Monthly Archives: June 2008

David Live from Sónar

Beatport rooftop party
We are at the moment visiting the excellent electronic dance music festival Sónar in Barcelona. I’m writing this from the pro area where we today and yesterday have been meeting some of the most important people of the scene. But it’s nothing like “all work and no play”, the Beatport party at a hotel rooftop yesterday was one of the best ever and both Radio Slave and Sebo K was totally rockin’ it. If you’re in Barcelona, a music pro, and reading this, do give us a call. In the meantime, we will be in the clouds.

Update: The first ones to name at least two of the SoundClouder’s that are in the picture will win a pack of our new kick-ass stickers.

Eric Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls

It’s been a while! Summer has arrived in Berlin, and the football-madness too… Our superstar DJ and good colleague, Yanneck (a.k.a. Quarion), is in a plane right now to Australia where he’ll be touring for two weeks… too bad he missed our little rooftop release barbecue last night with fashion label WoodWood. He’ll be greeting the clubkids (and the Kangaroos) from us instead.

Boy, was it worth celebrating good things last night! We just deployed our Rupert release, named after drum’n’bass hero Rupert Parkes, a.k.a. Photek (Forss, btw, is his greatest fan). And we’ve got a few serious upgrades to the cloud:

  • You can now embed public tracks on any site, blog or MySpace-profile! Just click the ‘Share’-button, copy the embed-code, and put our kick-ass player wherever you like. You can even change the color to match your page designs and make sure the player is all pimped up to your own style.
  • All users on SoundCloud now have DropBoxes, which means you can let anybody send you a track in the slickest way imaginable. Just put a dropbox link or embed-badge on your site/myspace and you’re ready to receive music without going fu*cking insane. The DropBox is really useful if you’re an A&R, label or music blogger and receiving lots of tracks. Sonar Kollektiv and a bunch of other labels are already using it (check Sonar Kollektiv’s contact page) to receive their new tracks. “Dropped” tracks will end up in the DropBox section of your dashboard, and they will appear in your digest mails. We’ve kept them separate from your other stuff so they stay out of the way until you’re ready to check them. The DropBox makes it super easy to receive larger amounts of new tracks and scan through them really fast without having to download everything first.
  • We’ve changed the names “your contacts” to “people you follow” and “your fans” to “people who are following you”. Things still work the same as before but it puts emphasis on the fact that at SoundCloud you can add/follow people without them having to add/follow you back (and vice versa have people following/adding you without you having to receive their updates). It’s a bit different but should make more sense then the whole friend/contact social network thingie we hope.

That’s it! This week us SoundClouders will be travelling, stopping by Barcelona the Sonar Festival and London for London Calling so let us know if you feel like hooking up.

Stay cool in the summer heat, or stay hot in the australian winter cool.

David Interview time with Hannes Tydén

How’s it going Cloudettes and Clouders?

We’ve been working on a few background things these last few days, so unfortunately we don’t have any spectacular new functions to present you. But hold tight to your mice, trackpads, trackballs and other interactive devices as we’re preparing a major release in 2 weeks!

While you’re waiting for the next SoundCloud bonanza we’d like to present you a new installment of our popular “Interview Time” series. This month, super-skilled programmer Hannes Tydén switches off his browser tabs for a few minutes and tells us a bit more about the real life up in the Cloud:

  • Välkommen Hannes! Glad you could find the time between your intense coding sessions to introduce yourself! Could you tell us how you fell in love with computers and how you ended up moving to Berlin to work on SoundCloud?

I’ve been interested in technology as long as I can remember, and played my fair share of video and computer games since the age of seven. I remember trying to program my Commodore 64, without any success. But the interest in programming started growing in high school. I studied natural science and got a programmable calculator. I programmed it to solve all the physics and chemistry formulas, so I didn’t have to keep them in my head. Of course this made me learn the formulas by heart, but it was fun trying to beat the system.

A year later my mother bought a computer and I started playing around with Photoshop. Another year passed and we got an Internet connection, then I started coding my own personal websites, mostly about the bands I listened to back then. After a while I noticed that I was more interested in designing and coding the websites than in the actual content. It was more fun to build the tree house than to sit in it.

After graduating from high school, Eric, whom I got to know during high school, gave me a tip about an open position at SyncMediaCom, a small web agency in Stockholm, so I applied for a the job and got it. By then I was interested in industrial and graphic design and I started out doing some design work and front end development, but as the company grew I found myself doing less design and more development. This was when I realized that I’d rather work as a programmer than as a designer.

I knew I wanted to get a degree, and in 2002 I started studying computer science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After a trip to Berlin in 2005 I decided to move here and in September 2006 I began to study at Technische Universität Berlin as an exchange student.

During the spring of 2007 Eric contacted me and asked me if I wanted to write my master thesis for SoundCloud and now, one year later, it’s still not finished…

  • Haha, so Eric tricked you into working for SoundCloud without really mentioning it. But I guess there must have been something about the platform that appealed to you?

At first I thought I would just write my thesis for SoundCloud, but as time passed I understood that there was so much more to do and also that SoundCloud really can make an impact on how musicians work, collaborate and promote their creations. This was the first time I felt that what I did actually could make a difference to other people.

Another great thing with SoundCloud is the focus on quality and functionality, in both the big and small. There is room for being creative and at the same time the technological level is higher than I’ve ever experienced. The best of two worlds.

  • Well, it’s great to have you on board! Could you explain what your coding colleagues and yourself are working on at the moment?

SoundCloud as a platform gives all the smart people the chance to build what we haven’t thought of yet. At the moment we’re developing players for MySpace, Facebook and blogs so people can share their music to the public more easily. Other stuff you could build with our API (Application Programming Interface) are desktop players, applications for uploading files and also integrating comments into instant messengers like MSN and iChat.

But I think the important aspect of this is that it’s not us at SoundCloud who decides how you want to listen or react to the music in the Cloud, but anyone who feels there is some feature we overlooked while building the site.

The possibilities are endless…

  • Sounds really exciting… speaking of which, what sort of music do you like? Who are your favourite artists?

It’s a wide span. At the moment it’s mostly thrash, sludge, progressive metal and hard rock mixed with minimal techno and electronica, then add a dash of pop classics. Might sound like a weird mix, but I really think they blend well.

  • That’s interesting because, currently, most of the artists on SoundCloud are House & Techno producers. Do you think SoundCloud could appeal to rock & metal musicians?

Yes, of course. I believe the way they create their music is different, but after the music has been created and recorded it’s more or less the same thing. I know of people who live in one city, go to a studio in another city to record their songs and then the mastering is done by the guy at the studio. Uploading the songs to SoundCloud makes it easier for people to work this way, having a much tighter feedback loop.

  • I totally agree. Did you have the chance to discover some interesting new artists via SoundCloud?

Mesak and Snax who both did excellent performances at the SoundCloud party a month ago, even if they’re completely different acts.

The last week I’ve been listening a lot to Demir’s Vorwein set and Superd who gives me some Heimweh for Stockholm.