SoundCloud is one of the hottest services in web audio and yet it gets very little attention from the tech press. Yesterday, SoudCloud announced that there are now 100 third party apps using its API. That sounds to us like a good time to take a look at different ways you can use it yourself.
Launched in 2007 as a way of helping musicians share work and collaborate on songs, Berlin-based SoundCloud has developed into what is now a highly flexible way of working online with any type of audio.
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Like a “YouTube for audio”, all clips uploaded to SoundCloud are searchable by others and can be embedded in web pages. There’s a lot more to it than that though. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Soundcloud even if you’re not directly involved in music yourself.
You may have noticed that here at The Next Web we use SoundCloud to host our podcasts. Why? Not only can we embed the podcasts right here on the site, they’re shareable too. Just as you can embed someone else’s YouTube video on your own site, you can embed our podcast too. This helps boost our potential audience.
There’s more, too. Social media sharing buttons are built into the player, you can set Creative Commons rights for what others can do with your audio and of course there’s a download link so your audience can take the file with them. When it comes to finding out how many people are listening to your podcast, SoundCloud’s stats package is invaluable.
One area SoundCloud is working on improving is integration with podcast aggregators. For now, if you want to get your SoundCloud-hosted podcast onto iTunes, the company suggests this workaround using WordPress and Feedburner.
Find music for your own videos
If you’ve ever put together a video, set it to music but then found that YouTube strips out the audio because you’ve used it without permission from the copyright holder, you may wonder how you can find tunes you won’t get penalised for using.
SoundCloud hosts a vast library of Creative Commons licensed music. The service’s advanced search feature allows you to specify only music that you won’t get in trouble for using, as well being able to choose the precise genre, duration and tempo to suit you. Give it a go, you may well be surprised by the quality of what you find. Just make sure you adhere to the terms of the Creative Commons license each uploader has specified.
Explore a world of sound
SoundCloud enables uploaders to specify their location. Taking advantage of this is a site called CitySounds.fm. This lets you explore the “sounds” of cities around the world.
What is London uploading? How does that differ from music being made in Helsinki or Chicago? The website is also available as an iPhone app, and if you’re feeling adventurous it’s a great way to discover new music.
We’ve only just scratched the surface
There’s so much more to SoundCloud than what we’ve touched on here. Explore the now 100 app strong App Gallery for an idea of what’s possible – from music discovery, to collaboration, to sharing. If you create your own audio, we highly recommend signing up and trying it out.