Walmer Convenience

2015 SHOULD BE THE YEAR WE KICK OUR SOUNDCLOUD HABIT

In case y’all didn’t know, I also am a writer with the fine people at Do Androids Dance (DAD). It helps pay some of the bills and I get promos that would make you kill your mother.

So I wake up today to get back to work after a lazy Christmas break. Like all the current top notch music journalists I open up Soundcloud to see what the new new is. I get a message saying “sorry something went wrong”. I decide that instead of searching for new shit, I should just check out the promos that came to me. Like I said before, this can be fucking great and make me feel really cool but there is also a ton of garbage because a lot of people cannot come to terms with the fact that they suck at making music. Anyway, I go to listen to the first track. It’s a Soundcloud link obviously because every music link is a Soundcloud link now. It doesn’t work.

If Soundcloud were any other site this would be a minor annoyance. We’d all be like “ok I guess I’ll come back later”. The thing is, when Soundcloud goes down, the music media goes down with it. I don’t know what the statistic is but I would venture to say that if there is music streaming placed on a website, especially a prominent music website, there is a 80 to 90% chance that it’s a Soundcloud widget. In many cases when Soundcloud fails, the problem doesn’t just effect it’s own site, but also every single Soundcloud widget embedded in websites that can range from the mighty Rolling Stone to this one where I post about my penis.

Soundcloud is a wonderful tool. It’s elegant presentation of streamable music was a niche waiting to be filled. The innovation of allowing comments on the stream, at a particular time in the song was a great way to allow artist and their fans to communicate. Many of the artists currently headlining festivals across the globe built their careers on Soundcloud. I think in a decade or less we will be talking of the early years of Soundcloud fondly. It sparked an explosion of musical creativity and connected people with similar tastes who happened to live in different corners of the Earth. You had Japanese people collaborating with Croatians. People from Argentina were doing projects with New Zealanders. That’s some bizarre ass cultural mixing. Language, religion, race, it didn’t matter though. The communication was through music. People came up with all these weird micro genres like Seapunk, Icepunk and Slimepunk. This crazy melting pot of culture and style still persists to this day, though to a lesser extent. Soundcloud is clamping down on a lot of the fun through their attempt at seriously monetizing the site and enforcing copyright. That’s another issue I’ll get to in a bit.

Recently, the reliance of the music media and scene on Soundcloud is looking more and more like a weakness. It has become what in war they would call a choke point. A choke point is a place where a small number troops can exact a maximum amount of frustration on an enemy. Think of it in terms of the human body. You punch someone in the arm and they can keep fighting you, you attack someone’s neck and they are pretty much fucked. The music industry’s over reliance on Soundcloud for the dissemination and promotion of music means that if it goes down, the whole thing goes down. This is a really bad way to operate though not unheard of. I mean, the internet basically revolves around Google, if it went down it would be really annoying. Thing is, Google never goes down. There are sometimes issues with individual parts of Google but it pretty much is the most stable thing on the Internet. Google no doubt realizes that this central position that it occupies means that it HAS to be stable. It success depends on it.

Soundcloud has obviously not realized this fact. It’s been fucked up for almost 3 hours now. DAD’s posting is at a standstill. This is fucking bullshit. If it happened just even once a year that would be fine. It happens all the time though. At least every few weeks which is unacceptable. Every time they change something in the site it causes some kind of problem. It’s as if they don’t test anything before implementing it. It makes no sense. They revamped their app last year rendering it almost unusable. Basic features were missing like being able to view the track info. These are the people we are trusting with the music industry. Every good system has redundancy built in. We need another platform or we risk serious consequences.

Also, these guys are kinda assholes. I think they are the only media sharing site or whatever it’s called to actually charge the creators of the content that draws people to the site for the privilege of uploading it. Youtube fucking pays you money. Also I’m paying what? More than $100 a year? For something that breaks down all the time? That’s silly. Especially since they are also going to charge listeners subscriptions and will be playing ads over the music that I have provided. Oh and they can also take down any remixes that I create even if I am providing them for free and part of the money I pay to Soundcloud actually goes to the record labels because they are now part owners. That leads me to my next point.

