Why Soundcloud Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Column 1: Free Press
Column 2: Other social media: Soundcloud
Column 3: “The State of Storytelling in the Digital Age”

If I’m being perfectly honest, Soundcloud is not a regularly circulated social media platform. It’s not like Facebook with constant updates and “everyone has it”. Soundcloud acts as my own secret haven where I can catch up on my new music releases on the bus ride home.

So why not use it for journalism?

Community journalism needs to be taken very seriously with association with the free press. With community journalism, the community puts out their story without a sense of censorship imposed on their publication. With social media, people are free to say what they want whether we want them to or not.

ReadThisThing references the aspect that podcasts are blowing up in the digital storytelling age.

“Buzzfeed is figuring out how to blend moneymaking fluff with compelling journalism, and they’re doing it all with a deep understanding of the internet and the way it operates. ‘BuzzFeed is the rare example of a news organization that changes the way the news industry works.’ ” — ReadThisThing

A way Buzzfeed is beginning to change how the news industry works is through their podcast, Another Round with Heben and Tracy. This podcast tackles subjects such as representation and feminism to tramp stamps and Broadway musicals. All while Heben and Tracy are drunk, proclaiming in one of their debut episodes that “Another Round” is a happy hour with friends you haven’t met yet.

The reason why this podcast is adapting to community journalism’s ideas of free press is that nothing is held back. Heben and Tracy are very open in their opinions, all while Buzzfeed keeps from censoring their thoughts, opinions, and blubbering.

Check out Another Round with Heben and Tracy, a podcast by Buzzfeed.

It may be “fluff”, or something you giggle at on the bus. But it’s tackling real situations in a non restrictive environment and providing a community perspective to a real news issues.

Certain artists, such as Chance the Rapper specifically release music on Soundcloud for sake of sharing music without selling it through Spotify. This, in my opinion, can be argued as news through being a current release of the artist. It would be relevant for followers of the artist and those who are interested in news and current events (or releases) of the music industry.

Here is a track by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment with Chance the Rapper hosted on Soundcloud.

Musicians have to jump through so many hoops in what they can and cannot sing. Through Soundcloud, the hoops are cleared and it’s focusing on what counts: the audio. I closely associate music and news since I believe many artists tackle political events or problems with the world, especially in the r&b and punk genres. Soundcloud provides a platform for these musicians to participate in a community journalism on their own: publishing music without restrictions.

However, Soundcloud is used for a lot more than new music discovery or podcasts for your commute. Or, it should be. The BBC runs a Soundcloud account that has features from current events to stories about cute animals. One of their memorable and informative playlists include coverage from the Nepal earthquake. You can check out the audio-witness accounts here, as well as journalist reports through podcast radio style interviews and broadcasts.

The BBC provides these current event stories through audio — an effective platform for practically everyone. However, they are clear to share their mission and story even if not participating in community journalism. By sharing interviews and eyewitness accounts, we partake in an aspect of free press as we, the audience, get to see (or hear) what’s really going on. In this case, BBC World Service Radio’s set on the Nepal earthquake gave terrifying statistics, firsthand accounts, and journalist broadcasts on the situation while updating in time with the event happening.

Audio is an underrated medium in the day and age of community journalism and spectacular visuals. Not only do journalists need to take advantage of Soundcloud as a social media platform to publish stories through a free press environment, but we as an audience need to utilize Soundcloud as we do Facebook. We need to incorporate the platform into our daily lives and experience the news, whether it be music, current events, or a comedy podcast. Audio platforms like Soundcloud provide people to publish works in a free press environment, and as an audience we get to hear the real story through our speakers.