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SoundCloud Throws Out Baby With Bathwater? Nice App Design But Musicians Feel Screwed

Photo-by-hsloSoundCloud's new iOS app is getting lots of coverage. Many are excited by the design and it is an awesome looking app that encourages checking out new music. Unfortunately in their quest to strip down and start over much of the functionality has been stripped out as well. Musicians getting angry over in SoundCloud's comments are told to "hang tight" cause various features will return one day soon. But if SoundCloud is a key part of your daily work in music and you're as mobile as the media says you are then you just got screwed for awhile.

SoundCloud's New iOS App For Listeners

SoundCloud just updated their iOS app though iPad updates are still in the works.

It looks great. The tech blog consensus is that it's an app for listeners.

As SoundCloud's designers recently explained:

"If you want to focus on the listening experience you've got to pare everything down and simplify."

That's right, if you want to focus on listeners you do what SoundCloud just did. But that creates a bit of disappointment for the content creators to whom SoundCloud has long paid allegiance.

Musicians' Concerns Regarding What's Missing

Over at the SoundCloud blog there's quite a bit of discontent. In fact, commenters are not only dismayed at losing all creator features, at least for the time being, but also point out the limitations for listeners:

"Shipping this app before implementing your core functionality is like serving dinner at a restaurant and forgetting to put the food on the plate."

"The app looks beautiful and feels fast. But where are the features that make SoundCloud unique?"

"Really dig the new layout but totally devastated that now I can't seem to see any notifications on the soundcloud mobile app. Which honestly makes it useless for an artist I use to love see who was commenting and liking my tracks but now soundcloud has turned in to Twitter only showing trending tracks."

"But in all honestly, terrible app. Missing core features, and I've been asking for push notifications to stay abreast of my notifications for a while now. No messages too. Hey SoundCloud, why not get your basics right before trying to do all kinds of crazy things?"

"I'm not happy with the update right now. You removed all the features that make Soundcloud what it is in the first place and now seem to be more focused on pushing content rather than supporting or encouraging user created content. If I wanted another streaming app I would download Pandora. You've even made it harder for me to access MY OWN DAMN MUSIC!"

"My private sounds don't display at all. I have to put them all in a playlist to see them."

At this point I was going to compile a list of what's missing based on user response, since I don't know the app that well, but it's pretty clear that the list would include the majority of previous features.

Most notably: that would depend on the individual. Think of something you liked that doesn't involve browsing what's trending or listening to your playlists and that's your most notably missing feature.

Check out the comments on the post, especially given that they're using Disqus and I don't see any cursing or extreme attacks, this is a strong negative response.

So Why Would SoundCloud Do This?

I have no fucking clue. How does anyone lose touch with reality?

Could It Be Related To Money?

Hard to say. In a recent interview SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss spoke vaguely of experiments and future possibilities regarding monetization.

At the end of day, humans remain a puzzling lot.

[Thumbnail photo courtesy hslo.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) also blogs at DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.