Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sound Cloud

Cross posted from Byte Channel

If you thought Google Music was cool, take a look at Sound Cloud. While Google Music, very much like all the other apps by the search engine giant, does not create/store data, but crawls the web and filters relevant data, Sound Music lets you create and share your own sounds!

SoundCloud works in the same way as Flickr; the way you click, upload and share photos in Flickr, SoundCloud lets you record, upload and share your music. And yes, very much like Flickr, you will have to buy one of the annual subscription plans available from €29 to €500 if your total tracks go longer than 120 minutes. Very much like Flickr, when you upload your music, it gives a unique url to your upload, and hence you can embed it on any website you wish to.

A short trip to the homepage, and I was impressed with the design and especially the 'Timed Comments' in the form of a waveform sitting at the centre, which I later learnt in the tour, can be generated for comments on your shared sounds as well. The footer features a list of features that SoundCloud provides, including a visualization for your sound, direct links to share it on FB, Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress and other popular websites, and connect with over 100 apps.

This Berlin-based startup had the initial intention of allowing musicians to share recordings with each other, but later transformed into a full publishing tool that allowed musicians to distribute their tracks. Over around four years, it has evolved into a general-purpose music sharing tool. I was surprised to find recent Bollywood albums like Delhi Belly and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara had its music launch just yesterday, but the album was available on Sound Cloud 10 days ago. All these albums are also available for download. I am sure they keep encountering copyright issues from time to time.

Anyway, I find this a useful site, I only wonder why is it not that popular--not popular in Indian/American circles at least, since I had never heard/read of it till last week, but the kind of music shared on this cloud tells otherwise. Google tells me they have over 3 million subscribers! I don't see any publicity for it anywhere, probably because of the European base.

While I am sceptical about the copyright infringement part of it, recalling the fate of Napster, I believe SoundCloud has a huge scope as a platform for musicians, keeping to the original intent. And I wonder why do we still not have any such startup in India/US?


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