SoundCloud shifting from music to….well just Sound

5 10 2011

Is SoundCloud jumping the shark?  It should be no secret to anyone that SoundCloud is a great music utility for people around the world looking to upload and share their personal music creations.  But after sitting through a presentation to some techies yesterday about SoundCloud’s new features, and general mission, I started to wonder if SoundCloud is moving away from its core music roots, and more towards the money.  And if so, what does that mean for the user?

As noted in their product release sometime in late December 2010, covered here by TechCrunch, SoundCloud added a record button, in the effort to give people the opportunity to record more sounds.  Well “sound” as it was interpreted, includes alot more than music.  They spoke of newscasts, personal audio notes, and basically any type of sound that can be recorded.  “Uh Oh” I thought, quickly making the assumption that moving in this direction opens SoundCloud to alot more users, especially non-core music creators.  Then I did a little digging and saw that in Jan 2011, SoundCloud raised $10MM in Series B Venture Funding to ramp up its user base, as reported by AllThingsD here.  Now being a technologist myself, I fully understand what this means.  It means “Hey SoundCloud, it’s time to make some money,” and there are 2 general strategies to actually make (non-advertising based) money online.  1) Get more money from your existing users.  2) Get alot more users.

So if SoundCloud has $10MM in the bank, the question is what are they going to do with it.  Will they use it to build out more awesome functionality geared for the music creator, or will they use it to approach a new audience.  If the answer is the latter, then what will the existing music community think of these new members?  Will they like mingling with this new audience?  Will it dilute the awesomeness of the original SoundCloud?  Will this original community be forced to move on to the next platform?  It’s too early to tell, but I sure am wondering.

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