From FYSE 1396: Digital Media Literacy
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Soundcloud is a music sharing website that allows any individual to create profiles for themselves and upload music files. Based on the settings established by the owner of the music file, the audience will be allowed to share the music or legally download said song. In other words, Soundcloud is a music sharing site that provides a free and easy way for music producers and sound designers to expand their audience.[1]

Soundcloud History

Soundcloud was created in the year 2007 by two German sound designers, Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss.[2] The company has it's original roots from Stockholm, Sweden, but the creation and establishment of Soundcloud came together in Berlin, Germany. [3] Soundcloud was created on the bases for artists to be able to share and connect through music. [4]

Listeners of Soundcloud

The community of Soundcloud has a large audience. Billboard's 40 Under 40's reported that Soundcloud gathers about "40 million users, reaching 200 million listeners a month."[5] The way that listeners are able to add comments to songs is by integrating the written comment into the audio clip file. This allows for the artist to see where the listeners comment on their file. Those who choose to listen and not upload anything onto Soundcloud are still able to create their own profiles and have an identity for themselves online. Also, the site allows users to actively collaborate and discuss the music they post. For instance, if there are cool drums at 2:38 of a song, a user can leave a note acknowledging their approval. This social communication allows artists to hear the thoughts of their fan base.

Uploaders on Soundclod

It should be noted that not all uploads of songs are done by their original artists. This then sparks a legal debate as to the type of website that Soundcloud is developing into. Some have even gone to say that Soundcloud is becoming theYoutube of audio clips. [6]

Soundcloud does have certain restrictions that restrain the replicability of the audio files that are uploaded onto Soundcloud. This touches base on the Community Guidelines that Soundcloud expects all of it's users to follow and respect. Some of these guidelines include showing respect for others through comments that are constructive critisisms but also "Don't upload things that aren't yours to upload."[7] In other words, Soundcloud places high expectations on the users of the cite to value authenticity.

There are plenty of DJs that make mixes of tracks and users that upload covers of famous tracks with their own spins, however, uploading a song prerecorded by another artists can have serious copyright consequences. When one is uploading a sound/mix/recording on to Soundcloud, it processes the sound before it is uploaded. During the processing, Soundcloud checks whether one has violated copyrights, so when you post on Soundcloud, be authentic.

The owners of a page has a detailed analysis of who is listening to their sounds. The analysis includes the user profiles, the dates, the counts and the likes. This allows owners or DJs of a page to know the public opinion of their sounds.

Soundcloud Interactivity and Community

Soundcloud allows for users to create their own profiles. In terms of the interactivity of the site, although users are not allowed to instant message one another, they do have the ability to message other users. This allows for users to communicate not only through sharing music but also on a personal level.

Along with audio clips, users are able to comment on each others work which allows for instant criticism for the publishers of those audio files. Users are also able to comment on a specific part of a song by clicking on the part of the waveform and commenting. Such interactions with the audience allows for users to have a personal connection to their listeners.

When a user's public profile has not shared any music at all, Soundcloud automatically puts the phrase "hasn't shared any public sounds." But if the page has multiple "sounds," in other words songs, they will show up on their profile. Here's an example of a Soundcloud page: Christina Aguilera's Soundcloud Page . As in the page of | Christina Aguilera, there are a certain amount of followers that pertain to each user's page. Both those who listen to Soundcloud files and those who upload Soundcloud files can choose to "follow" one another in support of their musical career. These follows enable users to get recent activity updates and recent upload updates from that user. In the stream page of Soundcloud, users can check what new sounds their "following" has uploaded.

The community of Soundcloud is composed on music sharers, or 'Uploaders' and the audience which is composed of the listeners of Soundcloud. This creates a dynamic social scene for Soundcloud users. The added ability to upload pictures and create avatars for profiles gives individuals the ability to create an identity that is tied to the comments they make or the sound clips they upload.


Soundcloud offers a portal where audience members can communicate through sound. This type of interaction is less relying on the visual aspect of communication but focuses more on the auditory distribution of creativity. This distribution is further made easy because of the mobility of Soundcloud. Soundcloud can not only be accessed through the web, but can also be accessed through apps on the Android and on the Apple market. Because of the facility to access Soundcloud on mobile devices, there is also a greater reach that the website has. The reach of the clips uploaded onto Soundcloud has a potentially unlimited audience. The clips are posted specifically for people to hear and with options like sharing, re-posting or adding to specific playlists that can be made public, there is an unlimited number of people who can listen to content posted on Soundcloud. Because of the facility of sharing, the participation on the site is made even easier. Participation on Soundcloud is not limited to those who post audio clips. The audience participate in the online music sharing culture just as well through their comments and their redistribution of music. Soundcloud has also played a big part in allowing young and unknown DJs to share their music to the world.

In terms of the replicability that the site offers, it's an interesting debate. Not all of the files uploaded on to Soundcloud can be downloaded, but those of which can be downloaded are sometimes re-uploaded by fans or by others who want credit for work not made by them. There is a certain grammar of replication that is created because you can download songs by popular artists and sometimes even re-upload those songs if you are not caught by legal restraints. This aspect of replicability can become a legal debate because of users like those, who upload work that isn't theirs. However, if you post anything on the internet there is always a chance that you will find it elsewhere. This is similar to that of YouTube. On that popular website, there is a lot of replicability that occurs, whether legal or not legal, people are always re-uploading videos even if they do not have the permission. This is shared between the two websites. Both of these websites also share a commonality in the way that the storage of the uploaded files works.

The way that storage of files works in Soundcloud is similar to that of YouTube. Both sites have the potential to have files be stored permanantly. This potential comes from the fact that if a user keeps his account open for years, his files will be uploaded and on the web for the time he has allotted for his page to exist. Because of the potential reach of the website content in terms of the downloading capabilities that some audio clips offer, there is a level or permanence that is offered as well. There are also many other websites that exsists that could potentially download the user's audio clip without legal permission and then be posted elsewhere, on sites like YouTube or even sites like Vimeo.