work really well – we the audience get the chance to be generous if we want, and people with no money can still get the music (and if they want to ‘pay’ something, can just share it around – after all, that’s ultimately what it’s all about!) but it still the case that you either pay before you listen (in which case the donation is a guess) OR the listener has to come back and make a donation after (which requires a level of commitment to the ideal that few of us are capable of…)

One of the projects I’m working on is a platform that seeks to work out that value and allow listeners to pay based on it, and I’ll write more about that very soon…

6 Replies to “SoundCloud – Audio Online, Your Way.”

  1. I’ve just started using SoundCloud and I love it already. It’s got such a polished feel too it, it’s very slick. I’ll be using it as the main method of streaming my album when it’s out.

    I’ve seen some really creative sites embedding the SoundCloud player as well.

  2. I used SoundCloud to share a few tracks that my band recorded. The free account is really a trial as you are very limited in what you can do. Only 5 uploads per month and only the 10 most recent visible to others. For now I don’t need it enough to even pay for their ‘Light’ account.

    So it good value for money for others? Other sites that host files for free seem to be limited in various ways. I like some of the SoundCloud features such as comments and being able to follow people. The waveform display is neat too. I did have issues with uploading multiple files.

    Any suggestions for other sites that would let me post things like rehearsal recordings to share with a few friends, preferably without them having to register.

  3. Steve-

    thanks so much for this great post and your comments. Happy to see SoundCloud has been of value to you.

    We’re releasing new exciting stuff in a couple weeks so make sure to keep an eye out on the newsletter/blog.
    @SteveClark: can’t tell more now but there might be some news interesting for your kind of usage.

    Thanks again!

  4. OR the listener has to come back and make a donation after (which requires a level of commitment to the ideal that few of us are capable of…)

    That was interesting to read, because that is exactly the model I’ve been planning for a while I’m going to use. I know it may well lead to a bit less money, but I really like the idea of people paying only when they’ve had a chance to get their own intuitive sense of what each song was worth, and then paying per song rather than just donating via a donate button. It makes the money into a kind of communication to me about “these are the songs I appreciate most”. And I don’t think it does really require loads of commitment; I think if you like one song, you’ll be back in a while to see what else is there, and while you’re getting the next lot you can pay for the last lot.

    well, that is the way I’m thinking at the moment, anyway.

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