Monthly Archives: June 2010

David We’re Joining Forces With Lee Martin, a Music & Tech Ninja

We love it when talented & dedicated people out there build awesome things using the SoundCloud API. And when they do, we make sure to watch them closely and do everything we can to get them to work with us, for our users.

Based out of Los Angeles, Lee Martin is one serious tech/music badass that recently, has developed some quite exceptional ‘digital music campaigns’ for artists such as Band Of Horses or Taylor Hawkins, the solo project of one the Foo Fighters.

Today, we’re proud to announce that Lee has decided to remotely join the SoundCloud team and will be working with us on a number of exciting projects. What kind of projects you ask? Well, it might be yours!

That’s right: Lee will be helping artists, bands and labels to build epic things on the web. That’s not all. The resulting code produced by Lee for these projects will then be made available to the SoundCloud community so they too can use these epic things on the web. Sounds awesome? You bet it is.

Lee! Welcome to The Cloud. Tell us a bit about you: who are you, where are you from, where are you headed?

I’m the kid who went to art school and came out a programmer. For the past 7 years I’ve been ruining rock n’ roll personas by turning artists into nerds. Effectively replacing sex & drugs with tweets & analytics. I’m originally from Chauvin, Louisiana (seriously, try my cooking) but I currently reside in the other LA, Los Angeles.

I recently left my post as “One Man New Media Department” at SAM to pursue an even nerdier future for myself in the world of music/tech. I hope to work with all of the bright minds I’ve met over the past few years at tech conferences and dive bars.

I was surprised to find out SoundCloud was looking for a Cajun chef that also excelled in open API web development so I seized the opportunity.

You’ve build some pretty epic stuff in the past and used SoundCloud to power the audio for your projects. What are the most exciting bands/projects you had the chance to work for/on?

I had the fortune of working on the Them Crooked Vultures campaign all the way back when we were calling it “secret project” in the SAM offices. We accomplished a lot of fun things with secrecy online that I doubt I’ll be able to replicate anytime soon. Then once the news was out, we relied on an extremely open and socially focused campaign to guide us to a successful album release.

If you ever get a chance to work for Jimmy Eat World, take it. These guys get it. We did a ton of progressive things on Twitter back when it was still weird for their Clarity Live campaign. We even made a bit of nerd press.

There are so many more, but I have to give major props to the following. These bands know (or they will now) that if they ever need any nerd genius to call me: AFI, Beck, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age.

What’s your new role at SoundCloud, what kind of awesomesauce can we expect from you in the future?

I’m calling it “Experimental Development.”

Very cool. What’s that?

We’ll be listening to requests from our ever growing artist/label/manager community (1 mil + users and counting!) and work to build open, scalable solutions to those requests. I also plan on pursuing new relationships and doing some killer SoundCloud integrations. Raise your hand if you like custom players… Yeh, me too.

I’m also proud to say that I will be the first on the team to be working remotely out of LA. While the idea of Berlin sounds great… I’ll be staying in California for the time being and hope to become an integral part of SoundCloud’s US (and global) strategy in the future. If there is just as much rock as German electronic music in a year, I’d say this whole experiment was a success.

Please contact me if you have any projects or ideas: lee@soundcloud.com

Your home(s) on the web, where can we find you?

Follow me on Twitter @LeeMartin and check out my personal site at Lee.Ma/rtin for a chance to ask my anything regarding Rails development and cajun cooking.

David Friday Fun: SoundClouder Nations & The World Cup

As they – loosely translated – say in Germany: The ball rolls.

That’s right, South Africa just played Mexico (1:1) and the Vuvuzelas made their appearance on the world stage. Team SoundCloud is in it too and all geared up for the world’s biggest sporting event. Earlier this week, we already asked you for submissions to the World Cup Group on SoundCloud, go check it out and submit yours if you haven’t already.

So let’s take a look behind the scenes:

SoundCloud staffers are from around the world so we thought it’d be fun to see who’s likely to be rooting for which team. Not all nations are participating, let’s break it down:

Nations playing the World Cup and the Clouders from that country (yay!):

Greece: Michalis

England: David Adams, Dave Haynes, Jami and Thom

USA: Adrienne, Valerie, Jake, Sean and Ian

Germany: Jeanette, Steffi, Katharina, Johannes, Jan, Alx, Frederic, Ole, Sebastian, Robb and Torsten

Holland: Roel

New Zealand AND Italy: Rany (yup, quite an exotic combination, he actually has two nationalities)

Nations not playing the World Cup and the Clouders from that country (boo!):

Sweden: Alex, Eric, Hannes, Henrik

Lithuania: Matas

Belgium: David Noël

Canada: Thor

Transylvania: Probably a rumor so I’m not quite about this one but recently, the dev team started to talk about a chick named ‘Cassandra’ but I haven’t seen her around the office so far. She’s either a code name or outsourced to Transylvania. I’m betting on the latter, Cassandra sounds pretty Transylvanian to me.

