The case of SoundCloud

SC had everything. But it lost its mind, then money and now the service will die. Let’s face it, it died a while ago.

There’s something that just doesn’t add up: startups need a return on investment immediately while music is a very, very long term game. SC didn’t execute well even though timing was perfect. For its successors, here’s a few points:

– Don’t make it about streaming

Bandcamp has been fantastic about this. Don’t make it about consuming music like switching channels on a TV or running water at the faucet. Make it like it’s better to download and listen, because it is. Buy an album, download it and listen to it. In the beginning I had way more downloads on SC than streams. It changed so rapidly –like within a month, everyone switched to streaming- that I always was suspicious about it. Streaming sucks, listening on phone speakers suck, don’t do that. People will stream, no need to push them.

– Don’t invite major artists and/or labels

They take all the oxygen of artists like us who pay for your service. And those invite major labels to put pressure on you. That might make you feel good, make you feel legit but it’s not good at all in the end.

– Don’t do anything social

All the social tools destroyed SC. People immediately abuse those tools to spam every channel they can and discovery goes down. Just make it about music and big cover art. Sharing is done everywhere else with a link. Be the audio backbone of the future and stay this way.

– Don’t do meaningless stats

Advanced statistics are bad. They are a rabbit hole and unhealthy. How many times someone listened to my song doesn’t matter, what matters is if that listener stays around, spreads the word and buys my shit. That’s all that matters.

– Have the best embed player of all time

Make it ultra fast. The web sucks, FB sucks, Twitter sucks. They all have so many scripts and bullshit stuff going on, the embed player needs to load at the speed of light. No need for fancy waveform or spectrogram no one cares about that. Copy Bandcamp’s and add a volume slider, you’ll thank me later.

Instaud.io and Octave.is are alternative worth exploring. RIP SoundCloud.

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