MySpace used to be the place to go to share one’s life. At the beginning of the social media era, it was the only game in town. Musicians quickly realized that it was a practical method of sharing one’s work at zero cost. One could get one’s music to a great number of people extremely quickly, and those who listened to the tracks could comment immediately. Musicians, therefore, got instant reviews and opinions on their work and could make appropriate changes and improvements. As Facebook supplanted MySpace as the “go to” social networking site sometime in 2005, MySpace’s popularity as a music sharing site also began to wane. The musical community began searching for its replacement.
The search was largely fruitless until an innovative site launched in Sweden in 2007. SoundCloud offered more features than MySpace. Its superior concept allowed musicians to share on a site specifically designed for music sharing. MySpace was, after all, a social networking site with a music sharing feature. SoundCloud transcended that by being a pure music sharing site. In fact, its main benefit was that musicians could upload their tracks with unique URLs. Along with listeners, they could then embed them in either Facebook or Twitter for a much broader distribution. Users can now even create widgets on their personal blogs or websites that will automatically tweet each uploaded track. SoundCloud co-founder Alex Ljung stated in a 2009 interview for Wired magazine, “… 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.” SoundCloud filled that niche.
More than 8,000,000 users populate SoundCloud’s airwaves. They prefer the free-of-charge, intuitive, streamlined interface on SoundCloud to the license-driven content on Spotify or MOG. Recently, SoundCloud has branched out. It now provides podcasting and live recording, foreshadowing a future with complete music libraries percolating through the cloud. Joining with Ljung, SoundCloud users describe this groundbreaking website as the Flickr of music.
SoundCloud gives talented pianists that fall just short of genius a place to ply their downright worthy musical wares. Although one might think the wide open format gives players a place to upload junk, discerning users identify such junk quickly. In fact, the comments feature gives users the ability to succinctly post their opinion on any track. Those who intentionally upload junk invite ridicule.
The newest SoundCloud build includes many features familiar to Facebook users. There is a “like” button, an upgrade to available apps, and a powerful, comprehensive group feature that was something loyal Soundcloud fans demanded.
In short, SoundCloud is a terrific place to upload music to be heard on a large scale. It is an equally good place to hear well-crafted content if one is simply a listener.
Dive into the cloud with these selected listening tips:
- A “pianist” search at SoundCloud
- SoundCloud Pianists – a group for pianists
- Benjamin Grosvenor, concertos samples
- Hélène Grimaud
- Lang Lang
- Leif Ove Andsnes – The Beethoven Journey
- Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op 46: III. Vivo e festoso
- Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series 2012/13