SoundCloud nearly dead?

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I know a lot of folks in these parts use and/or have used SoundCloud. I read this article earlier today and thought it might be worth sharing with all of you.

I used to like the idea of (and was a paying member of) Soundcloud until, just as the article points out, they became obsessed with becoming the umpteenth Spotify-clone rather than servicing its independent musician base. (Not that I have anything against Spotify -- I'm a big Spotify fan, in fact -- but we don't need yet another streaming service.)

Of course, even when Soundcloud actually was focused on being a repository for independent artists, it had significant problems, including the ridiculous amount of spam. But it's the change in focus (and the resultant deletion of artist-friendly features) that ultimately caused me to cancel my subscription and drove me away.

And it seems that, rather than returning to their roots, Soundcloud is just doubling down on being a Spotify clone. At the end of the article, the author argues (and I agree) that "SoundCloud must get much more aggressive about identifying its differentiated value — independent musicians — and drop any business like Go+ where it can’t keep up. It would need to deepen its relationship with creators and offer more tools to get them paid, like the booming monthly subscription patronage platform Patreon. Unfortunately, SoundCloud PR tells me “There are currently no plans to make changes to our existing subscription offerings.”

Soundcloud does still provide a valuable service to independent musicians, even if mainly as an afterthought. But I don't think it provides it well at this point, and it doesn't look like it will be around much longer.

(My own feeling -- ungrounded in any actual fact or concrete information -- is that they went down the road of major-label-licensing and trying to be another Spotify in order to appease the large base of DJ Mixers who were using Soundcloud, which I think was the start of the company's downfall, but that's a rant for another day.)

I never had any illusions about SC. It was just another place to park songs, and get limited feedback. Like some folks I thought there might be a redefining moment, but sadly that time may be past.

I've met some great people on SC. I think they should offer direct sales of average users songs or at least a package from a 3rd party they align with. They also need to find a better way to make stream searches accurate. What they have now trusts users to select the correct genre. This is why you might select country as a genre stream and be listening to hip hop two song in.

Just a mess really IMO that needs to all be sorted out.

Somebody just turned me into It's supposed to be better than soundcloud. We'll see.

I set up a free account a while ago and have used it on occasion when I've wanted to stream something on Facebook or Twitter. It works fine for that purpose, and I've had no problems thus far. (Note that the streaming does not work on Wordpress blogs, however, unless a special plugin is installed in the particular Wordpress blog. I don't know if streaming would work in the 50/90 player, but even if it doesn't, one could always just submit a link like with a Bandcamp-hosted song.)

Also, only allows 340 characters in the "description" box, so for people like me who like to include all lyrics, we're out of luck. And I don't think you can arrange tracks in "albums" like on Soundcloud.

But all that being said, for basic streaming and embedding on a website, Facebook or Twitter, or for sending a song link to someone, works great, and I find it much "cleaner" and less annoying than Soundcloud. What it sets out to do, it does in a polished fashion.

I only joined Soundcloud because everyone else was there and it became one of the ways to post songs for FAWM and 50-90. I've only ever had a free account. There have always been things I didn't like about it, particularly that if you were playing a track at the end something else would start to play without any space, and often something of no relevance to what you had been listening to. As a free member I could not reorganize my tracks nor can you put them into categories. It's nice to be able to create a playlist or send specific links, either public or private. For myself I'd be happy to move somewhere more functional. I always liked Reverbnation but it never seemed to take off like Soundcloud did. I have heard that Bandcamp is where some composers are going....

Beggars can't be choosers. It's free and it's a fine place to post songs for FAWM. When my free account runs out of space for songs, I just delete earlier ones and start all over again each year. It's a shame about the employees being laid off - some just hired weeks before.

SoundCloud deserves to die. They're currently antagonistic both to their creator-base as well as their listener-base. Who are they catering to? Oh, right: Corporate Industry.

