SoundCloud

SoundCloud redesigns interface as it evolves to serve content to music and podcast fans

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 1:00pm

SoundCloud began as a way for recording musicians and other sound professionals to exchange material. It's since morphed into a vehicle for consumers to preview music, and for podcasters to market themselves. USA Today writes, "(Now,) Taylor Swift, rapper Big Boi, Radiohead and Drive-By Truckers have SoundCloud channels, as do the BBC and CBS News. The White House posts President Obama's speeches and radio addresses and audio from first lady Michelle Obama's events."

Spurred by that change in its use, SoundCloud redesigned its site and mobile apps, to make it easier for users to find and share content.

SoundCloud now attracts 180 million users a month, and users upload more than ten hours of music a minute.

Read more in USA Today here.

RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

37 years of legendary John Peel shows digitized for streaming

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

A Soundcloud user from Yorkshire, England known as "+dB" has reportedly digitized and uploaded all 458 episodes of the late legendary John Peel's radio show.

It's over 900 hours of content, spanning Peel's 37-year career from his 1967 pirate radio debut through his final BBC Radio show in 2004.

While it appears the files are no longer available through SoundCloud, SevenStreets.com points to Google's cache here.

Read more here.

SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa will join us Tuesday at RAIN Summit Dallas for the "Social Radio" panel (covering song sharing, recommendations, listening rooms, and other social tools that can impact brand awareness and drive audience growth). More on SoundCloud and Espinosa in RAIN here, and more on RAIN Summit Dallas, including registration, is here.

Espinosa: SoundCloud a valuable tool for spoken word content, not just music

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

Manolo EspinosaWeb service SoundCloud is aiming to be the "YouTube of audio" and for most users who have come across the service, that means music. But SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa (and RAIN Summit Dallas panelist, more here) sees potential in spoken word content too.

For example, there's opportunities for journalists. And not just radio folks used to dealing in audio content. Espinosa points to Supreme Court coverage as being primarily audio and "encourages journalists to use SoundCloud like they use Twitter, to broadcast stray thoughts or to include interview clips or other sound content left on the cutting-room floor."

Beyond SoundCloud's usefulness for broadcasters and other journalists, Espinosa hopes to convince "audiences that sharing and preserving sound is as worthy an endeavor for everyday people as it is for musicians, podcasters and radio stations," writes Fast Company (here).

Manolo Espinosa will join us for RAIN Summit Dallas in September, speaking on the "Social Radio" panel alongside Triton Digital's Jim Kerr and Jelli's Mike Doughterty. You can find out more about the Summit and register to attend here.

Radical.fm "alpha testing" new HTML5 interface; promises "personalities and local content" on Net radio with new TALK tech

Friday, August 10, 2012 - 11:30am

Swedish webcaster Radical.fm has launched an pre-release "alpha test" HTML5 version of its service for the web, with mobile apps in development.

The new HTML5 service is available to music industry professionals, journalists, and bloggers by invitation only. HTML5 is the newest iteration of "markup" language for the web, and integrates audio and video streams (as opposed to requiring an external application like Flash).

The Radical suite of online music services includes what it calls "passive stations" (which Radical compares to Pandora), "active playlists (like Spotify)," and a "personal broadcast" service called RadCast (which "makes every listener the owner of a broadcast radio station and permits personal streams to be shared in real-time").

Regarding RadCast, Radical founder/CEO Thomas McAlevey says in his company's press release, "Soon we will release TALK (in a Public Beta) giving users worldwide the ability to interject live audio for hosting music and talk shows, conducting interviews, and maybe toppling a dictatorship or two. The last bastion of old-fashioned radio – personalities and local content – is about to fall."

Radical invites artists to upload their material for streaming on the service, and now integrates SoundCloud to make that process easier.

Read Radical's press release here. Watch for a full review of Radical.fm in RAIN soon.

New web app builds radio streams out of SoundCloud users' tastes

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 11:30am

Radio.SCRadio.SC is a web app that builds radio streams out of the music tastes of any SoundCloud user. (SoundCloud is a website designed to help musicians upload and share music.) As Radio.SC promises it on its website: "Every SoundCloud user is a radio station."

The streams are built using "the information that SoundCloud has about who follows whom and who favorites which tracks, to intelligently select the music it plays," Radio.SC developer Tom Price told Evolver.fm.

"This won’t become the only way you ever listen to music (what will, these days?)," writes Eliot Van Buskirk, "but if you’re a SoundCloud person or know lots of SoundCloud people, it’s a powerful way to flip a channel on in seconds and listen to someone’s taste."

You can find Evolver.fm's coverage here and try Radio.SC here.

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