So let’s be real here… SoundCloud isn’t on anyone’s good side right now. From allying themselves with the major labels, to giving Universal carte blanche, to pissing off Kaskade, it has been a tumultuous month for the music sharing site. In such troubling times, it’s good to know about a few alternatives in case you need to hurriedly jump ship. The fine writers over at Dj Tech Tools compiled a list of 6 good alternatives to Soundcloud. Some you’ve probably heard of, others maybe not.
My personal favorite on the list is Bandcamp. Only thing is, it serves an entirely different purpose from SoundCloud. It is less a music discovery engine than a “music hosting and selling” platform. Bandcamp allows you to upload in the highest possible quality and let your customer choose their preferred format, which is a huge selling point if your fans are audiophiles who only listen to FLAC.
Another great site is Mixcloud, which has been around for a while. However, again, it serves a much different purpose than SoundCloud. As the name would suggest, it is geared much more heavily toward mixes. It apparently “pays license fees in the style of a radio station so that your mixes will not be pulled down,” which is fantastic and a huge step above SoundCloud. But as you would expect, there are some downsides to the site, as well. Low bitrate streaming and the inability to go back to a certain point in a mix make it a little troublesome for users.
Sites I haven’t heard of such as HEARTHIS.AT or BLEND.IO are good in their own ways, as well. I would recommend everyone to go take a look at the full list over at Dj Tech Tools and try them all out. Now, if you are still loyal and stuck to that SoundCloud feel, here’s something different for you.
SpotlightEDM uses SoundCloud to aggregate all of the tracks and then uses its own user interface to show them back to you in what I think is a much more friendly format. It is still in its infancy, so there could definitely be some improvements, but creator Wes Bredin is on to something. “Once I reached the production stage, it became clear to me [SoundCloud] just wasn’t useful for a new artist,” he says. “Spamming my friends and record labels for input/recognition, starting a YouTube [channel], submitting demos, etc… and it always seemed like such an uphill battle.”
SpotlightEDM acts as a filter for all of SoundCloud, making certain features like free downloads, mixes, or even label support easy to identify. Although, when I first visited the site, I was a little confused as to how to get around, so I asked Bredin for a brief summary.
– The vertical black bar on the left houses all of the genres and filters. The filers are cumulative in the sense that you can activate more and more to refine your search criteria. Example: you want the best unsigned electro house. So you click the electro house genre, sort by best tracks, click self produced, click download, and boom, there’s your selections. For labels who have to wade through mounds of demo tracks each day to find that needle in the haystack, this helps them out a ton…
– Add audio is the second most important feature. Once you login (which you can do with Facebook in about 2 seconds), you can link any song or mix from SC using just the URL. We have a bot that sweeps in the rest of the info (track/artist/artwork) for you. You also have the opportunity to say whether the audio is self produced, a mix or a track, downloadable, and signed or unsigned. These 4 markers populate our system on the back end and are used for the advanced filters.
– User page. If you hover over any track, it will show you who linked up the song, how many plays it has, and what the upvote/downvote percentage is. If you click on the username, it will take you to their page. There you can find the users social media links, bio, pic, home town, etc. Just general info. You can also then activate the filters and search through the list of songs they have supplied. Filters all work the same way, just limited to the work they have supplied.
– Sharing a song. You can click the share icon (which lives right next to add audio) and copy/paste the link provided to any social media site. When clicked, a window will open and that song will automatically start playing.
– Plays. Every time a song is played via Spotlightedm, the play will carry over onto the SC play tally. In this way, when people share tracks from the site with the intent of getting more plays/recognition, they will see it manifest on their SC.
So there you have it. I would recommend giving SpotlightEDM a try. Once you get over the very small learning hump, it makes finding tracks a breeze. And again, go to Dj Tech Tools for the whole list of SoundCloud alternates.