Soundcloud dying?

Discussion in 'Drum & Bass' started by alz, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. alz

    alz compress to impress

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    source: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/sharp-darts-soundcloud-copyright/Content?oid=3351152


    MySpace has long since yielded its position as America's dominant social-networking service to Facebook, but well after civilians stopped using it to stalk high school crushes, MySpace remained the preferred platform through which musicians provided free streams and downloads. Recently, though, MySpace has been shedding musicians in droves—and not just because it's infested with spambots, its audio player is creaky and crash prone, and a late 2010 redesign made its profile pages load even slower. Just as Facebook has lured away the general public by offering a cleaner, more efficient, and less sketchy experience, Bandcamp and SoundCloud have lured away musicians.

    SoundCloud is one of the most promising sites stealing MySpace's music market share. Founded in Berlin in 2007, it improves on MySpace's music service for both artists and fans. Its player runs smoothly and predictably, usually with little or no lag, and gives users the option to make any song downloadable for free—a feature MySpace discontinued years ago. SoundCloud displays a waveform for each track, and allows listeners to tag specific points on it—the transition to the bridge, say, or a DJ's segue between songs—with comments. The service is free for nonpremium users, who can keep up to two hours of material on their accounts.

    Compared to MySpace, SoundCloud has a simple, transparent architecture—it's much easier to embed SoundCloud-supported songs on blogs and other social-networking services, and visitors are much more likely to be able to play them there. Programmers can easily incorporate SoundCloud's underlying code too: to name a few, the NanoStudio app lets users send recordings directly to their SoundCloud pages, the TuneCore app syncs with users' SoundCloud libraries to simplify digital distribution and sales, and the Hype Machine app tracks how many plays users' SoundCloud songs get via the popular music-blog aggregator. SoundCloud also has a no-frills social-networking aspect—aside from commenting on tracks, users can favorite songs, follow one another, send direct messages, and more.

    SoundCloud conspicuously advocates for Creative Commons licensing, a progressive alternative to traditional copyright, by foregrounding it on its home page and pitching it to users as part of the sign-up process. And until recently the site has seemed to take a hands-off approach to the content it hosts, perhaps because it hasn't become a popular channel for pirates—SoundCloud assigns a separate player widget to each track, so people looking to share entire albums tend to prefer sites like RapidShare and Mediafire, which make such an operation considerably simpler and more anonymous. SoundCloud's apparent laissez-faire attitude, along with its affordable ways to share hour-plus tracks, has made it especially popular with DJs, who have so far been its most numerous and vocal users.

    "I know DJs who play sets now completely comprised of stuff they find on SoundCloud because it's so underground," says DJ and Fool's Gold label cofounder Nick Catchdubs. "Like you'll find remixes that you've never heard before. You'll find artists that you've never heard before, before they even get to the point of being blogged or being Hype Machined."

    But DJ dominance of SoundCloud may be coming to an end, for two reasons. First, in the past several months the site has taken off with artists working outside of dance music and hip-hop. SoundCloud broke the million-user mark in May 2010 and now claims more than two million; a SoundCloud link has become as de rigueur in rock bands' promo e-mails as a MySpace link once was. Second, and likely related to the site's rapid growth, SoundCloud recently started policing uploaded audio files for copyrighted material not owned by the uploader.

    In December I started seeing complaints on Twitter and Facebook from DJs and producers using SoundCloud: they said that some of their work, specifically DJ mixes and remixes incorporating copyrighted material, were disappearing from the site, and that they were getting apparently automated messages from SoundCloud saying they'd violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a 1998 federal law governing intellectual property on the Internet. Most of the messages I heard about identified the rights holder as Universal Music Group.

