Just Asking The Question
I don't have the answer. I just want to ask it and I definitely want to hear from you. What is soundcloud? Does it fit in with what a DIY/indie musician or band needs? If so, how does it fit? Will that change as SoundCloud continues to monetize?
Straight from the source: “SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.” So, it's the “world's leading social sound platform”. Social is good. Leading is good. Though these can mean a myriad of things. As we've seen with social networks like Twitter vs. Instagram vs. Google+. Each has a very different character, different struggle behind the scenes and very different ways of dealing with creators. SoundCloud has a reputation for being a very open platform. Certainly, they've had to deal with issues of copyright and intellectual property. Their decision to monetize has increased the fray around some of these questions for obvious reasons.
But let's look at the second half of that sentence: “where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.” I think it's safe to say that SoundCloud has benefitted from the “democratization of sound production.” All you have to do is randomly play a few dozen tracks on their platform to see how varied the quality of sound production and musicality is.
As you know if you read this blog, my interest is in so-called independent or DIY or Do-It-Together musicians. In other words, musicians who are not on a major label. My question then becomes: Is SoundCloud a good platform for indie musicians?
My own personal jury is out. Certainly, they provide a place to have music heard, shared, commented, liked, and so on. Their free version is quite useful and the “Pro” paid version is not too expensive. There is easy integration with blog and social media sites. In other words, if you are looking for a place to share and get likes, this may be your spot.
Recently, this whole “post stuff to get likes” thing has me puzzled. I know that it's been pulling at me for years, but now, it seems so hollow. I'd much rather have people read my blog posts, engage in dialogue, and help each other in ways that meet needs beyond personal ego. In other words, the “get likes” thing hits close enough to home that I can understand it, but I no longer crave it. I'm looking for sharing that goes deeper.
If you do post your original music on SoundCloud, be sure to enter your “Permissions” with care. Obviously, don't leave “Enable Download” checked unless that's what you want. The second row of comments and like features being public (or not) is self-explanatory. Only check the “Display Embed Code” if you want other people to be able to easily copy the information that would allow them to post your track on their web site without checking with you. The “Enable App Playback” must be checked to allow mobile devices to play your sounds. Unfortunately, it also means that anyone can embed your track anywhere they like on the web. Consider the trade-offs and decide. I enable it because of the mobile feature.
So, as you can see, I still have music on SoundCloud. For me, the question is whether I should leave it there and continue to post music. Or is it time to put even more focus on sites like BandCamp and CDBaby? What do you think? Please leave your comments and continue the dialogue!