If you are a music creator, you might be panicking right now with all the news that SoundCloud (SC) might go bust. While we are all fans of the platform, figures are not optimistic. In 2015, they had a net loss of $54.22 million and the trend is showing a greater loss year after year. We know they have secured a 70 million dollar loan, but based on estimates, that will probably only last them until the end of 2017. There isn’t a more pressing time for indie artists and music fans alike all over the world to look for a service to host their music and discover new underground music.
Below are five alternatives that both fans and artists can use (or should be on already as well), in case the ship continues to head south. Full description after infographics.
1. YouTube (for reaching audiences, 1.5 billion monthly users as of June 2017)
While many music creators think that YouTube is only good for videos, this is not the case anymore. You could stick still images as the “video” and have your music playing behind. The audio quality from YouTube is good enough for general audio consumption. Therefore, artists should take full advantage of YouTube’s massive audience and use the platform to host their music.
Hey, we all know how Justin(a) Bieber became popular. Maybe your song will get discovered by some random big shot. You don’t want to miss any chances so cover your angles and build your following by uploading your songs on YouTube.
2. Mixcloud (for DJs, radio presenters and music artists putting out mixes and podcasts, 17 million monthly users)
As its name implies Mixcloud is targeted for podcasts and mixes. But if you are a DJ, this is a great platform. Check out Trance Republic’s very own Live Set Mixcloud channel here. It has a decent audience size and it gives you unlimited uploads (compared to SC’s 3 hours limit). Copyright is more lax on Mixcloud, so most likely you will not receive a take down notice. It is also a good way to find music that you already like. Unlike SC, Mixcloud does not establish the connection between music creators and listeners. It is really about creating your own listening experience. There are some cons, however, mainly the less than perfect interactivity with the listeners. For example, users are unable to fast forward the music to their favorite part. the inability to download the mixes, no analytics for free users.
3. ReverbNation (for overall branding, establishing local reputation or use as artist website, 3.8 million monthly users)
ReverbNation has been around for a while and still doing well. The reason? They really help service the artist to cultivate an intimate fan base. From design, layout and features, ReverbNation is on point. You provide features such as electronic press kits, digital distribution to Spotify and Apple Music, email marketing and more. They have a “Shows” feature that detects shows that are happening near you, which is helpful to connect artists with local fans. It is also has a pretty good “Discover” music feature to find music of your taste.
However, some cons include a 13% processing fee on sales made through ReverbNation (well, no free lunch), the premium package is currently priced at $20 per month, its audience base is still substantially smaller than Soundcloud and electronic dance music is not a commonplace on the platform.
4. Clyp.it (for sending out demos and peer-to-peer file sharing)
Generally, Dropbox should top this section, but their free version is pretty limiting. If you wanted a better free option, Clyp.it is the way to go.
Clyp.it is like the Google Drive for audio. You can make an account and upload some audio real quick for sharing. It shows waveforms, gives you the ability to share, comment on and like tracks. In many ways, it is like SoundCloud, however the lack of audience base and community is the main distinction. Maybe that will change if SC goes bust?
5. Orfium (for best features overall)
It is like a fusion between SoundCloud and Facebook pages. You can create profiles that has a feed of your account activity. You have tabs for events, playlists and tracks. They have a great discover feature, which is no less than the one offered in Spotify or SoundCloud. Plus, you do not have an upload limit! Moreover, artists can monetize their music easily by selling directly to their fans. Orfium pays 80% sales to artists. How about another bonus? You can upload remixes and you can monetize your music when someone uses it in YouTube videos. Now that is a complete service.
Orfium is definitely on-par with SoundCloud in terms of features, and it just needs more audience before the platform takes off.
In all honesty, it’s not game over for SC yet. If they revamp their internal management (which they are doing through layoff etc.) and iron out their business issues, SoundCloud could well be back to reclaim its place at the top. In the case that they can’t, I foresee that SC will be acquired, but only for their technology and assets. For example, like how Facebook purchased group messenger application company, Beluga. You might not have heard of the company before as its has been stripped for its parts. It is now what we know it as Facebook Messenger. And there is a possibility that a big company like Apple Music will do the same.
Of course the first thing all music creators should do now is to backup their audio assets on SoundCloud onto a hard drive, before it will be too late when the servers are shut.
It will also be interesting to see which audio platform will seize the initiative to take the space of SC, should it crumble.
So to all the users and music fans, tell us in the comments section below, which platform will you embrace if SoundCloud becomes history.
At the point when it first started, Soundcloud’s main competitor was MySpace, and MySpace was facing some serious issues. It had loads of spam, a buggy music player and a complex user interface. So, when SoundCloud emerged, everyone fell in love with its simplicity. The embedded player lets you tune in to music while allowing you to see what your friends Jane and Joe are up to that night. Music blogs were the first to fall in love with it and this rapidly growth helped SoundCloud’s growth.
As the SoundCloud community grew, it offered a huge platform for music creators to get popular by. It allows intimacy between the artist and his/her fans. You could ask an artist what’s the colour of their underwear, everything was great.