“In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
- Charles Darwin
Okay, so that quote might be a bit strong, but quite fitting for this post, an insiders guide to collaborating on SoundCloud.
SoundCloud makes it easy for audio creators to collaborate in new ways and across geographical borders. It can be used from the initial stages of sharing a demo, to getting feedback, to tweaking ideas and producing a collaborative piece of music. As well as working at SoundCloud, I also play in a band and SoundCloud has become an important part of our creative process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on using the site to create a track with others, it will focus on five aspects of SoundCloud –
- Audio Storage
- Private Sharing
- Advanced Privacy Settings
- Follow/Following Options
- Timed Comments
Let’s say you have the original demo you want to share to the rest of your band…
The first step is to set up a platform to then discuss and develop the original track. You probably don’t want your demo out there for the whole world to see so remember to set the track to private. The best way to do this is create one set where ideas can be built on top of each other. When creating the set, go to the privacy settings and select the set to be private. All the tracks now added to this set will be private too.
To allow for interaction it is great to have all of your collaborators set up with SoundCloud and to follow each other on the Cloud. Once you are following your fellow collaborators you can invite them individually into the set via the privacy options.
Now you are all set up, every time you want to put up a new set on SoundCloud to collaborate over you can quickly select who gets access via the ‘Add/Remove People’ option in the Private bar in the edit of a track.
Use the following/followers tab and click on the individuals you wish to grant access. You can even use the ‘Lists’ tab to create a contact list for your band. For more information on private sharing check out this blog post.
Once you have shared a track you of course want to gain opinions and feedback. The timed comments option on SoundCloud works well to pinpoint an area for discussion around a track. Say you don’t like a certain drum fill in the song, anyone who is invited can leave a comment.
From here you can build up a conversation based around this pinpointed section of a song by replying to this timed comment. A great point of interaction arises from here to allow to collaboration and discussion from the the most minute to the most obtuse opinion of a track.
Depending on how much you want to share with the others, you can make the comments public to all the collaborators or just to yourself. By going into the edit of a track set you can go down to ‘Advanced Privacy Settings’ and ‘Hide Comments’ or ‘Make Comments Private’.
So you have your first track up on your privately shared set and everyone is giving their input to the new demo. As an idea grows remember you can add newer versions or ideas to the set. Say for example you have recorded a new idea for a guitar riff, by going to the edit of the set you can continue to add audio tracks to the set, by either clicking on ‘add new tracks’ or ‘add existing tracks’.
Eventually as your song grows you will have a set full of the ideas leading to this point of creation and all the feedback on the tracks. Remember you can change the order of the tracks in a set too, so as some ideas and versions of a song become more finalized in how a track is progressing you can go into the edit of a track and change accordingly.
This is a personal use of SoundCloud and I have been able to connect my own music creation with those I wish to create and collaborate with, you can check it out here. Below is an example of how one of my own tracks has developed by creating a platform to discuss and share new ideas -
Being able to store this information in one place, then comment and collaborate to grow an idea is just one way you can personally use SoundCloud. Some of the advanced privacy features attached to our premium accounts have been mentioned in this post, for further information on these please check out our premium features. If you have any other tips or examples we’d love to hear in the comments how you are collaborating using SoundCloud.