If you create music than you need to be on SoundCloud.
When 180 million Internet users choose to share, upload, remix or listen to music using your website, you know you must be onto something.
SoundCloud, established in Berlin in 2008, has just released the latest version of its music sharing service. Simply called ‘Next’, this latest offering is certain to fill those on the lookout for media jobs, with hope as it hatches plans to make the sharing of sounds and music online even more intuitive, as it adds improved recommendations, search and discovery and automatic follows generated by the social media platforms they connect with. In fact it’s been so successful that over 10 hours of sounds are uploaded to the platform every minute of every day. Now that’s a lot of noise.
This success has not gone unnoticed – so far the company has attracted over $60 million in three rounds from investors including Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers; GGV Capital, Union Square Ventures and Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures.
With funding in place, the company is also poised and ready to take full advantage of the impending shift to mobile browsing and expect mobile to become the dominant platform for their product, as founder Alex Ljung explains:
“It’s not a battle between video and audio, or audio and text — they are good for different things,” he said. “But sound is easier to create and to listen to in parallel while doing something else. Sound doesn’t need a screen.”
What About the Competition?
We all know about Pandora, and Spotify – music sharing giants, that both offer unique user experiences. Spotify, yet to make a big dent in the US, offers a fairly straightforward Internet radio experience – choose to listen to music you like, build playlists etc etc.
Pandora on the other hand offers something a little different. It’s innovative Music Genome Project means the service actually ‘learns’ to make suggestions based on the musical choices users make. The secret behind the project is the fact that rather than use data analysis and algorithms to determine appropriate suggestions, it actually uses humans to collate the 800,000 songs analysed since the project began back in 2000.
SoundCloud offers something different again however. Something very different. This is ‘Sound’ Cloud. Not ‘music’ cloud. This service offers a whole raft of noises, from crying babies and dogs barking, to entire Presidential addresses, as well as the latest tunes in categories as diverse and classical, hip hop, jazz and urban. These are available not only to listen to, but also to play with and to remix. Your creations can then also be uploaded to SoundCloud and hey presto! You’re a musical genius.
Will it Bring Success?
By offering such a diverse collection of sounds as well as music, and by giving users the opportunity – via hundreds of creation and sharing apps available on the platform – to make their own sounds and to share them publicly and privately there are lost of monetization opportunities. Just imagine – every time a new production tool or editing function is added – provided it’s good enough, people will pay.
Amateur creators can access a free account; while more advanced members can pay to access stats, custom branding and controlled distribution. For the more adventurous – Snoop Dogg and Big Boi are included in this number – they can upload sounds or whole or partial songs and let their fans remix them. A great way of getting intimate with fans and perhaps bagging a great new remix into the bargain.
This new emphasis on searching and discovery means people should find it easier to find content that’s relevant to them.
Ljung continued: “We have launched an explorer section. You can get new fresh content. We measure a lot of things like how active people have been with the sound, so we really have the stuff that is new.
He explained that they rebuilt the search that takes into account a number of parameters, but at its heart it uses machine learning to understand your interests and allow you to find relevant content more quickly. Of course this is not unlike the Pandora Music Genome, although the SoundCloud team firmly believe that the ability to not only share and listen, but to actually interact and change it if they want to, and then share it right back, sets their product apart.