Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ben SoundCloud Voices – a look back at the year

SoundCloud Voices is a weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud.  It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything!  Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.

It’s the end of  year 2011, so what better way to wrap things up than a retrospective on some of the amazing people in the world of spoken word audio.

Firstly, it has been somewhat of a crazy year; we’ve had earthquakes, revolutions, protests and all manner of other things.  A lot of these events have been captured with audio and shared on SoundCloud.  Our very own Evan Tenenbaum, working in the San Francisco office, put together this brilliant montage, summarising some of these events from some audio creators on SoundCloud.

Comedy

There were however, some comical moments in 2011 as we saw comedians starting to use SoundCloud.  Most notably we had funny man Russell Brand, using SoundCloud to promote his new book Booky Wook 2Michael Legge and Tiernan Douieb audio blogging and even Richard Herring who has been reading out his daily blog using the iPhone app!  We also headed down to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August and set up a sound map allowing any comedian, venue, vistor and member of the SoundCloud community to contribute audio, check it out at SoundsofFringe.com.

Here’s one of Richard’s recent recordings.

Podcasts

There have been hundreds of fantastic podcasts cropping up on SoundCloud this year too.  Starting the year off the brilliant football network Playback Media started using SoundCloud, as did Stanford’s E-Corner .  As the year progressed we had the likes of MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, The New Yorker, Radiolab, British Comedy Guide, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, BAFTA, Stack Exchange, European Football Show, 99% Invisible, Intelligence Squared, MBA Mondays, The Economist and so, so many more.  Take a listen to the brilliant 99% Invisible below.

Journalism

2011 was the year we released our iPhone and Android app with the record button.  With that came a whole new avenue of creators that maybe hadn’t thought of using the site before. SoundCloud for journalism has definitely developed over the last 12 months seeing the likes of the LA Times, Huffington Post, Global Voices, France 24, Democracy Now, Journalism News, The Daily Californian and independent journalists such as Sean Sullivan, Jim Colgan and Dan Patterson.  Here’s some audio from Dan Patterson during Occupy Wall Street.

Radio Stations

There’s been a wide variety of radio stations using SoundCloud over the last year from the likes of XFM, NPR with Snap Judgment, NPR Interns, NPR Berlin, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and The Takeaway, PRI’s The World and America Abroad, KALW, BBC Radio 1, KCRW, KROQ, Children’s Radio Foundation, Big FM Chennai, 77 WABC, KQED, Deutsche Welle, SWR3, Resonance FM, Triple J and many more!

Take a listen to a piece by PRI’s The World on tsunami tourism in Indonesia.

Audio Books

Some fantastic publishing houses also began using SoundCloud this year, including Penguin, Faber and Harper Collins.  Take a listen to an excerpt of the Jungle Book read by Tony Robinson.

So there you have it, a year in lists.  Here’s to 2012.  We leave you with a few words from Charlie Sheen.

Happy New Year!

Ben SoundCloud Voices

SoundCloud Voices is a  weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud.  It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything!  Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.

We’re getting local this week on SoundCloud Voices.  Having just opened up an office out in San Francisco we thought it was high time to highlight some of the great spoken word creators out there!

First up is a new breed of public radio called Sonic SF.  Coining the term “reality news” Sonic SF attempts to tell stories by way of capturing events as they unfold rather than editing and shaping stories around a script.  In their own words ” we want to capture the sound and feel of life in San Francisco, and share its stories with the world in an entirely new way.”  It sounds like a great project and they are currently running a Kickstarter campaign in order to develop more shows.  Go over to their Kickstarter to find out more and help!  Take a listen below to an example of the of the kind of shows they are going to create.

Next up is local radio station KALW!  As a rather innovative station KALW cover key news stories in depth and highlight arts, culture and communities. They get inside government and institutions, and promote people and ideas whose voices aren’t otherwise heard in Bay Area media.  They have been using SoundCloud for their #OccupyBayArea coverage, asking the public what they they.  They have even plotted this audio to a cool little map which you can check out on their site, and they want your help. So if you are in the bay area, record you thoughts using the SoundCloud iPhone or Android app, and make sure to set the location and put #OccupyBayArea in the title and you’ll see your thoughts on the map on their site!

Take a listen to a piece below and find out more about the station here.

And last but by no means least is the brilliant San Francisco based GameSpot which brings gamers the latest and greatest game reviews, previews, videos, images, and news out there!  Take a listen to the final ‘The Hotspot’ of the year where Kurtis Seid, Brendan Sinclair, and Tom Magrino talk to Star Wars: The Old Republic lead writer Daniel Erickson.  Check out more on their site.

If you are interested in trying out SoundCloud as a spoken word podcast platform we are currently running a beta program which you can sign up for via this form. Successful candidates will be emailed with further details.

 

Adams Best Artist Campaigns 2011

‘Tis the season where everyone enjoys putting together their various ‘Best of 2011’ lists. At SoundCloud, we love to hear about artists using SoundCloud in interesting and novel ways to power their campaigns and engage their fans. Here’s some of the impressive examples we’ve heard about this year!

JANUARY – “Audio Diaries”

SoundCloud is more than just music for artists as Example showed in January. He recorded a brilliant audio diary – his ‘Codpast’ – with his touring band and special guests. Yacht were similarly inspired to tell stories through audio and setup “RADIO YACHT”. Both were great examples of how artists can capture ‘behind the scenes’ moments that fans love to hear and share them with their communities.

