Also, a great bit of UX detail worth noting is that it prepends '▶' to the page title when audio is playing, so you can see which browser tab sound is coming from - something all multimedia pages should adopt!
totally agree. and, in general, love little details like this. it’s probably something that the vast majority of users wouldn’t notice (or really care about, if they did), and it certainly isn’t a make-or-break feature/differentiator for them, but it shows they know their product and are focused on improving it, rather than adding features or integrating with other shit just for the sake of doing so. nice work
It should however be possible for webpages that use browser APIs to play audio (e.g. via HTML5).
It's very annoying when an advert or a forgotten youtube embed suddenly starts making noises on a tab I'm not looking at and I end up hunting through several tabs and closing innocent unread tabs trying to stop the noise.
(I noticed the ▶ in the title bar a while ago and like it a lot. Mixcloud.com also does a nice thing where the favicon shows you how far through a mix you are and whether it's playing or paused.)
(I'd still probably prefer to view a user's mixes page by page, but I understand that I come from the pre-infinite-scroll generation and a good chunk of Soundcloud's target audience does not.)
I remember how it was difficult for people like me to upload their music on the web in order to share it. The only viable option was the MySpace music section (which required a different MySpace account). Even renowned artists used it. But the music player was just a single feature among the whole MySpace package, and the resulting experience for both the uploader and the viewer was unconvincing.
SoundCloud filled a need: upload your music easily, and doing just that. The uploading experience is fluid. The player is great, easy to share, with a nice sound quality.
This startup idea should have been obvious for some, but the real key was to implement a perfect UI for a great UX and SoundCloud achieved it for me.
Sites like http://be.electrobel.org/ , http://archive.org have been around much longer (I do not know how they worked 5 years ago and for some sharing music might ((have) require approval by mods). And of course more local ones like http://www.dogmazic.net/index.php?op=edito&choice_user_l... or http://www.myownmusic.de
Or am I just too dumb to find their "browse" or "search" pages? The link to /explore/ in the linked post just gives me an 404 error page.
edit: wait, what, now it works. I get a cover/graphic heavy browse page.
Hm, pretty much all the titles are cut off. I don't get why music sites feel cover art is so important. It is so generic and interchangeable. Some more tags/genres shown would be much more important to me.
edit2: On second thought, even that /explore/ page is nothing. I guess it changes daily or in realtime. You cannot see a bigger list of tracks for subgenres. You only get one song per subgenre. It is weird how clicking the cover image starts the song instead of taking me to the track page.
edit3: https://soundcloud.com/tags/metal is more like it. That page makes my netbook cry in agony though. Oh god, it has no pagination but infinite scrolling. My navigation keys (arrows, pageup/down, space) do not work.
maybe it’s a matter of preference and the way one handles information, but i've always found it extremely important. so important that i never add files into my library unless they're tagged with some form of cover art. being, i'd say, a very active consumer of music (i.e. one who very frequently acquires/adds new music into his collection, on a near-daily basis), i rely heavily on the ability to visually identify a track or album. for me, the absence of cover art would significantly cripple my capacity in discovering, managing, and consuming music (even within my own collection)..
for artists i'm most familiar with its less of an issue (though even then, if they’re active with releases and/or have a large volume of singles/loose tracks, identification by cover art is the quickest way for me to find a track or narrow-in on one within an album).
but for newly-discovered artists and/or recent releases (soundcloud’s primary focus) i find it absolutely crucial as i’ve found artist names and track/album titles to, in fact, be generic, interchangeable, and often forgettable -- at least until some degree of familiarity is formed. filtering by genre and release/acquisition date helps to some degree, but even then you’re left with a lot of names/titles to remember and associations to make; having the visual representation cover art provides makes this all much easier to manage, for me at least.
To verify, open  in Incognito mode -- you should get the old website. Open  in Incognito mode -- you should get 404. Open  in Incognito mode, then visit the previous links in the same session. You will get the new webiste.
Edit: It seems to split visitors on the cookie "enablev2=1", which is set on the front page.
Uh, because I want to brand my offerings in a distinctive fashion?
Its probably one of the most effective redesigns / UX overhauls I've seen in a while
Though I do think they missed an opportunity to put more persistent player controls in the top nav - play pause, next track, scrub etc are missing unless you visit a song. Kind of wish it worked a little more like Hype Machine in this regard
People can say UX this and UX that, I was more than comfortable with the previous incarnation, if ain't broke...
..just my 5 cents worth as a disenfranchised user!
..and so I will get used to it eventually!
SoundCloud was a site by music creators for music creators.
Those early days were AWESOME. Then venture capitalism entered the scene. It was a nice way to host your tracks and get some feedback of like-minded individuals. In the process you got to know new and relatively unknown music.
Now it slowly built up a massive base of passive listeners. And of course their founders and investors now smell the big all mighty dollar. It has to be social. And cool. And uber.
This redesign is hated by almost every paying customer (the musicians!) I know. The reactions on most music production forums are awful.
I pay for their service, if they don't change, I'll cancel my subscription.
I'm getting a distinct DIGG V4, MySpace vibe about this redesign...
EDIT: I guess it's now Explore > "Your genre". Not liking this UX. Before you could usually measure the quality of a track by the number of visible comments. With the new UI you can't do that.
It links to a sound file-format test, where I see Firefox plays only ogg and wav. That made me wonder if one could do mp3 decoding on the browser. It's possible: http://labs.official.fm/codecs/ but it sounds totally broken on Firefox on my Ubuntu.
So no Flashless SoundCloud on my Firefox yet, but it may soon change: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=799318
Every html5 audio test I've found worked just fine. Except for Apple's, because it, similary to soundcloud, sniffs user-agent to serve different version of a site.
Also, you can Chrome to Phone a SoundCloud URL from your desktop and if you have an Android app that reacts to those URLs it will offer to open it.