Soundcloud: A Place Where All Can Listen, Curate and Create

In 2007, Soundcloud was released and changed the streaming industry forever. This online audio streaming platform allowed an open space for user-generated content and engagement.  It became a community where musicians, journalists, scholars, entertainers, archivists, enthusiasts, and the general public can connect. The Soundcloud team prides itself in designing a space for people to listen, create and curate for all the site’s users.  For many years, I used this platform solely to listen to and curate audio streams. Since 2014, I have commuted a long distance for multiple jobs. Traveling by car, train, and metro, I could always count on at least an hour commute one way which left much time to kill.  Instead of traveling in idle mind and in complete silence, I used Soundcloud to catch up on the latest news story, podcasts or musical tracks. I’m one of the millions worldwide who use Soundcloud just to listen and discover new content, but what about the creators ?  In order for me to enjoy audio streams during long commutes, there has to be a creator with an idea and content to upload for specific audiences in mind right?  

Since this role on Soundcloud was foreign to me all these years, I figured what better time than the present to learn how to be a creator on one of the world’s largest audio streaming platforms.  As a public historian, Soundcloud can be a very useful tool for making history relevant to a plethora of audiences around the world. For this reason, let’s dive into the tips and tricks to being a creator on Soundcloud.

First things first, one needs to create an account in order to reap any of the platform’s benefits.  To use an account with the intention of distributing content and promoting a brand, creators must choose wisely what type of account they want to manage.  There are five different account types to choose from: Basics, Pro, Pro Unlimited, Go, and Go+. The Soundcloud team recommends Pro Unlimited for all creators and refers to a comprehensive user guide on how to manage this account type and others offered on the audio streaming platform.  This account type costs the user $12 per month when billed yearly and $16 per month when billed monthly. Users pay for an extensive package of tools and unlimited upload time which is ideal for creators. However, if you wish to be a creator using the Basic account type, be prepared to face some challenges that could impact your success on the platform.  Users with a Basic account are limited to only three hours of upload time. Yes, just three hours. It makes sense the Soundcloud team recommends a Pro Unlimited account because only three hours of upload time is not very helpful for creators in the slightest.

In the Soundcloud Creator Guide , users learn about the fundamentals for designing an account, choosing the right account type to optimize a creator’s experience, how to upload audio content, finding the right audience, and receiving revenue from streams.

Uploading content is a pretty straightforward process. A user can upload audio content on various multimedia devices.  Whether your Team Apple or Team Android, Soundcloud is available on all popular smartphones. Uploading via computer is no hassle either.  Users can manage their accounts and uploads on either a PC or Mac.

For creators, Soundcloud provides the space for users to upload content to help build their brand with the opportunity of receiving compensation for their work.  Through the Soundcloud Premier program, users can get paid based on plays in audio streams.  Monetizing streams comes with the Pro and Pro Unlimited accounts, one of many benefits to letting go of the Basic option and upgrading to the accounts that require payment.

Soundcloud is a groundbreaking platform for audio streaming that continues to provide accessibility, engagement, and reward for users around the world. A musician can upload tracks, promote their brand, get paid for their popularity and eventually get discovered by big deal producers in the music industry.  Historians and other scholars can connect with audiences through uploading history relevant audio content like interviews, speeches, podcasts, and more. No matter what one’s reason for using Soundcloud, listening, curating or creating, there are tools in place to make one’s experience optimal.

4 Replies to “Soundcloud: A Place Where All Can Listen, Curate and Create”

  1. I was also someone who would constantly listen to Soundcloud! It was a go-to among my friends in high school as a way to find new music. I didn’t realize that Soundcloud has since introduced the pro options, which allows for monetization. It’s also interesting to see how successful Soundcloud was a few years ago, and how it still goes beyond major streaming services to let anyone upload content, and yet it came close to dying fairly recently.

  2. Such an informative post! I never considered Soundcloud as a platform for historians to share their work. Much like you, Sierra, I had always used Soundcloud to listen to music and radio broadcasts. I wonder how many historians have used Soundcloud to share their work, or even to work on projects that involve, for example, crowdsourcing.

    After reading your post, I visited Soundcloud and searched for “history.” As I write this, I’m listening to one of the first search results, a podcast called “A History of Motzart in a Dozen Objects,” hosted by the BBC and Professor Cliff Eisen of King’s College London. Fascinating!

    In fact, as I scroll through the list of search results, there are numerous podcasts supported by the BBC. I’ve just found one called “Disability: A New History.” It is described as the following: “Drawing on new research, Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    These podcasts each have thousands of subscribers, which is a testament to the resources at the BBC’s disposal.

    On the other hand, there is a podcast by History Hub, which is based at the School of History, University College Dublin, Ireland. It posts recordings of conference talks on a range of subjects, the most recent of which are about oral histories of conflict in India and Ireland. This podcast has 844 subscribers.

    Thanks for the insightful post, Sierra! I’m sure I’ll find myself listening to podcasts posted on Soundcloud soon. And who knows… I may even start one of my own.

  3. I am so far behind! I truthfully had no idea what Soundcloud was except that when someone on twitter has a viral tweet, you can count on them to drop a “check out my soundcloud” reply tweet. This was so informative! I really appreciate being introduced to this platform through the idea of using it as public historians. I did a quick “oral history” search and saw that there are plenty of folks using this platform to share their oral histories and make them accessible online.

    Hannah Byrne curated an exhibit last fall with the Humanities Truck on Whitman-Walker Health. From what I could tell, they use soundcloud to share their oral histories: I think this is such a great way to make oral histories easily accessible to the narrators and their community. So much of oral history is about collaboration and while sharing your story can be personal and intimate, it is also often closely tied to community building. In his other scholarship, Frisch advocates for a “shared authority” with narrators, and I think that making oral histories more accessible to the narrators and their communities is one small step in that direction. In the case of W-W, making these oral histories accessible online is part of a celebration of W-W, but also serves the purpose of increasing awareness of the work they’ve been doing in DC for 40 years. I wonder how other oral history endeavors use soundcloud to create ties to community building?

  4. Wow! This was really great and informative. I never really dabbled into the Soundcloud world, as I thought it was mostly for kids I went to high school who wanted to be rappers posted their music. I didn’t realize it was such a dynamic platform where one could easily monetize their medium–I guess it makes sense why people always drop their Soundcloud account in their viral tweets as Maren noted.

    Based on the information in your post, I now see the great potential for use with public history projects with this tool. I think one aspect for engaging wider audiences using Soundcloud is that the platform itself has a lot of name recognition within pop culture. I imagine that if one was to do an oral history of a community, that Soundcloud would provide easy and recognizable access to that community to then share in the collection. Using already well known tools like this to do public history is something I’m a big proponent of as it makes in inclusion and reach that much more dynamic.

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