FEBRUARY – “Puzzle to Unlock”

Many artists discovered ways to let their fans unlock special content in 2011. But Manchester Orchestra went one better, using SoundCloud to go beyond the usual ‘tweet’ or ‘like, they asked fans to solve the Puzzle to Unlock new tracks. Puzzle clues were scattered across a number of online blogs to fans spreading the campaign even further. Try and unlock the puzzle yourself here.

MARCH – “Crowdsourcing”

Technology that gets fans involved in the creation process might well be an artists best kept secret. In March, Imogen Heap used SoundCloud as part of her new Heapsongs project. Imogen collaborated with fans to make an entirely new track in just one week. As part of this, fans recorded and submitted sounds via SoundCloud which became inspirational ‘seeds’ and were included in the final track ‘Lifeline’. Listen to Imogen talking more about the project below.

50 Cent took a similar crowdsourced approach, using SoundCloud to put out a freestyle with a sample and a kick drum for producers to finish the track. Listen to the original below or submit your own track to the group to show off your production skills.

APRIL – “Takes Questions” and “Premiere”

SoundCloud Labs – a home for our experimental projects – launched in April. One of the first projects was Takes Questions, a social audio Q&A app that provides a new way for artists to have a conversation with their fans. From The Blackout talking about superheroes, to Everything Everything answering about the songwriting process, or All Time Low giving new bands advice, fans could really engage with the bands. It’s free and easy for anyone to setup their own Q&A so check it out at http://takesquestions.com

April also saw the launch of ‘Premiere’, another homegrown app that’s an attractive yet simple way for any artist to launch their new album or release. The Beastie Boys used this app for their superb new record Hot Sauce Committee!

MAY – “Destroyed” and “Biophilia”

When sounds and pictures get together, interesting things happen. In May, Moby used SoundCloud, along with Instagram and SimpleGeo, to create his ‘Destroyed’ microsite. Fans could stream the album whilst adding their own #destroyed photos to the interactive map.

Also in May, Bjork launched her  brand new website featuring an audio introduction to the galaxy. SoundCloud was used as an integral part of the fully interactive Biophilia universe. Listen to the clip below…

JUNE – “Importer”

For fans that looked closely, Foo Fighters had secretly snuck a telephone number into their video for ‘Walk’. The most inquisitive of those fans rang the number to find a message from Dave Grohl, encouraging them to leave messages about their favourite part of the video. The band linked the phone number to their SoundCloud account and published the best messages. Neat huh? You can do similar using SoundCloud Importer or Woopla’s Scall to create your own SoundCloud-connected phone number for fans to ring.

JULY – “Social Unlock”

Giving away access to music in return for fan’s social interactions can be a simple win, as proved by Domino Records showed with their release of The Kills’ ‘Blood Pressures’ earlier in July. Fans were able to access a SoundCloud powered stream of the album on the artist’s website by simply clicking a Facebook ‘Like’ button.

Another SoundCloud Labs project that leveraged this new form of social currency was Social Unlock. M83 used the app to launch their new record ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, giving away a free downloadable track in return for a tweet.

AUGUST – “Competition App” and “Memories”

With the launch of the Comeptition App in August, Mastodon released the stems to “The Hunter” on SoundCloud in their “Curl of the Burl #Competition”. They asked musicians to show their rock skills by just downloading either a version without the lead guitar, or without the drums, and recording their own talents into the mix.

Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran enriched his Memolane by including SoundCloud to create a musical experience alongside an incredible visual of floating memories. Atlantic records used SoundCloud & memolane API’s to build a special HTML5 app to promote hi ‘You Need Me” single.

SEPTEMBER – “Neighborhoods”

In September, Blink 182 showed how combining SoundCloud with SimpleGeo enhances the concept behind their “Neighborhood” album. You can use SimpleGeo’s GPS technology to locate your neighborhood through your browser and drop you into a chat experience about tracks powered by SoundCloud.

OCTOBER – “Mobile Apps”

The awesome thing about SoundCloud’s mobile apps (for iPhone and Android) is the ability to quickly and easily capture sounds on the go. UK pop star Olly Murs has put this to smart use by recording quick audio messages to fans across Facebook, Twitter and his other social networks. This has included everything from album announcements and tour pre-sale announcements to backstage at festivals and giving fans a ‘#Mursday’ Update. Simple, but engaging!

Olly was not the only UK act to start sharing sounds in October, JLS began to record audio messages for fans that they could then share to Facebook and Twitter. Again the use was wide-ranging, from thank you messages, to turning the tables on Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton, birthday messages, or just talking about erm…potatoes.

NOVEMBER – “Integrations” and “Widgets”

With the integration from ThingLink and SoundCloud, Soundway Records was able to create this playable musical map of Colombiato feature the Soundway Records catalog and their artists.

Also in November, we released our new HTML5 player and saw some great artists high five back by embedding the player on their site. Leonard Cohen even included one of our shiny new player widgets on his site. Go check it out on your iOS device!

DECEMBER – “Christmas Dilemmas”

When life throws up a dilemma, why not have your favourite artist give you advice?!! Emmy The Great became a personal agony aunt, asking fans on Twitter and Facebook to send in their Christmas dilemmas. Fans could send their messages either via Twitter (with #xmasdilemmas tagged) or via the Facebook fan page and Emmy recorded her replies to SoundCloud and reposted the question along with a link to her Soundcloud response.

We’re looking forward to seeing more great artists power their campaigns with SoundCloud in 2012!