Swedish sound recorders Alex Ljung and Eric Wahlforss first introduced SoundCloud in 2007 as an online platform for artists to share recordings with each other. Musicians quickly caught on a few months after and jumped ship on then-ruler Myspace to more easily connect with each other and interact with fans. It has become an increasingly hot spot to not only record and upload music but also promote and spread the word, as well. Artists can have their own URL with SoundCloud, as well as linking to other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
It's even become a popular destination for users looking to hear up-and-coming artists, even if they are not musicians that use the site to distribute creations themselves. Users can repost tracks and sets, follow others, and even download music. SoundCloud offers additional services such the capability to join various groups, free apps, widgets and a blog, too. In 2012, new features were added to make users experience even better, including the ability to simultaneously play tracks and surf around the site. Thanks to funding coming in from a diverse crowd over the past few years – from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures to Ashton Kutcher— they have been able to steadily grow and even now gain 1.5 million registered users per month.
Aside from the free services (that do limit certain activities), which are most popularly used – SoundCloud offers a few levels of subscription services, as well. These features include more hosting space for a user to be able to reach more groups and users within the network, create a whole set of their recordings, and see more advanced statistical data such as the number of listens per track.
Using this segmented pricing through different packages of combination services, along with intertwining with the biggest social media platforms out there has strategically placed them as the largest audio platform today. With their collaboration with Instagram on October 29th, SoundCloud also announced they now see 250 million visitors a month – with an increase of 50 million users since July. "It's very simple but I'm pretty excited about it. Creators can take pictures of their Instagram feed and choose that as their artwork," Ljung said in an interview with TechCrunch. The "Soundagram" feature may be simple, but that's what has been working for them…and they don't plan on stopping the collaboration anytime soon, as Ljung says of Instragram: "They're good friends and we really like what they're doing. I'm sure we'll do more."