The DJ crowd was chased off when they started using audio recognition features and sending them cease and desist letters. You can find articles about DJs that formerly used SoundCloud and the platforms they're now using if you search a little bit.

I suspect what happened was, someone that didn't understand their niche, but had money said, "You should do this." Then SoundCloud went, "You have money, so you must be smart. We'll get right on it."

Personally, I'm a fan of Patreon.

Can you elaborate on why you are a Patreon fan? Can I use it like I do my soundcloud, or does everyone have to pay to hear it? Also, does the name Patreon scare away people because they think it's going to cost them money? Thanks in advance Smile I'm looking at Patreon and would like some others' opinions Smile

For FAWM/5090 I always use the file hosting. I only opened a Soundcloud account because, at the time in 2012, I had signed up for NaSoAlMo and was encouraged to use that to create an album with a track order, as opposed to my Soundclick account, which did not have the playlist feature. Amazingly Soundclick is still up. Yikes I need to do some housecleaning there. Until I discovered Bandcamp, I only used Soundcloud for NaSoAlMo and other miscellaneous challenges. Like @corinne54 I only keep a few songs on Soundcloud.

@Hummingbird You can create your own playlists. I am using it as a free account and have been organizing my music in playlists for a couple of years. I can see that it's going downhill and I'm sad. It was a good site for hosting. I never had any illusions that people would notice my music there, but for what I need it for, it works.

I used band camp for my finished CD when I was in a duo. I'll probably use it again when I'm done with the one I'm working on. I wouldn't want to put unfinished songs up there where I'm trying to sell finished ones though.

@Tasha Parker Gibbs They're designed to solve different problems. Patreon is designed to allow artists to give their material away for free and still get paid by an engaged audience.

SoundCloud has no real ability for artists to be paid and has no intent to remedy that. The audience engagement relies on simple commenting. When it comes to alternatives to SoundCloud, you can basically use anything.

@Tasha Parker Gibbs, that said, I'm not sure about some of the details with Patreon. My understanding was that folks mostly host things there when they're exclusive extras for their fans, but the public stuff is hosted elsewhere. I've been trying to get more explicit with what I'm creating before look in to it more thoroughly. I follow multiple musicians that use it, but I've never found a case where an artist redirects me there to get something for free.

Interesting, all the above. Hmmm... oh well, --better get to backing-up from there I guess.

All I ever used them (SC) for was "staging area" of rough demos, demos, work. I never considered them (don't do it anyway) for finished artistic work, --would have engaged some of the other many well known marketing sites for that (so annoyingly used, e.g. on facebook groups by 1-time "members", for "demos" --but was getting spammed new releases by very annoying wannabe's who never realized you can't sell a used car to a used car sales person... and "click count" values are worth what?, unless in the hundred-thousands.)

All mentioned "here" (fawm/5090) in many prior discussions are 2 - 3 really good indie hosting sites by many members here. Again, SC was a share-point for work in progress, and personally loved it for that.

Other, rhetorical:
Yes, many don't know how to run a business, esp. online, -- so many "gurus" can't be told anything, they know it all. (I've been online since circa 1995 and I do know everything Smile , really, I do, just ask me! kidding, kidding...)

One thing I would have loved to see for paid "membership" there is stuff that costs little, e.g., bi-annual CD automatically mailed to you as "backup". OMG, not sure about any of you but I'd've been a paying member for "value-added" stuff like that, even an auto-bot zip file archive bi-annually, etc. There are many automated elements for value added that are only in the initial setup costs, --the site is already there.

With "ai" being what it is.... you'd think they'd profiled us all so well they'd say, hey, "there's an album writing crowd over here, you may want to engage for your demos..." -- I found out about fawm randomly about two years ago, and about 5090 from *fawm. We all do fit a "profile", --how this all works so well here w/o all the really bad fighting and spamming seen elsewhere.

Anyway, --great heads up. (So much back up, archive work to do now..., I've got it all, but that was the one place with all in one spot!)

