“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
0 items in your cart
$0
Blog // Sounds
May 16, 2012

The Next SoundCloud

SoundCloud has launched a new layout and style with impressive features. But, there’s also a few issues they need to address as well.

The Next SoundCloud

SoundCloud, my favourite musician-oriented music streaming service is starting to roll out a major facelift (and upgrade) to it’s web based services. Today I was fortunate enough to get access to the Next SoundCloud. The changes are impressive.

The Beat Doesn’t Stop

SoundCloud won a lot of people over with its clean an minimal layout. The new design is still very clean and sharp, but manages to put more information on each page. You also have infinite scroll through a users songs, so there’s no wait for new pages to load up. The whole look is fresh and current.

One key feature is the new menu header. This gives you the usual navigation functions. But, it also hosts the waveform. That means you can start playing a song and if you go surfing around SoundCloud the song will keep playing in the background (SoundCloud call this continuous play). Then wherever you end up, just click the waveform in the header and it will take you back to the song’s page.

It’s a simple thing, but keeping the beat going is so important for a music service. We don’t want the song to stop playing, just because we are checking out who the artist follows, or moving from an artist page to a song page.

Some Layout Considerations For Artists

The new layout makes the artist information more prominent. Your avatar picture displays about twice as large (might be time to invest in a new picture) and the bio and song information text gets a larger, more readable font. Also, the song graphics are more important now and songs without an uploaded graphic take on your avatar picture by default.

In the new layout, it really makes sense to add a good graphic, logo or image to every song you upload.

You can use the text to say something about yourself, or your songs more clearly and directly. In fact, my first reaction to the new layout was to say to myself, “I need to rewrite my bio and song info.” My second reaction was “people are really going to notice the buy button now!”

The Social Thing

SoundCloud have improved the social side things in very useful ways (in contrast to 500px gamification antics). On an artist page you get “following in common” information and links to recent likes and comments by the artist. Given that you can surf these links without stopping the song that is playing, discovery of new material became a whole lot more fun.

And, there’s a new scrolling window for in-song comments. It’s a little hard to follow on heavily commented upon songs, but the comments are a lot more readable now.

Lists -The New MixTapes

You can now add other people’s songs to your lists and even combine them easily into one long waveform. This is the coolest and easiest to use digital version of the old mixtape idea.

There is also a repost button, that allows you to add a track to your own SoundCloud stream and share it to your followers. This feature is great for music writers/bloggers, promoters and event organisers, or anyone who wants to share a curated playlist with their followers.

The Most Interesting Little Button

Below the artwork on each song information page there is a new little button labelled “Report copyright infringement.” Press this and a page opens where you can report copyright issues in detail. This is a clear sign that SoundCloud is maturing into a more commercial platform.

Conclusion

The Next SoundCloud is not complete. Some features are still missing (including stats, some settings, uploading and group management) and SoundCloud are promising more new features. But, it’s a beefy and substantial upgrade for this service.

The social features have suddenly become a lot more interesting for non-musicians. And, for artists, it’s a very complete solution, with a reassuring nod towards copyright protection.

I’m very excited by what SoundCloud have given us so far and I look forward to seeing the rest of the features unveiled in the coming weeks.

Responses
Toni 7 years ago

Interesting that you mention the social aspect in comparison with 500px.

You’re probably aware of my affection for lightbox.com? Well, as of last night the owners announced they were going to work for Facebook and were closing the site 15th June. Probably the strongest aspect was the social side – out of many thousand photographers, only a few hundred were producing good work – and many have experienced a real sense of loss.

There has been a mass migration to other sites, but none have the social side of things well sorted. 500px (where a number of others including myself will move to) is rather competitive and a bit too ‘professional’ feeling. Streamzoo, the obvious alternative for all the phone-cam users is like a kind of photographic popularity Olympics, with a ‘winner’ shown on the front page. Interestingly almost no-one wanted to move to Instagram, possibly out of ‘dislike’ for Facebook.

So I like the sound (pardon the pun) of SoundCloud’s approach. Maybe it’s time to explore a little further from Soundclick’s rather unfriendly interface.

    Fernando Gros 7 years ago

    Toni – must be depressing for Lightbox users. I agree about 500px – they have gone over the top with the gaming/popularity/ranking thing. Detracts from what is otherwise a well designed photography site. Instagram is really only useful for mobiles and there have been big performance issues since the sale to Facebook. The other alternative if Google+, which keeps getting better as a photo service.

    I really believe SoundCloud have got it right at the moment. You should check it out once the next version becomes more widely available.

Natalie 7 years ago

Thanks for the great feedback Fernando! Glad you got to try out the Next version first!

Have fun at the Singapore #scmeetup !!

Best,
Natalie

Toni 7 years ago

Thanks Fern – I may well do that.

Leave a comment

Enter your and your to join the mailing list.