What is it and how does SoundCloud work

In the music streaming environment SoundCloud is undoubtedly one of the most original projects in the industry, in fact this platform allows emerging artists to improve their popularity. Within the application you can find lots of music tracks, podcasts, albums and customizable radio stations, with free access through the basic plan and premium subscriptions for users and artists who want more features. Let's find out how SoundCloud, one of the world's largest communities of music lovers, works.

SoundCloud: what is it

SoundCloud is an innovative platform dedicated to audiophiles, allowing you to listen to tracks from independent artists from around the world. At the same time, it is possible to upload one's own musical creations, to make them available to the community and gain popularity on the web. The project has revolutionized the world of music production, making available to emerging artists the possibility to share their music without going through traditional record labels.

In the application there are many useful tools, both for listeners and for those who want to promote their artistic work, with solutions that allow you to sponsor the music uploaded to SoundCloud, managing the activity even by yourself in a rather simple and accessible way. The operation is similar to that of a social network, with the possibility of inserting tags, links to external channels for the purchase of songs and albums, or tell your story to create a bond with users.

How to download the SoundCloud app

SoundCloud is available through the official app of the music sharing platform, downloadable free of charge on Google Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets, or on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch iOS. To date, the app boasts over 100 million downloads from the Google Play Store alone, thanks to the efforts of many artists who have supported the initiative, fostering collaboration to support young talent and independent artists.

The app is also accessible from smart TVs, just download the app on Android TV or check compatibility with your model of Samsung smart TV or other brands. Moreover, you can also use SoundCloud on your regular TV, you just need to use Google Chromecast or a similar device to connect your smartphone. Alternatively, the app is also supported by several gaming consoles such as the Xbox One, Sonos smart speakers and Amazon Echo, in fact, you can download special apps from the Amazon Appstore to add SoundCloud to the skills of the Alexa virtual assistant.

SoundCloud: cost and subscriptions

The basic SoundCloud service is free, so you don't have to pay anything to download the app, register and listen to the music offered within the community. After that, there is a paid subscription called SoundCloud Go, offered at 6 euros per month to get advanced features, such as ad removal and up to 120 million music tracks even in offline mode. Finally, you can choose the €9.99 per month plan, SoundCloud Go+, with over 200 million music tracks without ad interruptions, high quality audio and offline listening even without the preview.

SoundCloud also offers several options for artists, starting with the free entry level plan where up to 3 hours of music file uploads are offered, with a set of statistics to monitor the performance of the songs placed on the platform. The most comprehensive subscription for artists is SoundCloud Pro Unlimited, offered at €12 per month with annual billing, a plan that includes unlimited upload time, the ability to receive user fees, in-depth performance statistics and track replacement without the loss of comments, data and plays.

There is also SoundCloud Repost at 2.50 euros per month, an additional service with which you get dedicated promotional tools, an enhanced distribution system and premium services, to incentivize user contributions and support your music production business. The monetization system, in particular, is only available with SoundCloud Pro Unlimited, in which, among other things, there are also 3 free burns included, while with the free plan the cost for each burned track is 4.99 euros.

SoundCloud: how it works

The functioning of SoundCloud is quite simple, in fact you just have to register to the web platform, or download the app for Android or iOS and sign up for free. To activate an account you only need to enter your email address, choose a password and specify your age, or use your Google, Facebook or Apple ID account. Within the application you can view the SoundCloud charts such as the Top 50, with all the most played tracks of the week, or discover the latest news and trends.

SoundCloud also offers dedicated playlists through selections obtained from the community, soundtracks for sports training to be used during physical activity, including songs and music that help you relax, sleep or study. In the Library it is possible to find the list of favorite songs and artists, playlists created, albums with tracks that have been liked, radio stations, profiles of artists followed and the complete history. The entire section is customized according to your tastes and the music you listen to, in order to always have at your disposal suggestions and content in line with your personal preferences.

In the Stream part, instead, it is possible to know in real time everything that the artists followed publish on the platform, in order to be always updated on the latest works of independent artists and the tracks or albums uploaded on SoundCloud. Clicking on the bell, instead, you can check notifications from the community and the profiles followed, while through the three dots in the upper right corner you can open the profile settings, with all the sections of SoundCloud such as the official blog, the area for authors, subscriptions purchased and apps for mobile devices.

How to upload music to SoundCloud

With SoundCloud you can upload your music, to make it available to the community and make yourself known. To do this, from the main screen just use the Upload button, with the possibility of uploading files in different audio formats such as FLAC, WAV, ALAC, MP3, OGG, MP2, AAC, VMA, AMR or AIFF to ensure the best possible quality. The operation is really easy and fast, in fact you just have to drag the audio files in the section and upload them to the community, choosing whether to keep them private or make them public and accessible to all users. In order to take advantage of the promotion-specific features, it is necessary to activate the SoundCloud Pro Unlimited plan, with which you can unlock the remuneration through the fees of the platform members.

The maximum size is 5 GB, with a duration of the musical content not exceeding 6 hours and 45 minutes, otherwise it must be divided into several files. For streaming, SoundCloud encodes the tracks in MP3 format at 128 kbps, however, if you authorize the download, users can download the song or album and listen to it in the original format. With the free plan you can upload up to 180 minutes of music, with the Pro plan 360 minutes, while the Pro Unlimited subscription provides unlimited uploads. SoundCloud's system supports all major web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari.

When uploading the audio file, you can also add images up to 2 MB, in PNG or JPG format with a minimum resolution of 800 x 800 pixels, using SoundCloud's editor to edit the cover photo that will be visible for users. Moreover, you can also insert a title as you like and choose a URL, framing the music with a specific genre and some tags to increase the chances that it will be shown in searches, for example Rock #classicrock. Finally, you can enrich the uploaded audio file with a description of the track, pointing to useful information that can increase the engagement of community members.

How to download music from SoundCloud

In addition to being able to listen to music on different devices, with SoundCloud you can download your favorite songs by performing track downloads, as long as the authors allowed this operation when they uploaded the audio files. In order to download the file, you need to log in to the web platform, as you cannot download music from SoundCloud from mobile devices. From the web console you just need to click on the three dots of the song with the More heading and choose the Download file option, while on smartphones and tablets you can just save the tracks for offline listening, however you need to have a SoundCloud Go or Go+ premium account.

How to monetize music uploaded to SoundCloud

SoundCloud allows independent artists to monetize music uploaded to the platform, offering several tools for promoting tracks and receiving compensation from community users. In addition, it is possible to insert links to services that allow downloading music for a fee, so when users want a music track they can buy it through the link on SoundCloud. Obviously, in order to earn money it is essential to increase your visibility, so it is essential to invest in promotion and marketing.

First of all, the uploaded tracks must be taken care of in every detail, always inserting the right tags, catchy descriptions, a quality and attention-grabbing cover photo. Adding a purchase link is essential, to allow users to download the track by paying a small commission. At the same time, it is important to be very active on the platform, responding to people's comments and communicating with other artists, to take advantage of the visibility offered by SoundCloud to improve popularity outside of the app as well.