I like putting my songs on soundcloud because I can link to it from anywhere, and people can browse my songs. Uploading to soundcloud is very easy - uploading to anywhere else online is a very time intensive purpose that involves remembering a password, logging in, navigating someone's file-system structure I have no familiarity with, uploading a file only to get a notice that it's too large/small/the wrong color/ the wrong type/the wrong whagtever....and this happens over and over and over, and if I involve tech support - it never screws up for them and I end up looking stupid. I am looking for somewhere like Soundcloud where i can hit "upload" and put my music online - Sometimes I don't feel like messing with an mp3 converter, so I can throw wav files up there too. Bandcamp wants MP3's only, which takes me an extra 5-10 minutes per song to convert to MP3 ...because I don't have LAME set up on my computer - Long story, please don't suggest I try it. ANYWAY...ALL I need to know is - is there somewhere else with the ease and simplicity that Soundcloud gives me - I don't want to have to be a software engineer too...I'm already spread too thin trying to be a sound engineer, recording engineer, marketer, sales person, producer, performer, writer, and singer - ....anything you can do to help lighten that load is good.

@Tasha Parker Gibbs: re: "Bandcamp wants MP3's only": I think you have this backwards. Bandcamp insists on a lossless files only:"we require lossless (.aiff, .wav or .flac) files -- no .mp3’s." See here.

Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any site that fills the Soundcloud gap and lives up to what Soundcloud used to be. As stated above, isn't bad for basic, easy, free uploading and streaming, and it accepts many formats (mp3, ogg, m4a, wav, aiff, aif and 3gpp). But I don't know how well it works with the 50/90 streaming interface.

@odilonGreen thank you for that correction - and I remember why I was freaking out about it - I was reading and hearing that MP3 were the desired format for everything, and had decided that wav's were bad - I get mixed up sometimes. Thanks Smile

OK, so, if Soundcloud does go down, what options are there that will work with FAWM and fifty-ninety? I know there's Bandcamp, but no matter what I do, I can never get them to play anybody's music for me, so for those who do host their music there, sorry I don't get to hear your stuff. Sad What else is out there?

lol - I just had a rando send me a message on Soundcloud saying 'x song is cool, you should enter it into such and such music contest' like it totally isn't a marketing scam or anything!

Hurry up and die Soundcloud.

@squeakmouse73 this is the first time I heard that it was not possible to play music from Bandcamp. I can play it from my mobile and from my computer regardless if I'm logged in or not. Bandcamp is my favourite site. I had tons of spam on Soundcloud, keeping deleting it as it's annoying to read. Just like @French Cricket said, competition after competition offer and also some sites to submit music to. Bandcamp doesn't ask for any of this.
It might sometimes take a little while for a player to start but it does. Can be connection problem of some kind but it really works beautifully in my opinion. By the [email protected], if you didn't get the opportunity to hear our collaboration on bandcamp I sent you the file. Hope to hear from you.

Backing up my SoundCloud account would be a pain, because I'm a paying member with everything I've done for all of these years during FAWM and 50/90, as well as other music that I've recorded or written.

There are a few hundred songs on my account, which would pulverise my internet limit.

@marvsmooth Do you already have those files on your computer? I'm finding more than one musician friend was using soundcloud as storage for their music, which is an odd thought to my fuzzy brain. I use it to share, not to store. If you don't then start the process. Grab so many files each night for the next month or so. Good luck.

I've got to agree with @tcelliott -- Soundcloud may not go down, or, if it does, there may be some warning. But past internet services have also gone down in the past with no or minimal warning. It's a pretty big gamble not to make sure you have local backups of anything on Soundcloud, just in case...

