SoundCloud Releases New Web App to ‘Unmute the Web’

SoundCloud co-founder and CEO Alexander Ljung announced in a webcast today that the community for musicians and other sound creators is testing a new Web app that mimics the collecting and sharing functions of Pinterest and Tumblr, but with sound. “And it’s gorgeous!” he said.

Released in private beta today, the new site was designed to be more app-like. “We have rewritten every single line of code,” explained SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss. “Our platform is very scalable and it supports all of our official apps and third party apps,” including Garage Band.

New features include enhanced profiles that “make it easier to see the person behind the sound,” an improved search bar, and real-time notifications that show users what’s happening in the community.

People can also run tracks in the background while they explore other parts of the site. What separates sound from images, explained Ljung, is that listeners can muti-task while it’s playing.

With SoundCloud’s new sharing platform, users will also be able to make collections of sounds that are a cross between a Pinterest board and a Spotify playlist.

The founders pointed out that people use the platform to record sounds other than music: things like speeches, audio books, and even the first tears of a newborn baby.

With the new app, people will be able to record sounds from the street with their smartphones and post them instantly to their SoundCloud accounts.

“The problem today is that the web is very silent,” Ljung said. “We want to get to the point where sound is as rich online as it is offline.”

It’s an experimental concept that will likely take some fine-tuning. “We’re releasing this uncomfortably early,” explained Ljung, in part because “We’re just not disciplined enough to be able to keep this to ourselves,” he said, but also “to try and get users involved in the development of it.”

Based in Berlin with offices in London and San Francisco, SoundCloud currently has 15 million members (updated via reader correction) and is growing at the rate of 1.5 million new members per month. The company expects to roll out the upgrades to everyone by the end of the year.

To sign up for a private beta invite, click here.