Music On Tumblr & Their Unique Relationship With SoundCloud

Tumblr_music-313x188By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.

Marissa Meyer has pledged not to screw up Tumblr and to leave it more-or-less autonomous, as part of Yahoo’s bold $1.1 billion acquisition of the company. Her pledge should mean that all the #music on Tumblr will be okay (unlike the porn), which is a good thing for music fans among the 4.8 million people who access Tumblr every day, which means Tumblr has roughly the daily population of Alabama.

The acquisition should help Yahoo attract a more tech-savvy crowd, too, as well as boosting its bottom line as Yahoo inserts “Yahoo Stream Ads” to Tumblr feeds. That includes all the music Tumblrs out there, which take advantage of the platform’s ability to embed music from Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, your hard drive, and the whole web.

So, what is that music, anyway? How do you put it there? Where can you hear it? And is it any good?

You’re on your own for that last one, which is down to personal taste. We can help you out with the rest, though, if you’re sitting there going “Am I really, honestly, doing everything I can to use Tumblr for music and understand the mechanics of what goes on there, music-wise?”


To make your own music Tumblr, just click the Audio button.

For the uninitiated, know this: You can post any recorded song in the world on Tumblr, using third-party services (SoundCloud, Spotify, or YouTube), linking to music elsewhere on the web, or by uploading your own sonic creations (up to 10MB per MP3). Unless you use the last option, you don’t need to worry about copyright, permissions, or any of those niceties, because that’s on the company hosting the file.

As for listening, you can see just about all of the music on Tumblr by working your way through Tumblr’s music tag, which could take years. A much better idea for using Tumblr for music: Find a few Tumblrs that cater to your taste, and follow those (some suggestions below). On the flipside of that coin, it’s also ridiculously easy to use Tumblr to set up own music blog — then just click the Audio option and follow the simple directions.

This approach makes Tumblr’s music selections a smorgasbord (an apt description, given the weird Swedishness of digital music). However, in our anecdotal research, we’ve seen a way higher percentage of SoundCloud jams than we do on Facebook or Twitter, although YouTube and Spotify are also well represented.

As such, we put the question to SoundCloud: Are they seeing a big uptick in Tumblr embeds? In other words, are SoundCloud and Tumblr the relative besties they appear to be?

SoundCloud spokeswoman Kristina Weise told us that one reason for the apparent surge in SoundCloud on Tumblr is that the two companies worked together to replace Tumblr’s custom widget with the standard SoundCloud widget, which happened a couple of months ago, as well as SoundCloud updating its search function in December, making it easier to find the tracks:

The reason you’re seeing more SoundCloud presence on Tumblr is that this past March, Tumblr replaced their custom SoundCloud player with our official widget inside audio posts on the web (mobile + desktop). This gives our creators better attribution, SoundCloud better brand placement inside Tumblr, and a better overall listening experience.

In addition, by updating our search functionality back in December (’12), this has also improved better search results in Tumblr. Sorry to not be more helpful on the numbers side, but did want to acknowledge that we’re working closely with Tumblr and are constantly working with them on ways to improve the audio experience for users on both platforms.

If you’re looking for a quick way to get started with Tumblr and music, by the way, you could do a lot worse than this top ten list.


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