What is Soundcloud?
SoundCloud was originally started in Stockholm, Sweden, but was established in Berlin, Germany in August, 2007 by sound designer Alex Ljung and artist Eric Wahlforss. It had the intention of allowing musicians to share recordings with each other, but later transformed into a full publishing tool which also allowed musicians to distribute their music tracks.
A few months after it began operating, SoundCloud began to challenge the dominance of MySpace as a platform for musicians to distribute their music, by allowing recording artists to react more nimbly with their fans.
In a 2009 interview with Wired, co-founder Alex Ljung said:
“We both came from backgrounds connected to music, and it was just really, really annoying for us to collaborate with people on music — I mean simple collaboration, just sending tracks to other people in a private setting, getting some feedback from them, and having a conversation about that piece of music. In the same way that we’d be using Flickr for our photos, and Vimeo for our videos, we didn’t have that kind of platform for our music.”
In April, 2009, SoundCloud received €2.5 million Series A funding from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures. By May, 2010, SoundCloud announced it had one million subscribers.
A key feature of SoundCloud is that it lets artists upload their music with a distinctive URL. This contrasts to MySpace, which hosts music only on the MySpace site. By allowing sound files to be embedded anywhere, SoundCloud can be combined with Twitter to increase its audience reach.
Soundcloud distributes music using widgets and apps. Users can place the widget on their own websites or blogs, and then SoundCloud will automatically Tweet every track uploaded. SoundCloud has an API that allows other applications or smartphones to upload or download music and sound files. Apps are available for the iPhone and Android platforms and a Symbian App is also thought to be on the way.
This API has been integrated into several applications, most notably by the Pro version of the PreSonus Studio One DAW.
For a fee, there is no file size limit for uploads, and SoundCloud allows users to comment on specific parts of the recording.