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Seems like SoundCloud is so widespread these days that its getting hard to imagine a time when it never existed.  Ian Hooper from their Business Development team was kind enough to answer some questions I had about their music sharing platform and the benefits it offers musicians, producers and developers…

How did SoundCloud get started?

It was back in the summer of 2007 when the two founders, Alex and Eric, started working full-time on their new project here in Berlin. They both come from music backgrounds and found it surprisingly difficult for audio creators to share tracks with fans and collaborators — so they set out to solve that problem. In the same way that they’d be using Flickr for photos, and Vimeo for videos, they sought to create that platform for music.

What do you feel differentiates you from other online audio distribution services such as Myspace and Reverbnation?

Our focus is to build a platform for letting audio creators share their tracks. We provide the tools for putting audio creations on any blog, website, Facebook, etc. So instead of taking the listeners to SoundCloud, we bring the sounds to the listeners. SoundCloud is also a great community for the people making music.

Another important aspect is that we have a public API that lets third-party services connect to the platform. This means we can stay focused on what we do best and let others build additional features on top of our platform.

How would you pitch the service to artists and producers looking to collaborate via the web?

I think the possibility to easily send any audio file to one or more people, as well as having features for commenting on the tracks, is the foundation for collaboration. The next step is to connect the music software to the cloud so that the file sharing and conversations can happen seamlessly within the apps.

The idea behind sharing your music is to get input on what you create, which will hopefully help you make better music. Sharing also grants musicians exposure and, between feedback and exposure, I really believe a lot of value is created for the music-maker. So if you like making music, join the cloud and it will be even more fun!

SoundCloud offering an open API to developers has led to some interesting tools being developed – which are your favorites?

We’re really excited to have more and more music creation apps connected to the cloud. As an example, look at iPad apps like Looptastic and Beatwave. These apps are indicators of how music creation is currently evolving — more people creating audio with new types of apps on new platforms.

In addition to the apps that bring music to the cloud, the ones that help people to get their tracks out to the world are equally essential. For example, Flavors.me and RootMusic let you create your own customized and great looking website and Facebook page, respectively. With MobileRoadie anyone can create their own iPhone or Android app, and The Hype Machine integration adds tremendous value for music bloggers. So regardless of where your music is heard, all your tracks remain under one roof at SoundCloud.

Some record companies have started using SoundCloud to collect demo’s – what advice do you have for artists looking to submit tracks via this method?

I hope the submission process is easy enough so that artists will have more time to make their tracks interesting for labels. Apart from that, let’s just hope the labels take the best tracks 🙂

How might SoundCloud evolve over the next few years and what features do you have planned?

As I touched on before, our goal is to keep a tight focus and constantly improve upon music sharing. Just expect a bigger and better SoundCloud. We’re also really looking forward to the new cool and useful integrations people will build with our API.

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