Apps & Mobile

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.]

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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.

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31 Comments

  1. “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.”
    Yeah, wow! This is a damn strange story, thank you for the heads-up, Clyde.

  2. SoundCloud’s new app is one of the most unfortunate business decisions I have ever seen a company make. They have forgotten that without the musicians that upload music there would not be people to listen. They made the decision to remove the majority of their features including the ability to see who is following you, who you are following (which makes no sense at all because you no longer have the ability to go to someone’s page to check out their music!!! You can only stream the latest music under streaming or perform a search), you no longer have the ability to comment on someone’s music, to see what others have commented on your music or comments that have been made about other’s music, the ability to see notes the artist has made about the music including tracklists, the ability to see who has “liked” your music and pretty much all stats are gone except the total number of times a track has been played. I have asked for a refund for my membership with unlimited storage because I don’t feel I should have to pay when I am only getting a fraction of the features they provided before the release of the new app.

  3. Waaaah (sp?). I can’t record anymore and direct upload my podcasts using my iPhone. I’m disappointed. I pay for the space with my Premium account, what is the issue? That direct record/upload feature was nice for podcasters using SoundCloud as their primary hosting platform and not doing a lot of post-production. Also, for recording and hosting ambient sounds and sharing them.

  4. Every time I go on soundcloud now, it’s just to check to see if they’ve changed it back. I find the new version extremely frustrating and as someone who accessed it at ~10 times per day on average… I simply cannot deal with the changes that have made the app so completely user unfriendly, and well… utterly shitty.

  5. What were you thinking??? This BULLSHIT redesign was for who exactly??? NOT THE MUSICIANS WHO USE YOUR SERVICE EVERY DAY TO SHARE THEIR MUSIC!!!
    i log in to share my private tracks using my phone, AND YOU HAVE F*%KING DONE AWAY WITH MY ABILITY TO DO SO??
    Bullshit!!! Total complete CRAP!!!! You’ve DESTROYED the main reason I use your service. KILLED IT.
    I don’t give a F%#K about your desire to create a music streaming service. THATS FOR YOUR IPO…you’ve ENDED my ability to use your service as a tool to help me share my music with whom I want, seamlessly … TOTAL AND UTTER BULLSHIT.
    You should be ASHAMED of yourself.
    DID YOU EVER ASK A MUSICIAN HOW THEY USE YOUR SERVICE??? CLEARLY NOT
    GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR NEW RADIO STATION.. I’m finding a way to cancel my PRO subscription AS SOON AS I CAN.
    WHAT A WASTE. Whoever told you this was a good idea CLEARLY DOESNT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT MUSICIANS!!!!!
    UnF%@KINGbelievable!!!!!

  6. Why is soundcloud not responding to anyone? WE ALL HATE THE UPDATE … Helloooooo? What the fuck is going on? Change it back already!!

  7. This is insane to put out something new that really has nothing.They have taking away the functions that brought me and many thousands of musicians over to soundcloud. I have sent them my request to refund my money on my plan as i’m not getting what i had bought in the fast place.I think the person or persons who thought this was a great idea should be reevaluated as this decision is a business killer!! I will not use until it’s done right!!!

  8. I agree!! This is the dumbest, most useless change SC has ever done! If features like commenting, recording and messaging don’t return very soon I will end my SC membership…

  9. This update is a huge disappointment. I downloaded it not knowing this is how it is. I’m very upset as an artist, no notifications and you can’t visit peoples pages… Wtf?? Imagine using facebook and not being able to view someone’s profile and only being able to view the newsfeed but not being ably to comment or like something. They messed up big time. And onto of that their mobile site is garbage too, so mobile users are pretty much screwed

  10. Very poor design. It looks nice but doesn’t cater to the members who actually create content for Soundcloud, which is the reason Soundcloud thrives. Why??? Please get a better version out soon, or switch it back to the previous one.

