SoundCloud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Soundcloud)
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with SoundHound.
SoundCloud
SoundCloud logo.svg
SoundCloud Homepage.png
Type Privately held company
Founded 2007 (Stockholm, Sweden)
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Alexander Ljung
Eric Wahlforss
Key people Alexander Ljung (Founder & CEO)
Eric Wahlforss (Founder & CTO),
David Noël (VP Community & Evangelist)
Employees 190
Website soundcloud.com
Alexa rank Decrease 168[1]
Type of site Social networking service, music website
Registration Required to post and upload content
Users 40 million registered users (July 2013), 175 million unique monthly listeners (Dec. 2014)
Launched October 2008

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. According to the company’s data[which?] in December 2014, the service attracts more than 175 million unique monthly listeners, while content creators upload about 12 hours worth of audio every minute.[citation needed] Founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss are the chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO), respectively.

History[edit]

SoundCloud was originally founded in Stockholm, Sweden, but was established in Berlin in August 2007 by Swedish sound designer Ljung and Swedish artist Wahlforss. The founders initially aspired to allow musicians to share recordings with each other, but the concept later transformed into a full publishing tool that also allowed musicians to distribute their music tracks.[2]

A few months after inception, 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.[2]

In a 2009 interview with Wired, 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.[2]

In April 2009, SoundCloud received €2.5 million Series A funding from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures.[3] By May 2010, SoundCloud announced it had one million subscribers.[3]

In January 2011, it was confirmed that SoundCloud had raised a US$10 million Series B funding round from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. On 15 June 2011, SoundCloud announced they had five million registered users, as well as investments from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary's A-Grade Fund.

On 23 January 2012, SoundCloud announced on their blog that they had reached 10 million registered users. A story wheel was created for the occasion, which can be found on the SoundCloud blog.[4] By May 2012, 15 million users were announced by the company at a press conference held in San Francisco, US, where the next version of the site was previewed. The usage level for the site was growing by 1.5 million users per month at this stage.[5]

At the start of December 2012, the new SoundCloud version was released to the general public. Heavily influenced by the tablet browsing experience and mobile devices, the enhanced platform offered new features such as: redesigned profiles; more sharing options; real-time notifications; continuous play, which allows concurrent listening and site navigation; the ability to create personal collections/sets; and the addition of real-time indexing to search.[5] The response from users was mixed, and many expressed dissatisfaction about the change. SoundCloud received over 60,000 comments regarding the new layout by 10 December 2012.[6] Also in December 2012, the company's data showed that SoundCloud was reaching 180 million people per month—8 percent of the global Internet—while users were uploading 10 hours of content every minute.[7]

In March 2013, Twitter announced SoundCloud as a third-party music partner, alongside iTunes, in developing the Twitter's first-ever integrated music app. However, the initiative never eventuated; SoundCloud's inability to load licensed music—due to the absence of arrangements with the major music labels—was cited as a major reason.[8][9] By July 2013, SoundCloud's registered users had quadrupled in number from the beginning of the previous year, with a total of 40 million, and an additional 20 million listeners were using the service on a monthly basis.[10]

SoundCloud announced in January 2014 that it had commenced negotiations with the major music companies, as copyrighted material consistently appeared on the platform—the failure of the previous year's Twitter partnership was also influential. Prior to this, Twitter had eventually adhered to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act following an unmonitored period after the site's inception.[11] Like other major online entities the DCMA applies to, SoundCloud does not need to monitor uploaded content for copyright infringement, provided requests from rights-holders are readily fulfilled. The announcement was publicised after a round of funding in which US$60 million was raised, resulting in a $700 million valuation. The additional finances were suggested as the reason for the plan, as finalising such deals is a costly process.[9]

In March 2014, SoundCloud was reportedly in a second round of talks with major music labels about licensing after the January negotiations did not amount to anything substantial. According to media sources, the negotiation process was initiated in an attempt to avoid the problems faced by Google, which is forced to handle a large number of takedown notices on its YouTube video-sharing platform.[12] However, the outcome of the talks was not forthcoming in any media sources.

