SoundCloud is one of about 25 websites that sleep in a folder along my browser toolbar called ‘Daily’ – it digitally sleeps beside websites that i frequent daily such as; gmail, gearslutz & quora – that is to say, it matters a lot to me. I peruse it every single day of life to hear new sounds and songs and artists and styles. It’s a large part of my life but yet i feel like it’s currently sitting at around 50% of its potential and i wanted to write down some of my ideas about it could be much better [in my personal opinion]. Alexander [CEO] if you’re reading this, know that i’m moving to Germany this year and if you’d like me to come work for SC, i’d be more than thrilled. Here’s a few ideas i’ve had about SC tonight – i think you should implement them all – they are not listed in priority stance. There is plenty more where these 17 came from. Oh and, depending on how well this post does; i will create mockups to accentuate my points if needed.
I’m not kidding. Words mean a lot to me and more often than not, i’m not able to decipher every song i hear on SC. Every experience i’ve had in which the artist has kindly typed their lyrics has been a pleasant one and i’ve always enjoyed the track more. I tend to gravitate away from SC if there’s no lyrics and the music becomes background music, whereas i’ll stay put if the lyrics are within the page. I may be odd, but that’s my user behaviour in a nutshell. To go a step further – if an artist was able to input .txt lyrics and images and SC was able to render them into a viewable booklet [as viewable here: it’d probably be the coolest thing ever.
A metric that would be insanely great for musicians would be ‘hotpoints’. Essentially, if the company could measure which sections of the songs were played more often than the others it would help bands and musicians hugely. How? Well, if i write a song that features a bridge in which i scream and i find this to be the most played part of the song … i think that i’d scream some more! I feel like this should be implemented by allowing me to choose different colours upon the waveform for each section via hex codes. So, the intro would look orange, the verse would look blue and the chorus red etc – giving me the hex code option would even almost allow a ‘branding style’ to emerge from each artist. It would divide each song into a really beautiful work of art that would stop people fleeing due to over-long introductions. This is probably the idea i wish to highlight to you most.
Front / Back Covers
I feel that [as someone that has spent as much time on a back cover as a front cover] that when i hover over the cover component of the page – it should flip to the back cover. It would stick in this position until the next hover. From a technical standpoint this shouldn’t involve much work but would add a lot of value – especially to the record companies and graphic designers and mixers and producers that are always shunned due to SC only ever showcasing the front cover – what an awesome chance to visually showcase the other cogs of the audio machine.
I think SC should create a new button that allows users to highlight their favourite 10/15/30 seconds of any SC song and instantly share that to their various social networks. I sometimes share amazing songs that’ll take a minute or so to ‘get going’ on my facebook – and i’m aware that most of my mates will have given up long before the chorus or such [they tell me] – being able to share the ‘sweetspot’ whether it’s 10 seconds, 15 seconds or 30 seconds – would provide so much value – no longer are our mates waiting; they are instantly hearing the reason why we are sending the song in the first place. Think about how much value that’d have to musician all over the world. I sometimes hear bridges or choruses that just hypnotise me but i currently have no way to share this – help me!
The new match-cover-colour scheme-with-header-background
… is great, however, that entire header is a prime area for potential photography of the band or a header like facebook or twitter – this cannot continue to simply match the dominant colour of the uploaded cover – but be used as a way to visually connect the band and user together – it’s such prime real estate and so under-used. Listen, it’s cool and all how you pull the dominant colour from the cover, but it still looks bland at the end of the day – move the artwork and allow us to use this real estate as a promotional tool.
Facebook Integrated Comments
SC, i’m sorry, but as much as you have a tonne of users, FB is always going to trump it. More important than this for us artists us knowing the actual person that digs our music as opposed to an account called ‘kwikstopkevinsmith001’ that means nada. You should remove your SC comments and replace them with FB comments – i honestly believe this would drive engagement and would bring insane value to all us artists. It is a basic embed and i’ll do it for you if you want! Let us artists converse with real people and not random accounts – do not invite nepotism to this party.
The current transparent button design isn’t glamorous or as the graphic industry calls it; ‘Call To Action’. They simply do not stand out of the page or drive any action and this is a shame. They could, at the very least, use the same quip as the top header and automatically alter colour dependant on the scheme of the uploaded album/ep/single cover. It’s such a wasted opportunity that is using minimalism when it needs to be more. A different colour for these active buttons would drive more interaction. They just look so baron.
Buy .wav / Buy .flac
This could be an option in which you could have a little piece of the pie. Allow us to sell these file types [just like Bandcamp does] and take a small bit of the profit – why this hasn’t been implemented already i’ll never understand. Usual accounts should be allowed to offer unlimited .mp3 downloads but .wav/.flac/.anythingelse should need a pro account – pretty simple.
