Popular music streaming and content distribution site SoundCloud has updated its apps for iOS and Android, boasting a number of new features for listeners.
Unfortunately, however, the app removes a number of features for content creators, the most important of these being the ability to record music and upload it straight to the SoundCloud database.
SoundCloud has been quickly growing over the past few years. What started as simply a way for musicians and people in the music industry to distribute and share their music with other musicians is now both a site for musicians to share music and for listeners to listen to music.
SoundCloud has even made deals with major record labels, suggesting that the company will enter the mainstream streaming business in the near future.
The moves show an overall shift away from the musician and toward the listener.
Being able to record music directly from the users iPhone or iPad is a feature that may not have been used as much as other features. However, it's still an important one for independent musicians who don't have access to recording equipment.
Now, you might be thinking that the user could still record a song as an audio recording then upload it afterward. Unfortunately, users now can't even upload music in the app. This is the final nail in the coffin for musicians on mobile.
Thankfully, users can still upload music through the desktop version of the website, showing that the service is still willing to accommodate independent musicians. In fact, SoundCloud allows users to upload music directly to the service without having to go through a distribution company.
SoundCloud is likely to stick with this. While the service is certainly trying to better accommodate listeners, the move was inevitable. As long as the service continues to allow users to upload their music in some way or another, it is likely to continue to appeal to indie musicians.
The new features for listeners are great. The user interface is given quite a radical upgrade, making it look much better and more in line with other iOS apps.
The new app also offers improved content discovery options as well as the ability for users to create new playlists and Collections. Users also do not need to have an account with SoundCloud to be able to listen to music. Not only that, but the simplistic and beautiful new design is very easy to use.
Is SoundCloud changing? Yes, of course, but this was always going to happen. SoundCloud needs to make sure that it continues offering services for independent musicians, while catering to the growing listener base. So far, it seems as if it's going about this quite well.