In our last tutorial, we went over what SoundCloud is, how it works, and what you can do with it. But will SoundCloud put you on cloud nine, or is it just full of hot air? We'll break down its strong and weak points below.
Free to use as a listener — If you're just using SoundCloud to listen to music, then it's more-or-less free to use. The only exception is that certain artists may make their songs available for purchase on a third-party website or service, such as iTunes. On the other hand, some artists may make their songs available for download for free!
There's something for everyone — SoundCloud not only has music from many different genres, but it also has other unique audio tracks, including audiobooks, educational lectures, and stand-up comedy shows.
Music, the social way — Why just listen to music when you can make it social? Leave a comment to say how you feel about a certain song (or part of a song), or share it with your friends on SoundCloud or on your other social networks. You can also join "groups" and share your favourite music with them, and they will do the same for you.
Put your own spin on SoundCloud — Put together songs that you find on SoundCloud in custom playlists based around a certain artist, genre, mood, or whatever else you want. Or spice up your SoundCloud profile with a unique user name, user picture, background photo. You can also add info about where you live or what you like to do, and even add links to your websites, where people can find out more about you!
Mostly for the indie scene — The majority of songs and other audio tracks on SoundCloud are uploaded by amateur musicians and other non-professionals, such as those who create audio journals or other independent informational recordings (commonly known as "podcasts"). There are some well-known professional recording artists on SoundCloud — such as Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, and Mariah Carey — but if you are looking for hit music like you would hear on the radio, then you should perhaps try another service besides SoundCloud.
Search options are lacking — SoundCloud's search options are simple, but not very thorough. One very glaring weakness is their inability to find songs that are available for download, either right on SoundCloud or on a third-party website.
We interrupt this program… — Because SoundCloud is relatively free to use, you will sometimes hear advertisements between songs, as a way for SoundCloud to support itself (and the artists who use it) financially.
The bottom line: 8/10
Overall, SoundCloud is a pretty cool website, as far as music-related services go. It's pretty much free to use as a listener (if you don't mind hearing advertisements between songs), and you have quite a few options as to what you can do with the music that you find there. You can comment on it, put it on a custom playlist, share it to your other social media accounts (or to your other friends on SoundCloud), post it to a themed group, or sometimes even download a free copy of certain songs!
There are two major weak points for SoundCloud, though. The first is that it doesn't have too many partnerships with major record labels (at least not yet), so most of its audio is by amateur artists and sound recorders, instead of popular commercial acts. The other main flaw with SoundCloud is that its search capabilities are somewhat subpar; a particular weakness is that it's impossible to search for songs on SoundCloud that can be downloaded, either from SoundCloud or a third-party website.
If you're looking for music that's outside the mainstream and don't mind doing a bit of exploring to find it, then SoundCloud might be a website worth looking into for you. If that's the case, head on over to our next tutorial: How to Sign Up for SoundCloud tutorial.