Tag Archives: SoundCloud

SoundCloud is Losing Money

SoundCloud LogoWhen you think of SoundCloud, the thing that probably comes to mind first is music. In addition, there are quite a few podcasts that are hosted directly through SoundCloud. The 405 has reported that SoundCloud is losing money. What could this mean for the podcasters who have shows on SoundCloud – and nowhere else?

The 405 reports that “sources” and “insiders” are saying that SoundCloud is losing money. This isn’t just a dip in profits, either. It is a significant amount. Part of the problem appears to involve the big music labels. Sony and UMG have threatened to sue SoundCloud. WMG has reached some sort of deal with SoundCloud. In short, it seems that SoundCloud has been forced to spend money on lawyers.

One thing that could help SoundCloud is a subscription tier service. This is something that SoundCloud has previously announced. Cofounder and CTO of SoundCloud, Eric Wahlforss, confirmed that the subscription tier service would launch later in 2015.

So far, the cost involved with the subscription tier service has not been revealed. There is no way to know for certain if the subscription tier plan will be popular enough to improve SoundCloud’s financial situation.

What does this mean for podcasters who currently have their shows hosted on SoundCloud? If your podcast is only available on SoundCloud, now would be a good time to start migrating it over to somewhere else. Make a website for your show, post your episodes there, and connect with a good podcast hosting company. Doing so will prevent the problem of having all your podcast episodes disappear if SoundCloud ceases to exist.

SoundCloud Updates Stat Tracking for Podcasters

SoundCloud LogoI’m somewhat less skeptical than I used to be about SoundCloud as a reliable platform for podcasting. Now that the company’s years-long beta program for podcasting has finally matured into a real product, it looked like SoundCloud was headed in the right direction. Of course, maturation never comes without some growing pains. And it turns out some SoundCloud users may be affected by a recent change to the company’s stats system.

Yesterday, Michael Wolf, host of the NextMarket podcast and curator of the Technology.fm podcast directory, posted this tweet about an e-mail exchange he’d had with SoundCloud support:

Wolf sent the e-mail to SoundCloud asking why he was seeing a noticeable change in his stats. SoundCloud’s response states that the company had recently reconfigured its metrics because their system had been tracking downloads made thru RSS feeds in the same manner as plays thru embedded SoundCloud web players:

As part of our podcasting service coming out of beta, there have been some changes in how data will appear.

We’ve started tracking RSS downloads as their own unique, private metric to help you more clearly understand how your audience is engaging with your content.

Previously, RSS downloads and SoundCloud plays were tracked together under the same ‘plays’ metric. Now, podcasters can clearly see RSS download activity and the country, city and top app data associated with those downloads.

Since you were using SoundCloud to distribute your sounds via RSS before April 28th 2015, play counts may appear higher on older episodes and lower on newer episodes, but the difference in displayed play count is not due to any loss of listenership. Rather, the play count displayed publicly on newer tracks may appear lower because the public play count now only reflects SoundCloud plays and excludes RSS activity.

Before the change, SoundCloud players that displayed the total number of plays for a podcast episode were showing play counts based on web listens and RSS feed downloads together. Now, those players will only display numbers based on listens made thru SoundCloud players. Downloads that happen thru RSS feeds will be tracked separately and those numbers will be available only thru the SoundCloud dashboard.

It’s unclear as to why SoundCloud made this change. Overall, it seems like a smart move, as it’ll allow podcasters to have a better understanding of how listeners are engaging with their episodes. Still, this move could make some producers unhappy as those numbers publicly displayed on SoundCloud players will probably go down. The only solution SoundCloud offers is to simply turn off the public play count that’s shown on embedded media players.

Probably not the favored option for podcasters who felt a sense of pride over big numbers being shown on their public players. But in podcasting, as in life, change is inevitable. Over time, I think most producers will appreciate having these two types of separate statistics.

SoundCloud Podcasting Platform comes out of Beta

SoundCloud LogoThey say patience is a virtue. That platitude has definitely applied to all of those who’ve been waiting for SoundCloud to finally end its years-long beta program for podcasters. Well, the wait is over. As of this week, SoundCloud has opened its podcasting platform to anyone who’d like to use it.

