There are numerous ways to share your track – from communities like MySpace, SoundClick and Reverbnation to file sharing services such as DropBox or Sprend. And then there’s something in between – SoundCloud!
Being both is an advantage and a drawback. Let’s start on the plus side. SoundCloud is really good because of:
- Modern technology: the player on SoundCloud’s site is implemented in HTML5. Among other things that means it works well on iPhone and iPad. I can’t even count the number of songs I’ve missed because people put them on other sites and I didn’t remember or have time to recheck them on my desktop computer.
- Good quality sound and an option to allow download of the original file. A lot of artists are leaving MySpace solely because they completely mince the tracks you upload.
- Good FaceBook-player that is easy to integrate into your band page.
- Good embed functionality, where you can (if you have a premium account) visually style the different players to fit into your own site.
- Clean design: no risk of MySpace epilepsy.
- Community functionality: account profiles, friends, followers, statistics, time-based comments in the track itself, groups etc.
- Access control. You can hide your tracks and allow specific people access through a secret sharing address with an embedded password, without the need for them to register an account (like the guest passes on Flickr).
- Native iPhone app, which is now free.
- Powerful API (programming interface) which paves the way for smart connections to other sites and application. One example is that you can upload your recordings from AmpKit on the iPhone or iPad directly to SoundCloud.
So far so good. How about problems?
- Crude community functions. They are present but feel a bit secondary right now, almost like they have been added as an afterthought. It’s not really easy to find your friends, messaging functions are tone down etc. It might be that I’m not used to them yet, and it might be because my network isn’t large enough yet (I can honestly say it didn’t get FaceBook at all at first).
- To controlled design. Your profile is very toned down and the clean design (think FaceBook, no customizations) might scare artists and bands that want more artistic freedom away from SoundCloud as their primary web site.
- The embedded player is in flash, so songs embedded on other sites still don’t work in iOS.
In spite of these drawbacks I believe strongly in Swedish-invented SoundCloud. I think it’s perfect for sharing tracks via email or on forums. I would like to see a more strongly developed community, but this might be the wrong way to go (MySpace is dying etc).
I spoke to a colleague in the web business who happens to be a drummer in a band. His prediction is that the new MySpace is FaceBook band pages with an integrated SoundCloud player – this will be many bands’ main marketing space and a replacement for MySpace or your own web site.
This is what the standard player looks like:
You can find me here on SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/osiris8