In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
That’s the thought that came to mind after experiencing SoundCloud.com, a new site for people who create music and need an easy and effective way to either send, receive, and review tracks. SoundCloud solves the problem of distributing your tracks to people of interest and provides a powerful collaboration environment that sets SoundCloud apart from other “hosting sites”. Rather than sending bulky audio files by email, or having people download from FTP, your audience can review your tracks inside of SoundCloud, but even better, you can embed SoundCloud into your own web site (as I’ve done below)!
First, you upload your tracks in virtually any format and resolution. SoundCloud converts your audio files into “wave forms” that are displayed inside their player tool. You have the option of making each of your tracks public or private as well as downloadable (or streaming only). You can also create “set lists” to group multiple tracks into a single player – very useful for reviewing multiple takes… You can also use SoundCloud to receive tracks from other people, regardless of whether they are a subscriber through a handy “drop box” feature – notice the widget I’ve installed on my Sidebar (to the right)…
But for me, the coolest thing is the ability to embed the SoundCloud player just like the example below. So rather than uploading my “work in progress” audio files onto my blog, I can instead provide the SoundCloud player to my fellow musicians and listeners and consolidate all of my reviews! Did I mention it’s also very fast?
The above example illustrates a “timed comment” I’ve inserted into Worship. This is especially powerful because your reviewers can visually place their comments precisely where they apply inside your tune WITHOUT HAVING TO START/STOP THE PLAYER TO NOTE THE TRACK POSITION. This is extremely useful if you collaborate with other musicians, and virtually eliminates the need for producing “song charts” to describe what’s going on where!
Very cool and a definite time saver!
I’m not quite sure how SoundCloud intends to commercialize their offering. My guess is they will provide some base services for free, but with some limitations. For now, SoundCloud accounts are by invitation only, but the vetting process appears fairly straight forward. I was emailed an invitation approximately 2 weeks after making my request.
SoundCloud is still in their early days, but they clearly address a fundamental pain point for collaborating music professionals! Thus, another example of how Web 2.0 continues to change (and improve) the way we work!