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The Next SoundCloud Becomes SoundCloud (soundcloud.com)
87 points by gulbrandr 1870 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

I love the new design and have been using the beta for ages - the only thing that irks is that it steals the spacebar key to play/pause rather than scroll page up/down.

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!

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

Another cool thing about ▶ and browser tabs happens when you open up Soundcloud in a tab and start playing, then open up another Soundcloud tab and hit play. The other tab stops!

It would be nice if browsers added '▶' themselves. Or even had "show me pages that play audio" feature. Are there browser makers planning to implement it?

I think this is impossible to do if the audio is being played via java/flash/etc as the plugin bypasses the browser completely. Here's a comment from the google chrome team from a while back: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/gdyun/iama_we_are_thre...

It should however be possible for webpages that use browser APIs to play audio (e.g. via HTML5).

I've often thought that it would be good if the (otherwise excellent) Chrome task manager included an indication of which tabs were currently generating sound.

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 love the new interface but the infinite scroll made me a bit nervous - I didn't expect my computer to be able to handle hundreds of multimedia canvas tags on the page at once. But I just scrolled through several months (200+ mixes) of the excellent Boiler Room mix archive - recommended to anyone who likes techno or other electronic music, btw: soundcloud.com/platform - and didn't notice any sluggishness or other problems.

(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.)

Actually, Mixcloud's UX is even better on the audio playing thing. They just change their favicon so it displays the play button instead of the regular cloud icon. It even has the progress bar! http://i.imgur.com/VyGVX.png

Ah ok, I didn't remember opting-in for the beta but I must have done it, because that's what SoundCloud looked like since a long time ago for me and I couldn't understand what were the changes in the design.

I've always loved SoundCloud.

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.

I am not sure what made them such a success (Soundcloud is awesome, I am just wondering). I think marketing and then prominent artists played a huge role. Soundcloud also seems to have a very open policy for mix-sets that use non-free music (legal "grey" area).

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

Not sure about traction/usage of either, but Bandcamp shows up over and over as the other big contender. ReverbNation sometimes, but ReverbNation is too much clutter for me.

scene.org also was a curated ftp for distribution of music (in addition to the demoscene) .. that was pretty cost effective if you were amongst the approved ones.

What I do not get about Soundcloud is why they make it impossible to browse the music if you are not a logged-in user. It makes me slap my forehead each time, almost as bad as Jamendo's perpetuum failuri.

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.

Soundcloud's strategy is that soundcloud.com should only be for music producers. Consumers are supposed to use other, discovery-specific sites which consume the soundcloud API. This stops the SC devs having to please two conflicting groups of users. I think it's extremely clever.

In that case they might benefit from prominently linking to some good discovery services.

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.

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.

Heh, it is the other way around for me. The art is often crude and generic and thus forgettable. I mostly listen to free music and I do not use a player where the cover art is prominently taking space so that might play huge roles. The random cover art on Soundcloud did not strike me as unique and rememberable.

i guess it comes down in-part to how you consume music as well. i will agree though that on soundcloud, where much of the music is unofficial releases and remixes, cover art is typically lacking in quality

Re the 404 error: It seems as if you get served the old website unless you've previously navigated to the front page -- and any URLs which didn't exist on the old website gives you 404.

To verify, open [1] in Incognito mode -- you should get the old website. Open [2] in Incognito mode -- you should get 404. Open [3] 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.

[1] https://soundcloud.com/penga-per/foppatoffla

[2] https://soundcloud.com/explore

[3] https://soundcloud.com/

I don't get why music sites feel cover art is so important. It is so generic and interchangeable

Uh, because I want to brand my offerings in a distinctive fashion?

I switched to the new design beta the other day and I think I've been visiting soundcloud as a destination about 10x more than before.

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

I love soundcloud, been using it for ages, HOWEVER, I am hating the redesign completely. I am coming from the perspective of being on it everyday for that past two years, and being happy with what it gives me as someone who stores music on it.

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!

This just borked Chrome in Ubuntu 12.04 on a desktop. I could see the memory increasing by 20MB a second in the mem util and the Chrome tab locked completely. This is with 8GB of ram...

They implemented keyboard shortcuts to switch between pages like your profile, the "Stream" and "Explore". That's a nice touch, but please don't use ALT+<0-9> for anything in your web application. These are universal combinations in Linux to switch between tabs. Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, and all Gnome and LXDE apps work this way.

A lot of new people might be wondering, "What's difference between SoundCloud and Pandora/Spotify?". SoundCloud focuses only on indie music. Tracks that get more comments, listens, get on the Hottest Track List. There are a ton of gems that aren't played on the radio that can be found on Sound Cloud. Now you can be a hipster too.

This is SO not what the old SoundCloud was about. I've been using this site, as a musician, since 2008 or so. One of its founders, Forss, was part of the same scene (dnb) that I was in.

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...

Disclaimer: Self Plug. I wrote an app on Android that allows you to set your and other people's ringtones from your phone via searching soundcloud CC0 music ( ie almost no-rights-reserved). I'm demoing it tonight at "techhub" for anybody reading this in London. Oh it's called TonePush btw.

How do I look at the most popular recent tracks like in the old version?

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.

I'm still seeing the old site after demoing the new and switching back as there's no user script to scrobble to Last.fm yet. Fingers crossed that sticks for a while, I like being able to track my listening habbits!

Why is Flash still a requirement?

If you have an account you can opt in a experimental HTML5 player in the settings [0]. I'm using it now for a while, works like a charm.

[0]: http://soundcloud.com/settings/extra

IIRC, Flash is not required, but provides a fallback for those browsers and devices that do not fully support HTML5 audio.

Trying to find out which browsers support what audio features I found this site: http://caniuse.com/audio

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

The playback problems with the JS decoder are due to bugs in some versions of Firefox for Linux. Those have been recently fixed (as of 19.02a as far as I can tell). See: https://github.com/ofmlabs/aurora.js/issues/13

According to hamoid's link my browser has had HTML5 Audio support for almost three years. Yet when I enable plugin on demand, soundcloud (old or new) doesn't work and I have to enable flash. That's Opera. Firefox doesn't work either as was already mentioned.

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.

There is no MP3 support in Opera.

Ah, that would make more sense, thanks for pointing that out. Although it's sad that "we" went for expensive Mp3 again when we had a chance to change it. And by "we" I mean chrome. Firefox held a strong stance for quite some time, but had to cave in eventually.

In addition to the HTML5 audio, there are many apps that consume the SoundCloud API. Once I find what I like, I play it with soundCLI [1], but there are many desktop and mobile apps that work outside of SoundCloud's website [2].

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.

[1] https://github.com/rekado/soundCLI

[2] http://soundcloud.com/apps/category/discover-listen

This is the worst redesign in history, Digg V4 in the making...

a simple music site : http://www.cloud-vibe.com

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