It has been a year of impressive growth for SoundCloud, and while their range of audio sources served expanded exponentially, music is still its heart and soul. In this guest post, Business Development Manager David Adams shares some of the best Soundcloud powered audio campaigns of 2011.
‘Tis the season where everyone enjoys putting together their various ‘Best of 2011’ lists. At SoundCloud, we love to hear about artists using SoundCloud in interesting and novel ways to power their campaigns and engage their fans. Here are some of the impressive examples we’ve heard about this year:
FEBRUARY: “Puzzle to Unlock” Many artists discovered ways to let their fans unlock special content in 2011. But Manchester Orchestra went one better, using SoundCloud to go beyond the usual ‘tweet’ or ‘like’, they asked fans to solve the Puzzle to Unlock new tracks. Puzzle clues were scattered across a number of online blogs to fans spreading the campaign even further. Try and unlock the puzzle yourself here.
[Link - http://simplemath.heroku.com/]
MARCH: “Crowdsourcing” Technology that gets fans involved in the creation process might well be an artists best kept secret. In March, Imogen Heap used SoundCloud as part of her new Heapsongs project. Imogen collaborated with fans to make an entirely new track in just one week. As part of this, fans recorded and submitted sounds via SoundCloud which became inspirational ‘seeds’ and were included in the final track ‘Lifeline’. Listen to Imogen talking more about the project below.
50 Cent took a similar crowdsourced approach, using SoundCloud to put out a freestyle with a sample and a kick drum for producers to finish the track. Listen to the original below or submit your own track to the group to show off your own production skills.
APRIL: “Takes Questions” SoundCloud Labs - a home for some of our experimental projects - launched in April. One of the first projects was Takes Questions, a social audio Q&A app that provides a new way for artists to have a conversation with their fans. From The Blackout talking about superheroes, to Everything Everything answering about the songwriting process, or All Time Low giving new bands advice, fans could really engage with the bands. It’s free and easy for anyone to setup their own Q&A so check it out at http://takesquestions.com
[Link - http://takesquestions.com]
April also saw the launch of ‘Premiere’, another homegrown app that’s an attractive yet simple way for any artist to launch their new album or release. The Beastie Boys used this app for their superb new record Hot Sauce Committee!
MAY: “Sounds and images” When sounds and pictures get together, interesting things happen. In May, Moby used SoundCloud, along with Instagram and SimpleGeo, to create his ‘Destroyed’ microsite. Fans could stream the album whilst adding their own #destroyed photos to the interactive map. http://destroyed.moby.com/
Also in May, Bjork launched her brand new website featuring an audio introduction to the galaxy. SoundCloud was used an integral part of the fully interactive Biophilia universe. Listen to the clip below...
JUNE: “Importer” For fans that looked closely, Foo Fighters secretly snuck a telephone number into their new video for ‘Walk’. The most inquisitive fans rang the number to find a message from Dave Grohl, encouraging them to leave messages about their favourite part of the video. The band linked the phone number to their SoundCloud account and published the best messages. Neat huh? You can do similar using SoundCloud Importer or Woopla’s Scall to create your own SoundCloud-connected phone number for fans to ring.
JULY: “Social Unlock” Giving away access to music in return for fans’ social interactions can be a simple win, as Domino Record’s showed with their release of The Kills’ ‘Blood Pressures’ earlier in July. Fans were able to access a SoundCloud powered stream of the album on the artist’s website by simply clicking a Facebook ‘Like’ button.
Another SoundCloud Labs project that leveraged this new form of social currency was Social Unlock. M83 used the app to launch their new record ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, giving away a free downloadable track in return for a tweet.
[Link - socialunlock.com]
AUGUST: “Competition App” and “Memories” With the launch of the Comeptition App in August, Mastodon released the stems to "The Hunter" on SoundCloud in their “Curl of the Burl #Competition”. They asked musicians to show their rock skills by just downloading either a version without the lead guitar, or without the drums, and recording their own talents into the mix.
[Link - http://mastodon.herokuapp.com/]
Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran enriched his Memolane by including SoundCloud to create a musical experience alongside an incredible visual of floating memories. Atlantic Records used SoundCloud & Memolane API’s to build a special HTML5 app to promote his ‘You Need Me’ single.
[Link - http://youneedme.edsheeran.com/]
SEPTEMBER: “Geo-location” In September, Blink 182 showed how combining SoundCloud with SimpleGeo enhance the concept behind their “Neighborhood” album. In your own “Neighborhood” uses SimpleGeo‘s GPS technology to locate your neighborhood through your browser and drop you into a chat experience about tracks powered by SoundCloud.
[Link - http://neighborhoods.blink182.com/]
OCTOBER: “Mobile apps” The awesome thing about SoundCloud’s mobile apps (for iPhone and Android) is the ability to quickly and easily capture sounds on the go. UK pop star Olly Murs has put this to smart use by recording quick audio messages to fans across Facebook, Twitter and his other social networks. This has included everything from album announcements and tour pre-sale announcements to backstage at festivals and giving fans a ‘#Mursday’ Update. Simple, but engaging!
[Link - http://soundcloud.com/ollymurs]
Olly was not the only UK act to start sharing sounds in October. JLS began to record audio messages for fans that they could then share to Facebook and Twitter. Again the use was wide-ranging, from thank you messages, to turning the tables on Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton, birthday messages, or just talking about erm...potatoes.
NOVEMBER: “Integrations” and “Widgets” With the integration from ThingLink and SoundCloud, Soundway Records was able to create this playable musical map of Colombia to feature the Soundway Records catalog and their artists.
Also in November, we released of new HTML5 player and saw some great artists high five back by embedding the player on their site. Leonard Cohen even included one of our shiny new player widgets on his site. Go check it out on your iOS device!
DECEMBER : When life throws up a dilemma, why not have your favourite artist give you advice?! In December, Emmy The Great became a personal agony aunt, asking fans on Twitter and Facebook to send in their Christmas dilemmas. Fans could send their messages either via Twitter (with #xmasdilemmas tagged) or via the Facebook fan page and Emmy recorded her replies to SoundCloud and reposted the question along with a link to her SoundCloud response.
We’re looking forward seeing more great artists power their campaigns with SoundCloud in 2012!