(from Billboard Magazine, December 1, 2012) The online music world has exploded within the past decade from iTunes to YouTube. This has not changed recently as SoundCloud has joined the world that is already dominated by Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. SoundCloud, based from Berlin, got its start as a program that allows artists to share tracks among each other, possibly leading to online collaborations. Today, nearly five years later, SoundCloud is beginning to establish itself and take the platform as a “YouTube for audio.” Some of SoundCloud’s features include an open application programming interface, third-party integrations and easy-to-use audio-hosting abilities. These are the features that make SoundCloud stand out from other audio programs that overpower the Web.
Now that SoundCloud has joined the Web audio world, they are extending their focus to become more “radio-like.” The company has already begun partnering with radio stations to launch a new design that features continuous playback of audio. Unlike other radio-like programs on the Web, SoundCloud plays back audio tracks from a given playlist or a particular user’s stream. The ability to stream audio tracks back to back makes SoundCloud easily comparable to radio.
Along with becoming more radio-like, SoundCloud is also considering partnering with public radio providers to provide shows including National Public Radio programs. Such shows include ‘99% Invisible With Roman Mars,” “Fresh Air,” and “On Air with Ryan Seacrest.” SoundCloud allows these shows to publish online episodes so their listeners can be engaged in a whole new way. As well as radio programs, broadcasts can also be streamed through SoundCloud. In ways like this, SoundCloud continues to be compared to radio stations and programs. One thing does separate the two drastically, the live aspect. The fact that SoundCloud is not a live program makes it different and the main platform that will lead to success. Their main objective that will keep SoundCloud easily distinguished from other audio powerhouses is the ability to share and that is what they want to provide to the music world.