Long Live SoundCloud: A Truly Social Music Network
Music is inherently social. From live concerts, to creating endless playlists for just the right mood or event, to discovering new artists and being the first to tell your circle of friends. A driving force behind much of this can be traced to SoundCloud, which is a social network that offers much more than simply music streaming.
SoundCloud has been alive and well for 10 years, but nearly met its demise this month. The company laid off nearly 50% of its staff and was on its way to being just another formerly success startup swept away online abyss. That is until an investor swooped in with $170 million in funding to keep the platform afloat.
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been moved by the outpouring of commentary around SoundCloud’s unique & crucial role in driving what global culture is today (and what it will become tomorrow). You’ve told me how, without SoundCloud, there would be a giant gaping void in today’s world of music. We can’t have that…” said Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud founder and chairman.
SoundCloud isn’t unique when it comes to streaming music, as there are endless available services. See: Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music. Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited. But SoundCloud isn’t just another online music service. It is a social media platform built by and for a community of passionate music fans.
SoundCloud is the definition of social.
This is highlighted in a recent love letter to the platform published by The Ringer:
With the format of the comments section, you can see what everyone else is feeling at the height of a song’s peaks and the depth of its valleys, in real-time. You follow the people you want to follow, you listen to the songs that they repost. If you’re feeling froggy, you can upload some of your own in minutes, with basically no barriers to entry.” — Micah Peters, The Ringer
It’s true that SoundCloud lets artists get their music out to a wide audience in a matter of clicks (heck, Chance The Rapper pretty much owes his career to his music being discovered on the platform), but it also serves as a way for brands to capitalize on promotion, advertising and sponsorship.
Yet, it’s what happens on the listener’s side that lies at the heart of the platform. Users submit real-time comments that appear as a song plays, allowing others to feel and share the same experiences with complete strangers on the Internet. Music unifies, and there is perhaps no greater example than this.
We have yet to even touch on up-and-coming possibility that SoundCloud presents to brands and entrepreneurs alike. This lies in the platform’s podcast service. It’s easy to use, reliable, and has a wide built-in audience (the company boasts 175 million unique listeners per month). It also features an add-on that shares podcasts directly into other’s Twitter streams.
A tool as simple and convenient as this allows anyone to become a podcaster. And with the influx of podcasts presenting a future full of possibilities as it pertains to online audio storytelling, this is a terrific tool for any and all online publishers or aspiring media personalities.
The music industry is in a constant state of evolution, one in which SoundCloud has heavily influenced. SoundCloud has started countless online conversations, in effect turning streaming music into the ultimate social experience.