@musicsongwriter do you have a paid Soundcloud account? I only use their free acct and I never receive submission offers. But on Reverbnation I stopped using it because I got sick of the daily "Submit your song to 'Truly Useless Places' "!!! And now I am out of free space on Soundcloud so given they are failing I guess I won't be upgrading. Sad

@johnstaples no, I don't have a paid account on any songwriting sites I'm afraid. I had tons of spam from soundcloud including messages from people who were immediately deleted as they were obviously spamming rather a lot of accounts. I'm on Reverbnation too, didn't have much spam there but they themselves only give chance for paid submissions so it's a bit of a cheating situation to advertise free submissions if one has to get a kit which costs money. With Soundcloud when I was running out of space I'd just delete some songs and upload new once so it was not a problem but comments like "submit to such and such radio station or game station, etc." don't inspire me to post much in the first place. Bancamp at the moment is my favourite place. Pity it doesn't stream here but I still prefer it to any other sites I know of.

As far as I'm concerned, Bandcamp is the gold-standard of free hosting options. And maybe also not free; to be honest, I can't think of anything better, paid or not.

Except for 50/90's own in-house hosting, of course. That's the real highest standard. Biggrin

@OdilonGreen, you convinced me! I went to set up an account, discovered I already had an old account I set up years ago and I am going to upload my new tracks there. I like being able to set up albums and also to sell directly there. Thanks!

Adding to what @Hummingbird and @JamKar already said: the only platform that ever worked was the original, which went down in flames under the combined fire of the entire music recording industry. Yet the model was promoting COULD have been afforded by the industry, and may well have prevented the industry's own auto da fe under the later streaming services. But all the had the opportunity to become THE platform but muffed it by silencing too many of its independents. started with a great profit-sharing notion which never got anywhere other than for a lucky few., oops, forgot the one-time pre-facebook biggie and for those too young to remember, here's all you need to know about that:
soundcloud I was never hooked on. Besides, for some unknown reason, cdbaby dumps every track into it also. Isn't iTunes enough? Bandcamp is a convenient park and makes a tiny bit of cash too, which is becoming increasingly important at this end (seriously). Patreon I have hopes for: certainly the handful of patrons I have are helping bad situations here: Patreon likely will become the main focus of what I do online.

@tcelliott - I think I've got a fair amount of it, but have lost a lot when an older laptop stopped working, which had a lot of music on it, and I lost a USB stick that was the back-up.

It just means writing more I suppose to make up for it! Beee

It's been playing up for me today, is this the beginning of the end...?

@Tim Fatchen, I never really understood what happened to It was so good.

For those of you with the time and resources to devote, I think there's some serious untapped potential with live streaming on Twitch, which I'm hoping to explore myself sometime soon.

Granted, I think I'll probably need the following things to really make a good time of it:
1) custom software that creates deeper interactions with viewers
- more than just requests - potentially interesting twists like "do x song in y genre" or "subscriber super-voting" or "unused votes not wasted"
2) somebody to help me setup operate the streaming tech
- setup, takedown, changing camera angles, etc
3) the streaming tech
- another computer with some pricey software on it, plus a high-quality webcam or two, plus some scenery, props, and lights
4) moderators to help with spammers, bots, and generally obnoxious people
- not sure if those people would do so for free or not
5) music that appeals to a young demographic
- probably this means performing pop songs (with attending legal concerns) or maybe parodies (could get prep-intensive fast)
6) meaningful rewards for becoming a "subscriber"

And there's probably more stuff I haven't thought about. All the same, it's a potential way to play music (maybe even my own songs) and earn some money for it. Anybody here have experience with doing something like this?

@spirulence, isn't Twitch about gaming?

It is, although there's a growing group of musicians and DJs that use it for live-streaming their work. Even at all hours of the night, the big DJ and music channels have at least ~100 viewers, which could be something or it could be nothing.

Yeah, I just checked that out. At the bottom of the music section it said "If you have 250,000 followers on youtube/facebook/twitter, we would love to hear from you." Anyone got 250,000 followers or subscribers?

@katpiercemusic, good catch! If I had 250,000 followers/subscribers I'd feel like I had already made it! Biggrin