The Future of Online Audio? SoundCloud Hits 5 Million Users

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Guest Post by: Jon Stokes

Audio sharing site SoundCloud reached the milestone of five million users this week. This means that SoundCloud has gained two million members since February, showing a very impressive growth rate for the site.

We recently heard SoundCloud CEO and co-founder Alexander Ljung speak at a conference and he had some very insightful thoughts on the future of online audio. Alexander intends to “un-mute” the web and hopes for audio to overtake video in terms of impact. Some bold claims, but we can certainly hear where Alexander is coming from.

Here at FreshNetworks we think that SoundCloud is a very exciting platform that will only get bigger – here’s why:

Audio is simple and accessible to record

SoundCloud gives anyone with a microphone the ability to record direct to the web. This makes it extremely open for people to share their music, thoughts, jokes, baby noises etc. A broad range of apps offer simple recording at a computer, or on the move with a mobile, and the ability to upload audio files means that it has become very popular for musicians to share their original work, covers, remixes and more.

Sound consumption can be multi-tasked

Alexander proposed that it is possible for people to consume up to ten hours of sound media a day, opposed to four hours of video, at which point distraction sets in. There is certainly truth in this – this blog post was written while I consumed various sounds, from music, to birdsong and even to the electromagnetic waves of a camera. I could not have done the same with video, both for reasons of distraction and for the fact that it would also occupy space on my screen.

Audio can be more candid than video

The easy access to audio recording combined with the lack of visual information means that people can be more upfront and honest with their sharing of memories, thoughts and feelings. One really exciting area of SoundCloud is that it can store oral history- giving users the ability to preserve and share experiences in this way will provide historians of the future with a wealth of source material.

And the future?

At the moment SoundCloud’s content is very focused on music, due to the initial user base,  but there is a whole range of other of opportunities for individuals and organisations to use it as a tool for communication. Anything recordable is now easily shareable –  – comedy, radio shows, university lectures, debate panels and more are just the beginning…

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