With all the clamping down on copyright infringement and the continued marginalization of it’s original user base, the bedroom producers and DJs, Soundcloud is no longer even fulfilling it’s role as a hub for creative people to come together and collaborate. Remixes have always been at the heart of dance music. I can totally understand pursuing people who share the original version of tracks without authorization but a remix that they are giving out for free? Makes no fucking sense. If anything it enhances the profile of the track. The recent hit “CoCo” by O.T. Genasis partly became so popular based on the slew of remixes that were made by producers of all types. Rather than being hurt, the song benefitted from this phenomenon. These remixes provide very useful tools for DJs looking for more club friendly versions of popular tracks. By chasing these people out, Soundcloud is poised to become a place where listeners passively consume tracks put out by record labels. It’s taking a step back from being something in the true spirit of the Internet to something like traditional radio but with an on demand aspect. A forum like Soundcloud used to be, is essential to the continued explosion of creativity that has taken place over the last decade in the electronic music scene.

That’s enough from me today.

UPDATE: SOUNDCLOUD HAS NOW BEEN DOWN FOR 5 HOURS! WTF? I GUESS NO ONE IS RELEASING MUSIC TODAY. YOU KNOW THAT ALBUM YOU’VE BEEN PLANNING TO PUT OUT FOR MONTHS? FUCK THAT.

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This entry was published on January 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

15 thoughts on “2015 SHOULD BE THE YEAR WE KICK OUR SOUNDCLOUD HABIT

  1. would you be interested in helping design a better alternative? I’ve been looking for a new side project. send me an email if you’d like.

  2. There are decent, even better alternatives- https://hearthis.at for example.

    You are in a unique position where the site your write for has an immense amount of traffic and can help surface new platforms. But in the end, people are going to whinge and then continue to use Soundcloud, so it doesn’t really matter.

    • well it’s also up to artists to post content on a new platform. it has to be both creators and curators making the move

      • Of course, but most people just aren’t aware of these other platforms, or that Soundcloud even have these glaring issues.

        If this topic is so crucial to DAD (and the myriad of other similar sites), perhaps this shouldn’t be relegated to a rant on one of the writers’ blogs, but rather surfaced on the main site so it’s in the public eye. Make the regular Joe know that it’s a big issue and spread the word. Put pressure on Soundcloud to fix their problems and help give rise to some competition.

    • André on said:

      I’ve tried to start with ihearthis.at many times, but always found myself leaving the site because it’s so messy. It really needs a better UI!

  3. The only way to /really/ move from SoundCloud is basically to a SoundCloud clone. Other sites have their niches, but it’s not what’s needed by the community as a whole, like SC is. Personally, I tried using “SoundCloud alternatives” recommended by lots of my producer friends, and it didn’t add up close to the experience that the SoundCloud of today is, much less just a few years ago.

    TL;DR: Someone clone SC and add good new features so it’s not a blatant copy pls

  4. just use Bandcamp…

    • bandcamp isn’t really comparable to SC. it’s used for artist interaction with fans. SC has that, but also has far more valuable (from a musician’s perspective) tools such as timed comments and reposts and a way better UI.

  5. Ryan Thiessen on said:

    “The music industry’s over reliance on Soundcloud for the dissemination and promotion of music means that if it goes down, the whole thing goes down.” I think that’s only true for EDM. The rest of the music industry really does not revolve around using soundcloud, like at all.

  6. back to myspace we go!

  7. We’re happy to have you and your music on http://www.droptrack.com

  8. assofedm on said:

    the only thing I can agree is that insides of soundcloud looks like color of the artwork for this post. And search engine tastes like shitted pants. Oh yes, design and usability makes all my devices feel like i’m playing half-life 4. But if you will try to raise a server like soundcloud did, you will find out that you need few more lifes to do this.

  9. I never understood why SoundCloud would turn its back on the indie artists that helped bring it to prominence, just to get in bed with the major labels. Which is why my team and I started Zambah because we really want to build a reliable online music community that allows independent artists to upload, and share their music to a focused group of music lovers who truly love underground music.

    Although it’s still early in its design and development, I really believe that we are building something truly special that has consistently got better due to the great feedback we’ve been receiving from the community. I encourage all artists and music makers to check it out at http://zambah.com; Every and all feedback is always welcome 🙂

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