Friday, February 12, 2016 2 Comments
Music lovers and casual foot tappers alike are well and truly spoilt for choice these days when it comes to accessing a seemingly infinite musical library. My CD collection once made my friends green with envy- these days even burglars don’t bother stealing my discs! And my digital collection that was once the highlight of many a house-party is now only loaded when the Internet is down. Not that I’m complaining- over the past few years I have trialed and tested plenty of music streaming services and through a process of elimination, have emerged with several favourites that I use almost daily to feed my musical hunger. There’s Spotify, which I use to build playlists, check out new album releases and get a musical hit based on a genre or mood. There’s Pandora which creates awesome personalised radio stations based on a simple artist, song or genre selection. And recently, I’ve revisited Soundcloud and frankly, like Depeche Mode, I just can’t get enough.
For those of you unfamiliar with Soundcloud, here’s the abridged Wikipedia low down: Soundcloud is a global online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload, record, promote and share their originally created sounds. Based in Germany, it’s been around since 2007 and as at December 2014, was estimated that it had 175 million unique monthly listeners. In essence, it took over from MySpace as a more user-friendly, social media compatible platform for musicians to collaborate, promote and get feedback for their music. Subscribers can listen and share music, follow their favourite artists and friends, join groups with similar musical tastes, create their own playlists and personal collections, and access a continually updated musical feed based on who they are following. They can also upload up to 180 minutes of audio to their profile. All of this is free of charge to subscribers, and the service currently remains ad-free, but probably not for much longer if the platform wishes to survive. Soundcloud is accessible through your online browser or through a free app on your choice of mobile device.
I stumbled across Soundcloud years ago but didn’t truly explore the platform and its offerings until recently. When I finally did sit down and take note, I was thrilled to discover a veritable treasure trove of singles, remixes, playlists and full sets that simply aren’t available on any other streaming service. A plethora of small-time musicians and mainstream superstars alike upload and share tracks and playlists on a daily basis and if you are following them, these tracks appear in your feed. In particular, full-set offerings from a variety of DJs took my fancy- like a kid in a candy store, I greedily jumped from one to the next, barely letting a set finish before I started another. My house began transforming into a nightclub at random times of the day, much to the delight of my kids who welcomed the lasers coming out yet again. Even better, many of these full-set tracks are available for free download, so you need not eat into your Internet data allowance.
And if your current musical playlist is feeling a bit stale, Soundcloud makes it easy to explore and discover new artists and songs. You can check out what your favourite artists are uploading or reposting; jump down the rabbit hole and start following links through to similar tracks, artists that your friends and fave musos are following; or join suggested groups based on what you are listening to. I am constantly finding little-known musicians (especially DJs) that are gifting musical gems to the Soundcloud universe.
As previously mentioned, Soundcloud is free to sign up and use at present. But with its currently perilous financial position, it’s unlikely to stay that way for much longer, so jump on-board and see what it’s all about whilst you can do so free of charge.
I plan to share my top 10 Soundcloud sets in a future post, but if you want to follow me, you’ll get full access to all of my saved playlists and favourite finds. Let me know if you’re using Soundcloud too, and what your favourite finds have been.