SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform founded by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlfors and based in Berlin, Germany. Users of the platform can easily upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds. As the world’s largest music and audio platform, the app allows its users discover and enjoy arguably the greatest selection of music from the most diverse creator community on earth.
Since it’s launching in 2008, it has established itself as a leader in the music streaming scene because of its unique content and features, including the ability to share music and connect directly with artists, as well as unearth breakthrough tracks, raw demos, podcasts and more. Music and audio creators use it to share and monetize their content with a global audience, as well as receive detailed stats and feedback from the community.
SOUNDCLOUD MONETIZATION/ SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
From 2014 to 2016, SoundCloud has announced different modalities of monetizing their services through a new partner program known as “On SoundCloud”, which allows “premier” partners to monetize their content through advertising units, through pre-roll audio ads, sponsorship of channels, mobile display ads, etc. The company has since announced deals with most renowned content partners including; independent labels, and YouTube multi-channel networks.
In February 2017, SoundCloud launched a new subscription tier service named “SoundCloud Go”. The new SoundCloud Go will be a mid-range option that allows users to cut ads and listen to songs offline for $5 per month. Original version of SoundCloud Go will be renamed “SoundCloud Go+” and it’ll give its users access to over 150 million, offline playback, no ads, no previews, and premium music tracks for $10 per month.
SoundCloud allows artists to upload their music up to 180 minutes of audio to their profile at no cost. The platform has the ability to embed sound files to anywhere, it distributes music using widgets and apps.
Users can install the widget on their individual websites or blogs, after which it will automatically tweet every track uploaded to social media platforms like; Twitter and Facebook, enabling their users reach a bigger audience.
Other standard features include its API which has been integrated into several applications, including GarageBand, Logic Pro, etc. This allows third party applications or Smartphones to upload sound files, or download files if the user has permission to do so.
SoundCloud has been criticized for its continuous play feature on non-mobile platforms which cannot be turned off by users. The recent update on their website and application even though it made the interface more aesthetically pleasing, the interface has become more difficult to use.
SoundCloud’s anti-piracy algorithm that was put into place to combat the staggering number of illegal music downloads has often been criticized for taking down music that was not illegally submitted or downloaded. Also, its partners such as; Universal Music Group has the right to take down any files on SoundCloud.
It goes as far as allowing the company to take down accounts, both premium and free. This has brought heavy criticism from users who are arguing that the right to manage and delete accounts should be reserved to SoundCloud itself, not to an outside company.