Online Tool Breakdown: SoundCloud

Posted: August 8, 2013 in Artist Corner

This month, I continue our series of tutorials about different online music tools with a profile of SoundCloud.

What Does Soundcloud Do?

Soundcloud is a popular social media and music-sharing site founded in 2007 by Swedes Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss to solve the problem of sending large audio files via email.

Soundcloud offers two distinct sets of features.

Record and Publish: Soundcloud has become particularly popular with the DJ and dance music scene as an easy and inexpensive way to record mixes and publish them online.

Applications and Tools: Soundcloud offers users the ability to connect with fans and other musicians via their social networking functions, through mobile devices, website and Facebook widgets and over 100 external apps.

You Should Use it if …

You’re hopeless at websites and you want a user-friendly way of a) getting your music recorded and online or b) presenting your music in an attractive way on social media pages or a website.

How to Use Soundcloud

First, you’ve got to sign up for an account (it’s free, and you can upgrade to a premium account later). To do this, go to the Soundcloud website and click “Sign Up” in the navigation bar in the top left corner. You can create an account or use your Facebook account to sign up. If you want to learn more about the features of the site, you can opt to take the tour, and you’ll be walked through all the different features.

Now that you’ve signed up, what can you do?

Follow other users: Soundcloud is a little like twitter, in that you can follow other users and keep track of all their updates. On the navigation bar at the top of the screen you’ll see several buttons.

  • Dashboard – your stream, showing all the updates from the people and groups you’re interested in.
  • You – your updates and comments
  • Tracks – you can find great music on offer, and add comments to other users’ songs.
  • People and Groups – find other users or user groups who interest you
  • Upload and Share – share you own music tracks. You can record yourself direct from your computer, or share already recorded and mastered files. Soundcloud accepts almost every audio format, and the free version includes 120 upload minutes.

These features make Soundcloud not just good for musicians, but for music writers, PR folk and people interested in finding new artists.

Here’s what else you can do with Soundcloud:

Embed In a Website: Soundcloud offers player widgets (The waveform widget in the free version, and two extra widgets in the premium versions) that you can add to your website to allow viewers to listen to your music without having to visit an external site

SoundCloud on your Mobile: Soundcloud has some of the best apps for smartphones of any music social networking site. You can play songs from your stream, answer your comments, and you can continue playing songs in the background as you use your phone for other things.

Extensions: Now you – and your fans – can send updates from bands direct to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Click here to learn how to set up extensions.

Download and Create Apps: The Soundcloud community offers many different features and developments to support independent artists. Among them are some innovative app developments, including RootMusic’s Bandpage app – allowing you to create seamless and branded band pages on Facebook with embedded Soundcloud tracks.

If you want listeners to take your band on the road with them, MobileRoadie have partnered with Soundcloud and created a way for Soundcloud users tocreate their own mobile apps. The apps offer several options for customization and can be ready to use and uploaded to the app store in no time.

Extra for Experts

Soundcloud offers several different premium versions, which incorporate many additional features, including the artwork and mini players, which you can embed on your website for a stylish and professional look. The premium versions vary in price from €29 to €500 per year, and here are some of the features available on the premium versions:

Spotlight: This installs another tab on your profile, allowing you to showcase five tracks or sets to display on your profile page. It helps users immediately jump to your best work, and can be a great way of hooking new listeners.

Share Sounds: In the free version you can only share sounds directly with 100 people, but the premium versions allow you to share with an unlimited number of listeners.

Replace or Update tracks: You cannot do this in the free version.

Stats: Although you get basic stats included in the free version, each additional premium version gives you more comprehensive stats.

While Soundcloud is definitely more popular with certain genres of music, a real community has grown around the site, and it can be a great way to interact with fans and get your music into the ears of more people.


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