Tag Archives: 101

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.

Adams How to Integrate a Secret Widget into a Promo Page

SoundCloud can be a really great tool for getting your music privately and securely to journalists, DJ’s and other key promotional contacts. In previous blog posts we’ve shown you how to do this by using our private sharing features or via a secret link. But sometimes you want to take people straight to your own website and do your own private promo there.

Well you can do this with SoundCloud too by using our secret widget feature. This allows you to keep your tracks totally private on SoundCloud but still grab a player widget that you can embed on your own promo page. From the promo page you can collect your own feedback, add extra promotional material such as tour dates, press shots and other related media. But still use a great looking SoundCloud player to stream and show off your tracks to the fullest. In this tutorial we’ll show you exactly what to do in four easy steps.

1) Set up your private release

Upload all the tracks to SoundCloud as part of a ‘set’ and make sure you remember to include as much metadata as possible eg. release date, descriptions and artwork. Then set the track to private. When a track is private a secret link and embed code for a secret widget are automatically created with every track.

Next you’ll need to set all the correct privacy options. Change your privacy options to make comments private and hide the stats. This is optional but you probably don’t want a journalist seeing other people’s comments or how many other people have listened to the track.

2) Embed the secret widget to your promo page

Now you’ve setup your player you’ll want to add it to your own site. In our example we’ll use a WordPress blog as it’s easy to setup and you can easily password-protect your promo page. To embed the player:

i) go to the private set that you’ve created on SoundCloud and click ‘Share’
ii) grab the embed code for the player you wish to embed. We highly recommend the Artwork player.
iii) edit the embed code in order to turn off sharing. ie. to make sure the secret widget is just shared to your promo page.

For this last step you’ll need to add the following parameter twice in your embed code: sharing=false
Here is what the resulting code looks like:

<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”550″ height=”275″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”src” value=”http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdavid-adams%2Fsets%2Fholy-yell-sessions%2Fs-0M74F&amp;auto_play=false&amp;player_type=artwork&amp;sharing=false&amp;color=d26e6d” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”550″ height=”275″ src=”http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdavid-adams%2Fsets%2Fholy-yell-sessions%2Fs-0M74F&amp;auto_play=false&amp;player_type=artwork&amp;sharing=false&amp;color=d26e6d” allowscriptaccess=”always”>

So now the Secret Widget appears like this:

For more customization options you can read our Hacking The SoundCloud Player tutorial.

3) Setup your promo page

Within this promo page you can add lots more things such as
i) Press material. For example quotes, press shots, tour dates etc.
ii) Additional media. For example video from Youtube or Vimeo
iii) Reaction forms. This is actually very easy to do using a service such as Forms in Google Docs. All replies to your Google Form are stored in a Google Docs spreadsheet.  You can even set the form up so that you get sent an email every time someone leaves feedback. And also have it leave a custom message for the person leaving feedback too.

Here is an example of a promo page with some of these features added:

4) Invite contacts to your promo page

With the promo page ready to highlight all the key facts around the release it is now how you wish to spread the word about this page. The page could simply be part of your blog which is the only place you access the promotional material and is for public viewing.

Or you may want to restrict access to the promo page by setting up password protection of some type. In our example we used WordPress (more info here) .

But most other blogging services have password protection of some kind. And it should be fairly easy for your webmaster to setup password protection on any HTML page if you’re using your own website.

You can check out this example promo page with password protection here. (The password is ‘Kaboom’. Ssshhh, don’t tell anyone!)

With the added safety of a password on the promo page alongside the secret widget on SoundCloud, without being granted a link with a password it is a safe position to share promotional material, such as adding download options to your secret Widget. At this point the choices are completely up to you on how you present your page.

But hopefully we’ve shown you how the Secret widget can be used with other free and easy to use tools in order to create a promo page that is totally secure and uses SoundCloud. For using a Secret Widget in the fashion of the example you will need the the use of the artwork player which is available as a premium feature to those with lite accounts and higher.

Adams How to send digital promos via email using the ‘secret link’

As we’ve highlighted before, SoundCloud is an excellent way to send music privately to your contacts without having to send bulky attachments via email or use ugly, generic file-sharing and FTP services. And of course without having to send CD’s, which are expensive and arguably not very environmentally friendly.

More and more music PR’s, pluggers and labels are starting to use SoundCloud now to send out their digital promos. So we thought we’d put together a quick post about it. There’s three easy steps to show you:

1) Use SoundCloud to create a fantastic looking promo
2) Grab your secret link to give quick and easy access
3) Prepare your own email and include the  link
4) Collect feedback with regular and ‘timed’ comments

1) Prepare Your Promo

When you send a promo using SoundCloud you’re not just sending them a bunch of files, you’re also giving them access to a clean simple page where they can preview the music, download hi-res artwork, information like release dates and catalogue numbers, even video and buy links if you have them. You should make sure you complete as much as you can while you upload the tracks.

You can choose whether you want to just give someone streaming access or let them download the original file as well, should they wish. We support all audio file types so you can send any bit-rate MP3 or even lossless WAV or AIFF. For further information, this blog post has all the info on our new sharing flow.

2) The Secret Link

The ‘Secret Link’ is a free feature available to all our usesrs so this is much cheaper than many other digital promo solutions. When you decide to turn a track to private in the settings option a secret link is automatically created.

Selecting this option means that your music will remain totally private, won’t show up on your SoundCloud profile and is not searchable. But you can send a secret link to anyone and give them immediate access to the music by clicking ‘share’ on your uploaded track and grabbing the secret link. They don’t even need to sign up (although you can do this with our other private sharing options if you wish).

The link will not expire and there is no limit to the number of people who can stream or check the music. However you can deactivate or refresh the link at any time should you wish to block access from anyone who you’ve sent the link to previously. You can go back to grab the Secret Link at any time by clicking ‘share’ and copying and pasting from the track/set page on SoundCloud.

3) Send Out The Secret Link

Now of course you’re going to want to send out the secret link to your own database of press, radio, DJ and other industry contacts. You’ve hopefully already added all the information the recipient will need to the promo’s page on SoundCloud but you might want to add some more personal information or extra things like tour dates, contact numbers etc. You already know what works best so we’ll leave that completely up to you! All you need to do is add the secret link prominently in the mailout so that the recipient can click through and immediately start listening to the actual music. Busy journalists don’t want to have to sit their and download a zip to their desktop before they can even check the release out! To take this one step further, you can use the secret link within email marketing services such as Campaign Monitor.

If you’re sending a track and you want them to be able to download it directly from the email then you can do this to. Just take the secret link and add ‘/download/’ in the middle like this:

Secret Link: http://soundcloud.com/inspirit-music/pushin-west-of-centre-remix/s-0oJzD
Secret Download Link: http://soundcloud.com/inspirit-music/pushin-west-of-centre-remix/download/s-0oJzD

4) Get Feedback

By using SoundCloud we also allow you to collect feedback directly on the page for your promo. As well as just leaving general comments the recipients can actually leave feedback directly in the track by using the ‘timed comments’ on our waveform player. Nice.

Of course, if you’re sending your promo to a lot of different people then you’ll probably want to hide these comments so they’re for your eyes only. You can hide the play counts too.