SoundCloud aims to do for sound what Tumblr has done for blogs. The audio platform’s latest redesign, which opened to the public today, makes it easier for undiscovered artists and professionals to create, discover, and share new audio tracks within the community.
When the site first launched in 2008, SoundCloud filled the need for a musician or a podcaster to be able to upload a sample of their work and condense it into a file that was manageable enough to send it by email.
By May 2012, the company had started working on a new version of the website that was designed to “unmute” the web. “The problem today is that the web is very silent,” co-founder and CEO Alexander Ljung said at the time. “We want to get to the point where sound is as rich online as it is offline.”
Today, SoundCloud greets visitors with a page full of new songs and podcasts to explore. Clicking on the heart-shaped icon within the track trains the system to show similar tracks that the listener will like, much like the internet radio service Pandora.
A continuous play feature makes the service even more like listening to the radio, but this radio is sharable. Listeners can also repost the tracks they like or collect a few and share them in a single waveform, much like the mixtapes of the 1980s.
But SoundCloud had the creators in mind with redesigned user profiles and an enhanced Facebook connection, which allow users to follow other people and build an audience within the site. The community has grown to 180 million people, or 8 percent of the internet population.
It’s for the public as much as it is for established artists like Paul McCartney and politicians like Mayor Bloomberg. Creators on SoundCloud collectively post 10 hours of music and other tracks every minute, the company said.
Updates to the iOS and Android apps are coming on December 6th.