Soundcloud: collaboration 2.0

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Tomorrow, the music sharing platform for music industry professionals, in beta since one year (accounts were only available by personal invite), goes public.
The Berlin-based company offers an interesting service for all those who would like something better than your average yousendit/ftp/etc. way of of transferring large music files (oh, I forgot, there’s still people who send out physical cds or dvds!). Think of a powerful file exchange service, mixed with a social networks’ kind of approach, and you can start getting the idea behind Soundcloud.

It’s a (visually appealing) web based service, which allows users to upload their files in any format and then manage them from “the cloud” (ok, you’ll need to see this, it’s way easier than trying to explain).
Among the unique features of Soundcloud, it lets users comment specific parts of the file (like, “hey this refrain needs more of your fu**in ring-modulated guitar”, and things like that), and listen (and give feedback) to incoming tracks without downloading. User can also put a dropbox widget on their website, to let other people send their tracks. They can also bookmark or “follow” other artists’ pages, and automatically be notified when they upload some new files.

Of course tracks can be private or shared, depending on users’ needs. That means you can keep on working on your secrete masterpiece without risk.
During the beta period the service has also been used by labels like Compost, BPitch and artists like Goldie and it seems the feedbacks are very positive.
We haven’t got golden teeth but we’ve been able to test the service in the last month (even just for short tracks, nothing serious), and we can say…yes, Soundcloud delivers! The interface is very user-friendly and there’s no learning curve, you can start using it in a couple of minutes. It’s refreshing, you don’t need to host anything, it’s fast and it works as expected. No issues so far, just a small request: a progress bar during the upload would be useful, especially for less tech savy people.

What about prices? Well, tomorrow we’ll know better, but Soundcloud is going to offer PRO accounts for purchase right after launch. There will be three levels of accounts: PRO Light, PRO Standard and PRO Max. There will still be a free account but it will have limited features.
Let’s hope they’ll keep their services affordable, and not just for über pro-people.
Updated news: there are three Pro accounts (PRO Light, PRO Standard and PRO Max), priced at 9/29/59 euro per month. All of them include a 30-day free trial and no limits on filesizes. The biggest difference? The number of tracks: 15/50/unlimited tracks per Month. Also, the Standard and Max accounts include full stats and, respectively, normal or priority tech support.

We’ll keep an eye on Soundcloud in the next days/weeks, so stay tuned.
And…if you like to party and if you’re in Berlin, there’s an opening party tomorrow. Have fun!

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