At the start of May 2014, SoundCloud announced in an email to registered users that the Classic SoundCloud interface would be discontinued by the end of the month. The company explained in the email: "The complexities of keeping two SoundCloud websites up and communicating with each other at a global scale has been extremely difficult, causing increased outages on both sites and slowed the platform as a whole."[13]

Later in May, the media reported that Twitter had regained interest in SoundCloud and was considering acquiring the platform for around US$2 billion. The next [clarification needed] after the publicity of the deal surfaced, the prospect was no longer an active consideration. One media report stated that "the numbers didn't add up", while Bobby Owsinski claimed on the Forbes website in July[14] that SoundCloud's ongoing inability to secure deals with the major music labels was the foremost culprit.[15]

Sources with knowledge of the company's next funding round spoke with the media in early December 2014 to reveal that ongoing discussions could raise about US$150 million in new financing, leading to a new valuation that would surpass the billion-dollar mark. Other startups that have crossed such a threshold include Spotify and Uber. At this time, SoundCloud claimed that 175 million unique listeners used the site each month, while about 12 hours worth of audio were being uploaded every minute.[16][17]

The major label issue became prominent again when the new financing information was released, as the lack of monetisation was presented as an issue—SoundCloud had managed to sign an agreement with Warner Music as part its the "Premier Partners" program that allows both Warner Music, which also has a minor stake in the company, and its publishing division to collect royalties for songs they’ve chosen to monetize on the site; meanwhile, the other labels remain skeptical of the company's business model.[16][17]

According to further information released in December 2014, the introduction of ads had allowed SoundCloud to share revenue with about 60 other Premier Partners, including independent labels and artists, who are invited to participate and receive special promotion rights. The majority of users at this stage of the company's history are required to pay annual fees without the option to monetise. SoundCloud committed to the launch of a paid subscription service in 2015.[16][17]

Features[edit]

  • Among SoundCloud's key features is the ability it affords artists to upload their music with a distinctive URL. By allowing sound files to be embedded anywhere, SoundCloud can be combined with Twitter and Facebook to let members reach their audience better. By simply clicking a share button designated to the site where you wish to host the shared content and approving the post, you can let audiences on the site see the content through their desired media outlet. This contrasts with MySpace, which hosts music only on the MySpace site.[2] Over half the songs that are uploaded are played within the first 30 minutes, and 90% of all uploaded tracks receive a listen from at least one user.[18]
  • SoundCloud users can create and join groups that provide a common space for content to be collected and shared.
  • Registered SoundCloud users have the power to listen to as much content as they wish and to upload up to 180 minutes of audio to their profile. All of these features are free of charge and available to all SoundCloud users as soon as they have registered a SoundCloud profile.[19][20][21] An average of 12 hours of audio is uploaded to the site every minute,[16] and half of SoundCloud’s content is split between small-time musicians and mainstream superstars.[22]
  • SoundCloud distributes music using widgets and apps.[3] Users can place the widget on their own websites or blogs, and then SoundCloud will automatically tweet every track uploaded.[2]
  • SoundCloud depicts audio tracks graphically as waveforms and allows users to post "timed comments" on specific parts of any track. These comments are displayed while the audio segment they refer to is played.
  • Other standard features include the ability to create playlists(previously known as "sets"),[citation needed] and to "Like Playlist", "Repost Playlist", and "Share"; to "Follow" another user, and to make complimentary downloads.[25]

[edit]

SoundCloud offers additional features to paid subscribers. If a user wishes to upload content that exceeds the initial free 3 hours, s/he may subscribe to a $59/year plan which allows up to 6 hours of content, or a $145/year plan which allows unlimited uploads;[26] this additional hosting space allows users to 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. Moreover, additional statistical data is 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.[27]

Apps[edit]

SoundCloud has released apps for popular mobile operating systems, including Android[28] and iOS.[29]

Reception[edit]

Recognition[edit]

SoundCloud won the Schroders Innovation Award at the 2011 European Tech Tour Awards Dinner.[30][31]

Criticism[edit]

As SoundCloud has grown and expanded beyond its initial user base, consisting primarily 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 Alexander Ljung responded that while he would take these criticisms into consideration, the changes to the site would result in higher usage numbers for SoundCloud.[32]

On 3 July 2014, TorrentFreak reported that SoundCloud offered unlimited removal powers to certain copyright holders, allowing those copyright holders to remove paid subscribers' content without avenue to contest and dispute wrongful deletions.[33]

Blocking[edit]

