It’s been labeled the new MySpace, the YouTube of audio, and the radio of the future, but many people outside of the music industry are just now learning about SoundCloud. While the service has been around since 2007, the service has evolved over the years to appeal to a wider range of users.
A Lesson in Appeal
Social media has made sharing text, photos, and videos easier than ever. But musicians have the need to share content with family, friends, and fellow musicians just as easily. MySpace was created to facilitate a musician’s need to promote his work, but its successors have left out that functionality. Perhaps because of this vacancy, investors have taken particular interest in SoundCloud recently, with the company landing $60 million in funding at a $700 million valuation.
SoundCloud’s functionality shows obvious promise, especially in today’s social media-driven world. Once an artist uploads a piece of audio to his SoundCloud account, the site assigns a unique URL to the piece of content. That URL can be used to embed files on websites and social media sites or simply shared with friends and associates through email.
To make sharing easier, SoundCloud also gives users the ability to add widgets to their websites or social media pages. As new content is uploaded to a user’s SoundCloud, the app can then blast updates to a user’s online followers and fans to help with promotion. With a paid subscription, users can gain access to better social sharing features and advanced analytics.
SoundCloud isn’t resting on its current success, however. The company is currently working with record labels to allow copyrighted content to be posted—a move that could allow users to access their favorite songs through the service. This would broaden SoundCloud’s appeal, potentially giving it an audience similar to video-sharing service YouTube.
According to SoundCloud, users upload approximately 12 hours of content every minute. To compete with mass-market products like Spotify, the company will have to reach beyond the music industry and find new ways to satisfy consumer demand. Currently, SoundCloud is also working on a mobile strategy.
One thing SoundCloud doesn’t lack is celebrity power. Among the many major artists who have content on the site are Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails, along with classic musicians like Richard Marx. Once SoundCloud strikes deals with major record labels, the service could become a new way for artists at all stages of their careers to share music with fans and fellow musicians.