  11. I’m suprised that they’ve made the decision to take away pretty much ALL the features that people pay $100 a year to use. Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to who have pro accounts have said they won’t be renewing them now. And I think I’ll be another of them.
    I’ve been asking SC for months and months to add inbox support to their app, as an artist on the move it’s important for me to be able to see what people are liking, what they’re not, and be able to keep in touch with people sending me tracks and labels. They’ve pretty much taken away every feature I’m paying for with the exception of unlimited uploads, which I can get many other places for free. Another $100 lost I think.

  12. This update is the worst thing i have ever seen.. Listener friendly?! Give me a break its complete shit, bring back the old version and fire the person who authorised this update while youre at it

  13. I agree with everything, except for the people who think comments are essential. Comments are so fucking pointless. Keep the comments out. I could go on an 4 page tirade about how comments effect things negatively. I will say this though, when soundcloud first rolled out comments on the waveform, it was for musicians who were collaborating to comment specifically on an area where they wanted to add/remove/edit a part of a song. Now it’s turned to a fuckery. IF you’re a PROFESSIONAL artist who makes money at this, you’re less concerned with “fuck yeah” “this is awesome” “blogged at sofuckingwhat.com” and more concerned with getting paid. Only amateurs want comments. Once you’ve reached a certain level with your music, you know you’re good, and for the most part everything is going to be at a certain level, so the comments aren’t helping, if nothing more than having a bunch of them on your waveform to make it look like you’re important, which works in reverse if there’s a great song that is not publicized well, with only a few comments, now we’re supposed to think it’s shit?
    DOWN WITH COMMENTS.
    SAVE IT FOR TWITTER AND BLOG CONVERSATIONS.
    MUSIC IS FOR LISTENING.

  14. Great… I use Soundcloud primarily so that me and my bandmates can listen to our demos and rehearsal recordings when out walking, in the car etc without publicly sharing the songs. Now none of us can access our dozens of private tracks anymore.

  15. What’s Missing:
    You can’t go directly to the people you follow or the people who follow you without a search.
    You can no longer create/or add songs to a playlist.
    COMMENTS!?!?
    Listening to your own sounds
    Sound cloud has taken out the reasons why I started using them.. Tell
    Me why I should stick around? Companies always fix what doesn’t need to be fixed. On to the next I guess..

  16. Sucks now wtf. Majority of trending artists are unlimited pro money pumpers. You’ll get absolutely no where unless you load on advertising. Soundcloud is not a place to share music anymore. Its loaded with follow bot pushers and spammers. Nobody “wants” to listen to your music, it is an absolute mess. Everybody is spamming, nobody is discovering. Its a total joke. Move on.

  17. NOT BEING ABLE TO COMMENT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE COMMENTING NOT TO JUST ENCOURAGE THE DJ, BUT TO TAG A PARTICULAR SONG IN A MIX. I LIKE THE NEW LAYOUT BUT REMOVING THE COMMENTS FEATURE ON MOBILE SUCKS!!!!

  18. My biggest problem Is I can’t edit or delete tracks ummm hello and what is with having a separate recording app this is not what I signed up for the worst part is I didn’t know until I tried recording music that the update was horrible I use sound cloud to reach a larger audience and as a writing tool I want my old app back

  19. Jailbreak and revert to version 2.72 best ever
    New version is s cash cow for the bastards there working on new ideas to get ads in bullshit man leave it as it was

  20. I am a listener of soundcloud and not musician. I also hate the new design. It is cool in visuals, but the funcionality is s*cks. I used to listen SC in car while driving, and i could tap on the next button. Now it is missing. Every time i tap on the next song the fullscreen shit thing blowing in. So makes REALLY HARD to change to the next song while driving.
    Am i the only one who uses SC as car-music center? I am so bored by the local radio stations, and SC where the perfect choice to bring the music i like into my car. Now they screwed up. I hate adverds, but i hate the new design more, so i will change to spotify. And pay for advert-free subscription.
    THANK YOU SOUNDCLOUD!

  21. I am so frustrated. This was the coolest source for finding and digging for new tunes.
    Now, I can’t even grab my iPad without pausing the song. That is just to start…hell, I can’t even search for music from musicians easily anymore.
    Everyone thinks that widgets and icons are the future…well, this is just plain stupid. I am getting so angry…I starting to listen to music with more BPMs then I even enjoy,

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