The Government of Turkey blocked access to the SoundCloud website on 24 January 2014.[34][35][36] A user named "haramzadeler" ("bastards" in Turkish) uploaded a total of seven secretly recorded phone calls that reveal private conversations between the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and others, including: Erdoğan Bayraktar, local politicians, some businessmen, and the prime minister's daughter, Sümeyye Erdoğan, and son, Bilal Erdoğan.[37] Linked to the 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, some conversations on the recordings revealed illegal activity and possible bribery—mainly about the building permit for villas located on protected cultural heritage sites in Urla, İzmir.[38] The opposition party Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi submitted a parliamentary question to TBMM (the Grand National Assembly of Turkey) concerning the issue, and the questionnaire asks why SoundCloud services were banned without any proper cause or reason.[39][40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alexa traffic rank". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Eliot Van Buskirk (6 July 2009). "SoundCloud Threatens MySpace as Music Destination for Twitter Era". Wired. 
  3. ^ a b c Mike Butcher (18 May 2010). "Now a million on SoundCloud – This startup is scaling globally". TechCrunch. 
  4. ^ David Noël (23 January 2012). "SoundCloud Hits Ten Million Users". SoundCloud. 
  5. ^ a b Drew Olanoff (9 May 2012). "SoundCloud announces "Next" version of its site, hits 15M users". The Next Web. The Next Web, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Robin Wauters (10 December 2012). "SoundCloud user accuses SoundCloud of "doing a Zuckerberg" – on SoundCloud". The Next Web. The Next Web, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Martin Bryant (4 December 2012). "With 10 hours of audio uploaded every minute, SoundCloud rolls its new site design out to all users". The Next Web. The Next Web, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Peter Kafka (13 March 2013). "Twitter’s Music App Will Let You Watch, Too, With Help From Vevo". All Things D. Dow Jones & Company Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Peter Kafka (24 January 2014). "SoundCloud Has a New Pile of Cash, and Wants to Cut Deals With Big Music". ReCode. Revere Digital LLC. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Jefferson Graham (17 July 2013). "Who's listening to SoundCloud? 200 million". USA Today. 
  11. ^ Ellis Hamburger (24 January 2014). "SoundCloud pursuing its first licensing deals with record labels". The Verge. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Tom Pakinkis (28 March 2014). "SoundCloud holding licensing talks with labels - report". Music Week. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Martin Bryant (7 May 2014). "SoundCloud will shut down its old ‘Classic’ interface next week, 18 months after it was replaced". The Next Web. The Next Web, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Bobby Owsinski (24 July 2014). "Major Labels Buying Into Soundcloud Sets It Up For Acquisition". Forbes. Forbes, LLC. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Nathan Ingraham (20 May 2014). "Twitter's plans to purchase SoundCloud have evaporated, claims report". The Verge. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d EVELYN M. RUSLI, HANNAH KARP, DOUGLAS MACMILLAN (9 December 2014). "SoundCloud’s Valuation Could Top $1.2 Billion With New Fundraising". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Jill Krasny (9 December 2014). "SoundCloud May Soon Join the Billion-Dollar Startup Club". Inc. Monsueto Ventures. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  18. ^ Hill, Brad (14 November 2013). "Soundcloud celebrates five years; releases impressive stats". Rain News. 
  19. ^ Woods, Ben (4 January 2014). "15 of the best music streaming platforms online today. Which one is best for you?". TheNextWeb.com. 
  20. ^ "Introducing On SoundCloud, our new creator partner program". SoundCloud Blog. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "On SoundCloud". Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Graham, Jefferson (17 July 2013). "Who's listening to SoundCloud? 200 million". USA Today. 
  23. ^ "Musikmesse 2010: PreSonus launches major enhancements to Studio One". MusicRadar.com. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  24. ^ SoundYouNeed.com
  25. ^ "SoundCloud – Reach to Millions of Music Lovers". Soundcloud Promotion. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "Go Pro on SoundCloud". https://soundcloud.com/. Retrieved 2014-11-14. 
  27. ^ "What's the difference between each subscription level?". SoundCloud. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "SoundCloud for Android". Android (operating system). Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "SoundCloud iOS app". iTunes Store. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  30. ^ Rooney, Ben (3 November 2011). "Soundcloud, Wonga Win Tech Tour Awards". The Wall Street Journal. 
  31. ^ http://www.techtour.com/Entrepreneur-of-the-Year-Award-2011/Testimonials.htm
  32. ^ Mac, Ryan (26 April 2013). "SoundCloud Manages Criticism as it Moves to Become the YouTube of Audio". Forbes. 
  33. ^ "Universal Music Can Delete Any SoundCloud Track Without Oversight". TorrentFreak. 3 July 2014. 
  34. ^ Marc Hogan. "Has Turkey Banned SoundCloud?". Spin. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "Soundcloud.com'a erişim engellendi". Sözcü Newspaper (in Turkish). Sözcü. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  36. ^ Dorian Jones. "Turkey: Is a Dark Net Rising?". Eurasianet.org. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  37. ^ Oray Egin. "Loose Lips Threaten Turkey's Powerful". Vocativ. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Erdoğan Sacks Izmir Gov'nor for Shady Villa Deal". Aydınlık. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Soundcloud.com'u Erdoğan mı kapattı?". Sözcü Newspaper (in Turkish). Sözcü. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Turkish main opposition questions Erdoğan about Urla villas". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]