SoundCloud is the best streaming platform ever. It has helped to launch countless careers, allowed artists to easily share their music without boundaries and has been an incredible tool for music discovery. Over the years the platform has evolved greatly, constantly rolling out new functionality and updates to try to better improve user experience or align with their business goals. Sometimes these two things seem to clash, while other times they roll out functionality that makes you wonder, “why? Who asked for this?” In light of this fact we decided to round up some changes that we’d actually love to see. Check out the list below and let us know if we missed any!
Eliminate Regional Restrictions
One of the greatest things about the rise of the internet is the massive increase in connectivity and the breakdown of international borders. SoundCloud took this to the next level for music. Whether you’re in the heart of the industry in LA, on the coast in Australia or a small village in Singapore, if you had an internet connection and some skills you could get your music out to a wealth of fans and like-minded artists. Recently it seems SoundCloud has been taking distribution cues from major cable networks and restricting content to specific countries. I’ve personally seen music from Canadian artists that is not available in Canada! It’s absurd and a sad step backward for a platform that completely redefined streaming. SoundCloud needs to fight the label pressure and make all content available to everyone everywhere.
if I didn't have internet back in 2009-2010 to discover progressive house
I'd still be spearing fish in my singaporean village
— ㅤMYRNE (@myrnemusic) February 22, 2017
From bootlegs and remixes to DJ mixes. This is the issue that’s lead to many artists and fans to claim that SoundCloud is dead or dying. SoundCloud built itself upon bootlegs, mixes and remixes. Due to label pressure they’ve been taking a hardline stance and deleting the content that made them so popular. To be fair there isn’t an easy solution. Copyright infringement is no joke and major labels wield a ton of power over streaming platforms. If only labels would realize that remixes/bootlegs/mixes only help to promote their artists. Maybe one day.
No original song has ever suffered from a remix. Ever. If anything, we just trynna extend the life of music we admire and that inspired us.
— Lido (@Lido) November 13, 2015
Get Rid of The 3 Strike Policy
The only thing worse than takedowns is full-scale account deletions. Artists and tastemakers take years building up their following on the platform only to have their account completely stripped away. Look, I get it, if you’re posting copyrighted content you’re technically in the wrong but there’s a huge difference between blatantly re-uploading an artist’s work without their permissions and putting out a remix or DJ mix and having your account deleted as a result. This is especially hard to stomach given the fact that SoundCloud rose to popularity largely as a result of hosting this content for years. SoundCloud has been taking measures to try to figure out this process but in the interim it would ideal if they put this one on hold.
thank u @SoundCloud for deleting our account
— Boombox Cartel (@BoomboxCartel) April 29, 2017
Considering the fact that Google often knows what you’re looking for better than you do, we’ve come to expect search to be a seamless and intuitive process. On SoundCloud this is not the case. Whether you’re looking for an artist or a song there’s about a 10% likelihood the results you receive will actually be what you’ve expected. There’s no logic in place to detect common misspellings and results are not tailored based on who you follow or your likes. It’s so bad I’ve actually left SoundCloud to do a Google search for a song on SoundCloud. Step up that algorithm!
Simplified Time Stamps
I don’t know how this has still not yet been addressed, but how many times has this happened to you? You upload a track privately on SoundCloud a few days before the release to save time, send it to your DJ Friends, a few blogs or whatever. When you make it public instead of updating the time stamp to when it was made live (like YouTube) it presents the date it was first uploaded. This means the track is guaranteed to get lost in the sea of reposts and new tracks on yours followers’ home page. To solve this issue, users frequently will re-upload the song right before its release to ensure it gets the proper the time stamp. This is time consuming and unnecessary. It also applies to playlists as well as tracks. SoundCloud should make it so that the date stamped is when the track goes live publicly.
Clean up the Sexbots
The possibility of having horny singles sliding in your DMs sounds pretty enticing right? An instant ego boost assured to have you gassed and leave you wondering, “damn is my music so fire that random strangers want to hook up with me without ever meeting me?” The answer is no. Like most things in life, if it’s too good to true it probably is. Recently SoundCloud has become overrun with Sexbots bursting in your DMs and clogging up the comments section. Comments used to a great place for artists to get feedback, confirm how sick their drops were, or get shit on from haters. These days a scroll through a major track’s comments feels like you accidentally wandered your way into some seedy listings on back pages.
Improved Embed Functionality
As a blogger one of my favourite things about the platform is the easy to embed player. With a built in WordPress code, easy sizing and styling options, the SoundCloud player is by far the best embeddable music solution out. That said, there’s still room for improvement. Adding the embed option to the mobile app would be a great addition for on-the-go music bloggers. I personally do most of my writing on my phone and being able to easily embed the tracks on my device would be extremely helpful. One of the biggest misses around the SoundCloud embed is with the newly released content types. While tracks and playlists are easy to embed, the recently defined content types such as albums, EPs, etc. seem to neglect the functionality all together. Did the developers just simply forget? Do they not do QA checks our user testing before releasing updates? Hopefully they get this sorted as soon as possible.