The rise of SoundCloud

With new artists popping up every day, the free online audio sharing company SoundCloud has quickly become one of the top ways to stream innovative music. SoundCloud is its own form of social media. Users can sign up through Facebook, and then follow what their friends repost and like, and listen to the playlists they create. Users can also publicly upload their own tracks for free. Recently, SoundCloud introduced a new program called SoundCloud Go, which costs $9.99 per month and allows users to have access to additional songs and podcasts. SoundCloud Go also gives users the ability to listen offline and without ads. Griffin Bianchi (‘16) likes SoundCloud because “it is free and it is an awesome way for people to get their music out there and to be exposed to new things.” At Urban, over one-third of the 60 students surveyed said they use SoundCloud as one of their primary platforms for listening to music. Not only do students use it to discover new music, but some students create and upload their own sounds and tracks as well.

Devon Karpf (‘18), whose profile name is Underscores, had 2,699 followers and over the past year has posted 28 unique electronic tracks as of June 1, 2016. His original music varies from 15 seconds to eight minutes in length. Karpf said he spends at least one hour a day listening to music and finding new sounds. Karpf particularly likes SoundCloud because “it is a great way to share music and discover sounds.” Karpf said he makes the music because “it is fun, but it is also really gratifying to see how many people listened.” Karpf admits that he feels disappointed when a song he posts does not get a significant amount of likes or reposts. One time, Karpf was walking through Japan and “got this idea in [his] head and had to sing it in [his] head the whole way back” so he would not forget it.  Currently, Karpf’s music making is a hobby, but he hopes to continue working with music professionally in the future. Karpf “can’t imagine not doing anything musical in his life.”

Not only has SoundCloud created a space for people like Karpf to post their original sounds, but it has also created a platform for aspiring artists, like rappers and singers to share their voices and lyrics. This year, two Urban students, Quinn Lockwood (‘18) and Yossi Altman-Bukowski (‘18) began posting their own rap songs that they wrote and recorded. Lockwood and Altman-Bukowski, known on Soundcloud as Cutty Q and Aesop Yoss discovered their passion and have since posted 14 tracks on SoundCloud. Lockwood said he taught himself how to put the music together on GarageBand and then uses SoundCloud to post the songs. Once the two began writing lyrics and recording, they found themselves working on it every day for three to four months. Although Altman-Bukowski and Lockwood enjoy “making mixtapes” they said ultimately they do it because it’s “just fun, not for reposts or likes.”

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SoundCloud has established itself as a platform for artists and listeners to find new music that they would not find on other popular sites like Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, iTunes, Tidal, and Youtube. It is a unique and free website for people like Karpf, Altman-Bukowski, and Lockwood to share their hobbies and passions. For the listeners, it is a place of discovery.