|Foundation date||2007 (Berlin, Germany)|
|Key people||Alexander Ljung (Founder & CEO)
Eric Wahlforss (Founder & CTO)
Dave Haynes (VP Business Development),
David Noël (Evangelist & Community Manager)
|Type of site||Social networking service, music website|
|Registration||Required to post/upload, but not to listen|
|Users||40 million registered users, 200 million listeners|
SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, Germany that enables its users to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds. In May 2010, it announced that it had reached a million users.
SoundCloud was originally started in Stockholm, Sweden, but it was established in Berlin, Germany in August 2007 by Swedish sound designer Alex Ljung and Swedish artist Eric Wahlforss. It had the intention of allowing musicians to share recordings with each other, but it 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 interact 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. In January 2011, it was confirmed that SoundCloud had raised a $10 million Series B funding round from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. On June 15, 2011, SoundCloud announced they had five million registered users, and investments from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary's A-Grade Fund. On January 23, 2012, SoundCloud announced on their blog that they had 10 million registered users. A story wheel was created for the occasion, which can be found on the SoundCloud blog. In December 2012, a new SoundCloud layout was released to the general public. Among the many new features was the ability to continue playback of a track whilst navigating around the site, and the ability to read comments without them obscuring the waveform.
A key feature of SoundCloud is that it lets artists upload their music with a distinctive URL. This contrasts with MySpace, which hosts music only on the MySpace site. By allowing sound files to be embedded anywhere, SoundCloud can be combined with Twitter and Facebook to let members reach their audience better.
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.
SoundCloud depicts audio tracks graphically as waveforms and allows users to comment on specific parts of the track (also known as timed comments). Other standard features include reposts, sets, followers, and downloads.
SoundCloud also provides users with the ability to create and join groups that provide a common space for content to be collected and shared.
Paid subscription features
SoundCloud offers additional features to users with paid subscriptions. Such users are given more hosting space and may distribute their tracks or recordings to more groups and users, create sets of recordings, and more thoroughly track the statistics for each of their tracks. Additional statistic data are unlocked depending on which subscription the user has chosen, including the number of listens per track per user and the originating country of individual listens.
As SoundCloud has grown and expanded beyond its initial user base primarily consisting of grassroots musicians, some original users have complained that it is losing its fidelity to artists in an attempt to appeal to the masses, perhaps in preparation for public sale. Such criticism particularly followed the launching of a revamped website in 2013 that was heavily reconfigured to be more amenable to listeners—at the expense of artists, some claimed. CEO Ljung responded that while he would take these criticisms into consideration, these listener-friendly changes would likely attract many new users.
- "Alexa traffic rank".
- Mike Butcher (18 May 2010). "Now a million on SoundCloud – This startup is scaling globally". TechCrunch.
- Eliot Van Buskirk (6 July 2009). "SoundCloud Threatens MySpace as Music Destination for Twitter Era". Wired.
- David Noël (23 January 2012). "SoundCloud Hits Ten Million Users". SoundCloud.
- "Musikmesse 2010: PreSonus launches major enhancements to Studio One". MusicRadar.com. 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- "SoundCloud – Reach to Millions of Music Lovers". Soundcloud Promotion. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- "What's the difference between each subscription level?". SoundCloud. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Rooney, Ben (2011-11-03). "Soundcloud, Wonga Win Tech Tour Awards". The Wall Street Journal.