Tag Archives: creative commons

Brendan SoundCloud Creator Profile: Steven O’Brien

Steven O'Brien soundtracks BuzzFeed videos

Exposure, plays, even commissions. Classical composer Steven O’Brien’s music was first used as a soundtrack last December, for the BuzzFeed video True Facts About The Angler Fish. The outcome of having his work used by BuzzFeed? “Fantastic,” Steven says.

Steven released his song Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor with a “Creative Commons – Attribution” license, so the producer of the video, Ze Frank, included a link to the Steven’s SoundCloud profile in the description of the video. Steven saw results: within a week, the song gained 7,000 plays and attracted 200 people to follow his profile on SoundCloud.

Frank has continued to use Steven’s music in other videos. The effects of the wider exposure have been gradual but significant. Some videos impact his SoundCloud follower count and plays more. Others open up new avenues for further distribution, exposure, and networking. Speaking from his home in Clonmel, Ireland, Steven says the exposure he gets from the viral videos “…[attracts] others to start using my music in their videos, but it also attracts commissions from game developers and filmmakers who want me to write music for their projects.”

Aside from the ease of distribution that using a Creative Commons license enables, Steven feels a moral reason to use it. “I strongly believe in the freedom of information and art, and I personally feel uneasy about demanding people to pay to listen to my music, perform/record it, or use it in a project. I see myself as a sort of street performer…everyone [can] stop and listen…If people like the music enough to want to reward me with money, the basket is there for them to drop a coin or two into.” (Many of the video makers who use his music for free end up sending donations via Flattr.)

Regardless of the fact that his songs have been heard millions of times, Steven manages to keep a great perspective on things. “If you’re writing music for the sole purpose of seeking fame or fortune…you’re probably in the wrong line of work. Write music for yourself…write whatever comes naturally to you,” he says.

Here’s a set of some of Steven’s great instrumentals. Steven groups them by the mood or feeling the songs evoke. This one is “Calm/Beautiful”. Enjoy!

Next week, we’ll be profiling another of the many creators that have had their music featured in a BuzzFeed video and exploring Creative Commons in depth – right here on our blog, Tumblr, and via Twitter.


Brendan BuzzFeed Sources Soundtracks From SoundCloud Creators

BuzzFeed is one of the most prolific creators and distributors of content on the internet. From must-read lists like 25 People Having a Worse Day Than You At The Airport, to original journalism spanning everything from documenting unrest in Egypt, to analyzing the demise of Google Reader, BuzzFeed’s scope is vast.

BuzzFeed also produces a huge amount of original video. We recently noticed one that had been soundtracked with a Creative Commons licensed song from a SoundCloud creator:

Then we noticed another one:

…and another one:

…and another. In fact, many of the videos on BuzzFeed’s YouTube channel are soundtracked with original songs by SoundCloud community members.

We’re always interested in learning about new ways that creators’ sounds are being discovered and distributed via SoundCloud, whether through novel uses of our widget, our integrations with Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Google +, or other means. So we were psyched to discover that content producers over at BuzzFeed are active users of SoundCloud, sourcing music for the soundtracks of their videos.

How can you get in on the action? Keep an eye and ear out here and on our Twitter and Tumblr. In the coming weeks, we’ll be further exploring the BuzzFeed + SoundCloud connection: looking at what a Creative Commons license means, profiling SoundCloud community members who have had their songs featured in a BuzzFeed video, and launching a new, BuzzFeed-related group.

David Creative Commons Mashup Contest!

To celebrate the great collection of Creative Commons tracks on SoundCloud, we’re holding a remix contestCC style! So in the spirit of “some rights reserved”, upload your best CC samples and loops and then get remixing them into brand new pieces. It’s simple:

1. The sample repository can be found here. Get samples from others and upload your own! Make sure you make them download-able, add the CC-Attribution license and tag them properly (this is key!).

    Drop your samples here!

2. Create your mashup using the pieces provided in the sample repository, and upload it to the contest page.

3. Vote for the one you like the most!

Prizes: The user getting the most votes will be provided with a SoundCloud Pro account account and highlighted in our official blog together with three runners who’ll win a yearly SoundCloud Lite account.

The contest ends on October 24 (midnight CET) and the winners will be announced the following week.

Happy mash-up-ing!