At its core, the services provided by SoundCloud are the same as they’ve ever been. But it’s no longer required for podcasters to request an invite to the podcasting platform. Instead, anyone can sign up and begin using SoundCloud’s podcasting features right away. Users can begin with a free account that supplies three hours of audio playback time per month and limited SoundCloud stats and control options. Users can also buy into one of two SoundCloud Pro offerings. The first tier costs $6/month (or $55/year) for six hours of monthly upload time with access to some of SoundCloud’s extended stats and control tools. The second tier costs $15/month (or $135/year) and comes with the full complement of SoundCloud stats and control tools.

Based strictly on pricing, SoundCloud is definitely a solid competitor to most of the established companies in the podcast hosting space. SoundCloud even offers integration with third-party stat services like Podtrac and Blubrry so users can use those services to track most of their episode downloads and plays (due to limitations in the SoundCloud system, plays initiated on the SoundCloud website or SoundCloud’s embeddable player won’t be tracked by third-party stats systems).

With SoundCloud finally taking its podcasting service out of beta, I’m a little less skeptical about it than I used to be. And while I’m sure many podcasters will flock to the service, I still think it’s wise to approach SoundCloud with a little bit of caution. Remember that SoundCloud began as a service devoted to music and musicians, and SoundCloud is still facing challenges in terms of keeping the major record labels happy. The company is also operating on a late round of venture capital funding. Potentially increasing revenues from the podcasting platform could help SoundCloud gain some real financial stability. But the typical exit strategy for these types of companies is to get bought out by a bigger entity. Until SoundCloud truly becomes a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise, its future is still very much up in the air.

Ads Are Coming To SoundCloud. And To Your Podcast?

SoundCloud LogoSoundCloud, the popular audio hosting/sharing platform, will soon be introducing in-stream ads into its media players. The service, which initially catered to musicians has since branched out into podcasting. And while SoundCloud’s podcasting program is in its third year of an invite-only beta program, many podcasters use SoundCloud for media hosting.

This begs the inevitable question: What will this new ad system mean for podcasters who host their shows with SoundCloud? At this time, it’s not entirely clear. All of the information that’s been made public so far only refers to the music side of SoundCloud’s services. Specifically that, along with the ad system, SoundCloud will also roll out a new premium service so subscribers can pay to skip the ads, similar to other music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

Continue reading Ads Are Coming To SoundCloud. And To Your Podcast?

SoundCloud Considering Giving Equity To Music Labels

SoundCloud LogoAudio-sharing platform SoundCloud is reportedly in talks with major music labels that could lead to the labels gaining equity in the service. SoundCloud is likely making this move to avoid copyright lawsuits on behalf of the music labels. In recent months, big music labels like Universal have been sending an increasing amount of takedown requests to SoundCloud users that had uploaded unlicensed songs (or songs with unlicensed samples) to the site. It looks like SoundCloud may be making this deal instead of dealing with potentially costly legal entanglements.

Since its inception, SoundCloud has been popular with music makers. The service also has a growing number of podcasters using its beta program for media hosting. If this equity-sharing deal goes thru, it’s hard to say how this will impact podcasters who distribute thru SoundCloud. But if you’re considering making SoundCloud your primary media host, you may want to hold off until this deal is worked out (if not until the media-hosting program actually comes out of its three-year long beta).

Continue reading SoundCloud Considering Giving Equity To Music Labels

SoundCloud For Podcasting: A Skeptic’s Point Of View

SoundCloud LogoIf you want to publish a podcast, media hosting is a big deal. You need a reliable place to store your audio/video files. And preferably, that storage system won’t cause you go to go broke due to high bandwidth costs. Over the years, a number of companies have moved into this field but most of them haven’t stuck around. Spend any amount of time in a public forum devoted to podcasting, and the question of, “Which media host should I use?” will come up. And a flurry of responses will follow. Perennial favorites in the media hosting game like LibSyn and Blubrry come up often during these discussions. But another company seems to be entering the conversation more and more as of late: SoundCloud.

SoundCloud was first conceived by its founders as an online collaboration tool for musicians. It eventually morphed into an upload-and-share service for audio. Thanks to its ease of use and social sharing features, the service took off with musicians. Its growing popularity caused some to dub it “the YouTube of audio.” Soon, podcasters began asking SoundCloud how they too could take advantage of the service. SoundCloud’s base offerings aren’t really good for podcasters, as they’re really designed for musicians. In response, SoundCloud created a program for podcasters which has never officially left the beta phase of development.

Continue reading SoundCloud For Podcasting: A Skeptic’s Point Of View