The SoundCloud World Cup Sweepstakes

And to spice things up a little bit, our new guy Thom came up with this little fun game:

“The rules: Each person payed €2 into the pot and, in exchange, received a randomly drawn team for the tournament.  Since there are 32 teams and not 32 SoundClouders, anyone who was lucky enough to draw North Korea, Algeria or the like can double down and buy another team for another €4.

Everyone would then have a team to be passionate about for the next 30 days and are obliged to come to work dressed in the national outfit of the newly adopted nation or paint our entire desk in their inevitably national colours (optional).

The prize: Assuming all 32 teams are taken, the person holding the winning team takes home a tasty €40 whilst the runner up takes €16 and the two beaten semi-finalists double their money with a whopping €4 prize.

Bonus prize: €10 to the person whose team concedes the MOST goals in the entire tournament.”

Who picked who? See for yourself:

Alright everyone, enjoy the World Cup and we’ll be back next week with your regular programming. If you’re not into football, apologies for this little intermezzo.

David 5 Extremely Powerful Ways for Bands to Use SoundCloud

You play in a band, have heard about SoundCloud but are not yet sure how it can help you? No problem – let’s take a closer look and dive into the different things you can do. We hope you’ll join and make SoundCloud your hub on the web, the control room for your tracks.

In short:

Upload your songs to your SoundCloud account, easily bring your tracks to where your fans are and have all the statistics around plays and downloads in one place.

In detail:

1. Player Widgets – Your tracks, well in shape.

We’re sure you put a lot of thought and energy into creating beautiful artwork for your songs and albums and obviously they deserve the best players available out there. Good thing we’ve got ‘em. We want to help you get the most out of your artwork when embedding your tracks to your blog, website or social profiles.

In addition to our classic waveform player, our Premium accounts come with two extra widget players: the artwork and minimal player. For artists and bands working with albums, we recommend using the artwork player. Here’s an example of a nice artwork player integration to a band website:

On the left, when you mouse-over the player,  you see a preview of the player navigation: different options on the top and the album navigation including the waveform at the bottom of the player. Pretty cool: your album art and a big play button. Perfect for your discography page on your website.

2. BandPage by RootMusic – Your fully customized band page on Facebook

RootMusic’s BandPage app for Facebook has quickly become one of the most popular apps used by the SoundCloud community. Now there’s finally a way for bands to have all their info on one Facebook page: tracks powered by SoundCloud, tour dates, photos, your bands’ biography and wall posts. For fans, browsing your BandPage is a breeze as they can continue to listen to the streamed tracks while clicking through the page.

The fine folks over at RootMusic have created a series of helpful videos explaining in detail about how to get started. One promise: it’s extremely easy and intuitive to create your BandPage. Check out these two examples from Snoop Dogg and Tom Petty (click to enlarge).

3. Extensions – Push to where your fans are

Back in 1986, Salt-N-Peppa taught us to ‘push it, push it real good’. We took them at their word and added a nifty way for you to automatically push newly uploaded tracks and sets to your other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. This saves you a lot of time when updating your different profiles and sends your new material straight into your fans’ timelines where they can discuss your latest creations. Plus, you can customize the text of the messages pushed to catch your fans’ attention:

Fans, on the other hand, can also use the same extensions to push the players of tracks they favorite on SoundCloud straight to their social network profiles (Facebook pictured on the left), thus helping you to promote your songs to their friends. Win-win, as they say in the biz.

Click here to read the step-by-step guide about how to set up your extensions or access them directly in your settings.

4. Mobile Roadie – Create your own iPhone or Android app

Mobile apps are hot, there’s no doubt about that.

Our partners at Mobile Roadie have built a framework and an easy-to-update content management system enabling you to create your own personalized iPhone and Android app in no time. Developing an individual app from scratch takes a lot of time, money and expertise. With Mobile Roadie, you sign up, get access to the platform, import your SoundCloud tracks, customize the app here and there and Mobile Roadie will submit your app to the app store in no time.

To learn about the full list of supported features, click here.

Artists and bands already using Mobile Roadie: Madonna, As I Lay Dying, The Doors, Black Lips and many many more.

5. Flavors.me – Speaking of websites. Need one?

Flavors.me allows you to create an elegant & dynamic website and aggregate your different profiles from around the web. Link up your Facebook page, Twitter, Flickr or SoundCloud accounts – you name it. You’ll have everything in one place on a page you can fully customize: background picture, fonts, size. Track the traffic statistics and learn about your visitors and to top that: if you already have an own domain, you can use it or buy a custom domain right when signing up with a Flavors account. Read more about the latest Flavors.me developments in a recent blog post about their current release.

Example? Here you go:

More features and tips that can help your band:

Buy Links: via your track/set settings, add a link to any offline/online store to point people to where you’re selling your tracks

Hack the player: there are many different ways to ‘hack’ the player, read what can be done here

Remix competitions: learn about how you can use the Groups feature to organize remix competitions

Promo & Digital PR: service your tracks to bloggers and journalists via the private sharing feature (works great for to collaborate between you and other members of your band)

Custom Player: with a little help from savvy developer friends, build your custom players like Band Of Horses or The Golden Filter.

As always, feedback & suggestions welcome in the comments below and thanks for the help sharing this blog post with friends playing in bands. Muchos appreciatos.