The Default Share embed is awful
I used to run chordblossom.com – a music website. We were excited to see the launch of a new embed player back years ago but the default is awful – it only ever seems like there’s a few tracks within the embed because the artwork takes up everything – the old embed is equally as awful and as it’s 2017 – you really need to create a unique and beautiful player embed because, for me personally, both of these look insanely outdated. SC is the ubiquitous audio embed around the world but it’s about time you came up with a new design. I remember watching a doc on the FB like button – so i imagine it’s insanely challenging – however, you need to freshen it.
Become a Marketplace
Fiverr isn’t respected as a legit marketplace, however, if you marketplaced SC it’d do fantastic i feel. How? Enable a button on releases that’d say something like ‘Hire Producer’ or ‘Hire Mixer’ or ‘Hire Masterer’ or ‘Hire Graphic Designer’ and take a small percentage of the utilization of your network. Again, i do not know why this hasn’t been implemented as of yet. You run perhaps the biggest network of musicians/producers/remixers/mixers/masterer’s in the world but yet you’ve never seemed to make any attempt to facilitate the connection of all these disparate world as one? insane! you could be musicgateway.net on steroids if you wanted. At the very least buy invision power board software and start a buy-in community!
An entire E-commerce Store?
Why aren’t you guys utilizing one of the many e-commerce solutions out there to allow SC users to drive their own e-commerce store? As an expert WordPress user, this could be easily driven in multiple ways and you have to remember, the less signups for the average musician.. the better – the more of this you could cover .. the better. Ingest the ideas of bigcartel and bandcamp and allow each musician/band signup on SC to use that as their ‘one-stop-shop’ for products too. You could offer this as part of your pro-subscription or charge a small % off the top – either way, it’s crying out for your intervention and you have the platform vying for it.
Allow the download of ‘Remix Packs’
Artists like myself would love to hear our music in completely different genres and variations – you should allow us to SELL our ‘remix packs’ – you can take a small cut of this and we can ensure certain commercial rules are enforced. Host our audio stems and once a remixer/dj has signed our term contract and paid a price – allow them to download the stems from your server and take a % off the top – a surefire fire to earn some cash whilst providing a valuable service – especially as most SC users are DJs.
Repeated account name within playlists
This is more of a much-needed fix than a suggestion. An issue i’ve seen for years is this; i have an account called ‘/daveitferris’ but yet when i share a playlist of mines it still shows this name prior to songtitles. Whilst i recognise this is the system assuming that if this set was embedded on a music blog that there should be a way to recognize the author, however, the name is stuck together like a username and looks awful and also, the header component of the embedded player should do enough/more to showcase the original author rather than rely on the track layout to get this across. Look at the FB embeds on the footers of websites and try and use that aesthetic when it comes to this – it’s horrible to see my own playlist with my username stuffed before each song title – it just stinks of lazy coding. Please sort this as it looks so amateur.
SC isn’t currently currently competing with digital sale companies online, which is why i believe there should be another tab that helps the musician/band link to their work on a platform that helps with this. Have a simple text interface in which we input our links to iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Routenote etc – and display them on a separate tab in a beautiful fashion – allow our SC fans to purchase our works more than a single text-based link that you currently offer.
Some of our songs do better than others – allow us another tab called ‘press’ in which we can put press quotes from radio, magazines and sites. In terms of approaching magazines and blogs and radio … this would play a fantastic part as we’re not only linking to our song – but giving the media a fully immersive experience and a reason to read, immerse alongside the listening. A ‘mini site’ for our song.
Allow artists to offer their own promoted advertisements pre and post song
Why not follow the youtube method and allow us artists to feature ad’s pre and post song? In the click of a button, let us decide whether we want our users to listen to a short ad prior to listen to our music. Link us to adsense and force users to listen to an ad for 10/15 seconds in exchange for listening to our songs for free – this is probably the least hard of the entire suggestions and one that’d really help. At the very least, allow us to choose an option to have a banner ad the same size as our SC player embedded below our song!
I know this sounds basic, but to be honest, a lot of us musicians really do want to credit the musicians that helped us make a song come to life – this would be a simple text based tab that would have the left hand side bolded and the right hand side not – such as ; Violin : Angie Love – not only is this a great way for us musicians to promote the talent that helped us make our music come alive – but it’d drive views simply because these people are finally getting credit and will want to show it of!
In closing, i just want to reiterate that i adore SC and have used it since it’s inception – i’ve seen its updates gradually make the service better and better, however, i feel there is a long way left to go in terms of appeasing both musicians and users. This is a short list of some of the most pressing ideas i’ve had this evening, but i have tonnes more. I’ve been a musician more of my life than i haven’t, so i’m pretty clued up when it comes to the experience that bands expect. If you SC boys are listening; please implement at least some of these.