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&auto_play=false&player_type=artwork&sharing=false&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&auto_play=false&player_type=artwork&sharing=false&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.