Goodbye SoundCloud Groups

Today is the day that they go, or at least that’s what I thought. I just opened up my account and all my groups are still there right now. Perhaps they’ll all be gone by the end of today. Who knows. Whatever happens I thought it would be good to mark the removal of a feature we all used a lot in the mobile music community.

Dear SoundCloud, exactly what is going on?

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It’s only fair to say that SoundCloud have not been quite as popular over the last year or more with the iOS mobile music community, or indeed creators of audio anywhere. From my own perspective I’ve kept a Pro account, but I’ve not been impressed by SoundCloudGo, or indeed their approach to musicians. The strategy seems confused at best and the latest set of news about SoundCloud doesn’t help at all.

I’ll start off with SoundCloud Groups

I got this email from them a week ago …

“We’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier for you to share your work and connect with new fans. As well as adding new features and updates, we review existing features to see if they’re still beneficial to you.

As we dug into the best ways for creators to connect with fans, we found that Groups aren’t helping creators find an audience as well as reposts, curated playlists, or track recommendations.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to phase out Groups on Monday, August 22nd to make room for future updates. Until then, you can collect, like or repost the tracks you would like to save, and connect with your fellow Group members.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve your experience on SoundCloud. Send your ideas and feedback by replying directly to this email.”

This is a major issue as far as I’m concerned. Groups were a great way for users of different apps to collect work together. Some had been incredibly successful like the Figure Addicted group. I can’t understand SoundCloud’s reasoning for removing groups, and what they say in their email I don’t agree with. It’s poor and, in my view, will force more users away from their platform.

But they have added ‘albums’

I’m not sure just how this is different from playlists aside from the name. I’m not sure what it adds in reality, and, given that they’re removing groups, it doesn’t compensate at all in my view. You may think differently. If you do I’m interested to know your reasons.

Finally, they’re up for sale

If nothing else this makes me think that they’re going to end up as part of a bigger service and forget about people creating audio altogether, and more than likely just be swallowed up and disappear. That is of course if they even find a buyer. According to this piece at hypebot their valuation is $1bn, which is, in my opinion, ridiculously high.

I think they’ll struggle at that high a valuation and have to drop down. If they do get sold they’ll have to adapt to a new master and that won’t be good for any of us at all.

So, what now? What next?

I’ve posted before about alternatives to SoundCloud, and I think that these are going to become all the more important in the coming months. Personally I’ll be looking for more and more ways to move my audio to other more artist friendly platforms, and I’ll be sharing possibilities with you regularly.

Also there are a few new platforms and technologies that I’m working with that I expect to be useful in taking up the slack from SoundCloud’s slow withdrawal from supporting artists. I’ll be talking about those soon I hope.

Alternatives to SoundCloud

So it’s been a while since the news that SoundCloud was in trouble, or, to be more precise, it’s been a while since the latest piece of news. As a result, lots of people have been thinking about what they might have to do in the event that SoundCloud did disappear. So I thought it might worthwhile to give you a list of the alternatives, some of which you’ll know, some you might not.

  1. Bandcamp: This is probably the best alternative of all, but it does lack things like groups and playlists etc, but even so, it’s a good solid alternative. However, not good for DJ’s as it is only for original content.
  2. Mixcrate and Mixcloud: Great for DJ’s for mixes and playlists.
  3. Audioboo: Probably a little off the wall, maybe one you wouldn’t expect, but it’s an interesting one. Possibly more suited to spoken word and podcasts, but that may work for some people.
  4. YouTube: The biggest streaming audio channel in the world, but again, not for everyone.
  5. Yungcloud: One that I’ve only recently become aware of, but seems to be a SoundCloud pretender.
  6. Hearthis.at: The minute you visit this site you’ll be impressed by just how much it looks like SoundCloud! It appears to be in beta now, but looks very useful.
  7. Tumblr: Maybe not quite where you’d think of as a place to put your music, but Tumblr does promote music and listening, so it’s worth a thought.
  8. MySpace: You probably think I’m joking now, but MySpace used to be the place to have your music. Maybe it will be again one day?

If we’re honest, there’s nothing that completely comes close to SoundCloud. The one massive problem that iOS users will have is that so many iOS apps integrate the SoundCloud API, and none of the other services have that kind of integration available as yet. Also, it’ll take time for apps to move over, and if developers do move to a new sharing platform, will it be the same one?

In my view either SoundCloud will find a way to get itself out of its current problems, or it’ll get bought. Getting bought might not be good for anyone, and might actually be worse than it going under completely.

Only time will tell what actually will happen with SoundCloud. Personally I hope that they do stay in business.

SoundCloud in trouble?

Well it certainly seems that way anyway. According to this piece at Hypebot their most recent filing is not in the least bit positive. Stating that the business faces “material uncertainties”, whatever that means? And, whatever it does mean, one things is probable, it isn’t good.

It seems that there hasn’t been any good news or positivity from SoundCloud in a while, or at least that’s my take on the news. For a long time it feels like there’s just been uncertainty about their future, and that uncertainty seems to be deepening.

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