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The future of music, sounds a little cloudy

What is Soundcloud

Soundcloud is a web 2.0 audio distribution platform which enables users to record, upload, promote and share their originally created audio recordings. According to Jefferson Graham, technology writer for USA Today, with Soundcloud, (Graham, 2013) “anyone can post their audio and share it really easily on the Web, on their blogs and websites [such as] Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr…” In a Forbes article Alexander Ljung, the CEO of Soundcloud (As quoted in Mac, 2013) proclaimed that Soundcloud would be

‘the future YouTube of sound’.

Users are constantly adding new sounds at the rate of 10 hours every minute in the year 2012 (Bryant, 2012). Although this can give rise to legal issues such as copyright due to users having the freedom to upload raw, unfiltered audio, it is one of the key ingredients behind the success of the Soundcloud company ( As quoted in Bryant, 2012), which claims to reach 8% of the entire internet per month. O’Reilly (O’Reilly, 2005) supports this by stating that “every significant internet application to date has been backed by a specialized database… [such as] Napster’s distributed song database”. He goes on to say that database management is such an integral part to the success of Web 2.0 companies that applications developed along these lines are referred to as “infoware” rather than “software”, meaning that the success of such applications stems from data and database management rather that functionality.

Comparing Soundcloud to other web 2.0 platforms

Alexander Ljung (As quoted in Baer, 2013) expressed that Soundcloud is a new “kind of platform that hasn’t existed before” being that it is a contribution distribution platform for uploading and listening to all kinds of sounds from mobile phone recordings, lectures, speeches and podcasts to amateur and independent music. Soundcloud’s grass-roots approach to content sets the platform apart from commercial ventures such as the ad-supported Spotify.

Spotify is an on-demand music streaming service which is sponsored by advertisements and integrated with social media via proprietary web applications such as the Spotify Facebook application. Soundcloud on the other hand is more flexible in its approach to sharing by supplying users with a link to their content which can be shared on many social media platforms by inserting hyperlinks.

How Harnessing data is the next ‘Intel Inside’

In his article ‘What is Web 2.0’ (O’Reilly, 2005) O’Reilly alludes to data being the new sign of quality (the ‘Intel Inside’ factor) for products or services by stating: ”Data is indeed the Intel Inside of these applications, a sole source component in systems whose software infrastructure is largely open source or otherwise commodified” – thus making it all the more important for companies to establish a ‘data strategy’ not just a product strategy in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

Soundcloud’s data strategy takes this into consideration by allowing users to perform a range of different actions which enrich the core data. These activities include listening, tagging, and creating playlists, which all in turn help to index the vast amounts of data users upload. This adds value to the data by making it easier to search, thus easier to access. It also allows for analysis of trends and user habits, which can contribute to business decisions and improvements to the functions and services provided.

References

Baer, D. (2013, April 25). SoundCloud’s Take On The Competition: There Isn’t Any | Fast Company | Business + Innovation. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://www.fastcompany.com/3008807/takeaway/soundclouds-take-competition-there-isnt-any

Bryant, M. (2012, December 4). With 10 hours of audio uploaded every minute, SoundCloud rolls its new site design out to all users. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/12/04/with-10-hours-of-audio-uploaded-every-minute-soundcloud-rolls-its-new-site-design-out-to-all-users/#!zT6T7

Graham, J. (2013, July 17). Who’s listening to SoundCloud? 200 million. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/talkingtech/2013/07/17/whos-listening-to-soundcloud-200-million/2521363/

Mac, R. (2013, April 17). Upload And Share Music — Or Any Noise: The Beauty Of SoundCloud. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2013/04/17/upload-and-share-music-or-any-noise-the-beauty-of-soundcloud/

Reilly, T. O. (2005, September 30). What Is Web 2.0 – O’Reilly Media. Retrieved March 16, 2014, from http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=3 

Image credit: Soundcloud