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The Skinny on Soundcloud

Don’t worry, Spotify, I’m not cheating on you. But I am becoming better acquainted with an old friend called Soundcloud this week. I’ve had a Soundcloud account for a long time and have generally only used it for the purposes of sending large music files to people for streaming/downloading purposes. For example, it came in handy when booking The Lovebirds last tour – I would include a link to our latest album when emailing different promoters/bookers on the west coast. For some reason, Soundcloud never appealed to me above and beyond this use.

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That changed this week when I decided to make 46 tracks available for free public streaming/download. I made the decision to release this project (LWYT) for the following reason: I write a lot of songs and post most of them on Youtube, but sometimes that feels like I am putting them out to pasture. Sure, they collect views over time, and some of the songs do end up transforming into bright, shiny, produced, mixed and mastered tracks that I will gladly sell you, but I felt that the majority of tunes don’t reach enough ears. On top of this, multiple songs on Youtube can be difficult to listen to in succession on mobile devices (i.e., while driving). My solution was Soundcloud. After creating rough audio mp3s with an online converter, I uploaded 46 tracks onto Soundcloud, and in just a few minutes they were available to the public.

In the short time that has passed, here are my findings:

This is really cool. Now I have an easy way to listen to so many songs I have written over the last few years in the form of a playlist. It’s like a time capsule I can listen to while driving, working, etc. Pretty rad to hear the story of my life, relationships, triumphs, tragedies, etc. play out over the course of a couple hours. Just like Spotify or Pandora I can also discover music from other artists. My particular favorite discoveries with Soundcloud have been with DJs. DJs often upload their entire mix onto Soundcloud as one long track, which is ideal for a freelance coffee shop writer like me who wants continuous beats running through my headphones.

This is really inexpensive: Like most online music platforms, there are free and paid versions. The free version allows you to upload up to 2 hours of music, while the paid options allow more time and more bells and whistles. I chose the $6/month option. Seems pretty reasonable, especially since the stats/feedback provided are thorough and helpful. Thanks to this info, I can have a better idea of which songs are the best fit for my next album, which songs might go over well during a live performance, etc.

This is really interactive: Interaction is key with any successful social media endeavor, but I really like how fans can add comments at a specific place in the song. This is really helpful for artists seeking direct feedback from listeners on rough versions of songs that have not yet been produced. Some people argue that only finished works should be made available to the public, but I think listeners appreciate being given access to all the stages of a song. It makes the experience of listening more intimate, the listener can feel more genuinely connected to the artist, and it is also exciting to watch the song change and grow over time. I believe this interaction preserves everything that is beautiful about music, before the music becomes a product.

I know I’m late to the party with Soundcloud, and it will never change my undying love for Spotify, but I’m really glad I took the time to reintroduce myself to the site. Can’t wait to jazz up my profile and start connecting with other music lovers around the globe!

  • February 2014

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