    According to Audible Magic, a Bay Area company whose website describes its business as "monetizing, protecting, measuring, and verifying content," SoundCloud began using a customized version of its software on November 1. Audible Magic maintains a database of copyrighted music and video on behalf of rights holders and offers services to social networks, ISPs, music-hosting sites, and other organizations to help them stay on the right side of the DMCA. Audible Magic CEO Vance Ikezoye says, "It's all determined by the copyright holder, how they want to set their business rules. We have a lot of artists who view, for example, peer-to-peer as being a promotional mechanism for them. So they might register their content with us because they want people to get access to it, and we register it with the business rule of 'allow for use anywhere.'"

    Ikezoye portrays Audible Magic as basically agnostic about copyright—the company sees itself as a way to sort things out, whether that means straight-up busting pirates or just making sure bloggers don't get hassled for sharing tracks an artist has given away. Audible Magic's products identify audio tracks using a sonic fingerprint, similar to the way familiar consumer apps like Shazam and SoundHound work; like those apps it can ID songs from short samples, like the excerpts that commonly appear in DJ sets. (Audible Magic allows rights holders to clear their material for uses like remixing.) DJs are upset that SoundCloud's implementation of this service zaps entire hour-long mixes, even if they contain just a small segment of a single copyrighted track. Many view such mixes as transformative of their source material and thus protected under fair use. They feel betrayed by SoundCloud, given that DJs were the early adopters that helped the site reach critical mass.

    "I never saw SoundCloud as a place to, you know, host somebody else's MP3s," says Wayne Marshall, a DJ, ethnomusicologist, and postdoctoral fellow at MIT who blogs at wayneandwax.com. "Everything that I came across there was transformed in some way, whether as a remix or in the context of a mix or what have you. So it seemed to me like they were doing a good job keeping it from becoming another Imeem, which ultimately got so hobbled with really flagrant file sharing that it just couldn't pay the bills. So I think that a lot of people were surprised that SoundCloud had kind of courted that community and then at the very moment that the service was taking off, you know, with a sort of broader audience, that it kind of turns around and goes back on what seems like had been the policy before that."

    SoundCloud's decision to use Audible Magic points to a larger question: How big can a music-hosting service get while still supporting DJs and remixers? Is it possible for a site large enough to show up on the radar of the major labels to avoid accepting the majors' strict-constructionist views of copyright?

    "Deejaying is essentially playing other people's music," says Catchdubs. "Most people kind of realize that it's 2011 and we know what the deal is with a DJ mix, especially when you're not putting it up for sale. You know, I think there is a bit of a disconnect between the socially accepted uses of copyright and sort of what is legally down there on paper and, you know, the decision-making process of major-label legal departments and the RIAA and shit like that."

    Marshall says YouTube provides a clear precedent of a site getting big enough to provoke a copyright crackdown. He also points out that such crackdowns tend to interfere with the promotional power of user-generated content. "'You're a Jerk' by the New Boyz became a huge hit because hundreds of people uploaded videos of themselves dancing to it," he says. "But then as soon as they got signed and that song enters the official database, then all the videos get flagged and get muted or audio-swapped or taken down or whatever."

    SoundCloud representatives declined to answer my questions for this column, instead directing me to a page on the SoundCloud blog that addresses the site's new "content identification system." That page points out that the system will allow users who upload content to SoundCloud to find out if their work is being distributed without permission by other users; it also reassures users that there's a "simple dispute process" to resolve cases where content is flagged in error. But the words "fair use" don't appear, except in an aggrieved comment left a month ago.

    SoundCloud is at a crossroads here. Right now its practices appear to defer to rights holders, allowing labels and publishing companies to determine almost unilaterally what counts as infringement—a stance that puts an undue burden on uploaders whose employment of copyrighted material might meet the criteria for fair use. Were SoundCloud to take the nobler and more difficult path, it would devise a policy that could differentiate between DJs and remixers on one hand and pirates on the other. Of course, it's easier and cheaper for SoundCloud to just keep serving DMCA notices to its most passionate users—though taking that route could drive off enough of them to make it very expensive indeed.

    "If it becomes too annoying," Marshall says, "people are going to pick up and move to the next thing. That's what I've been observing in all of these things. Either the platform completely disappears, or something easier with less hassle pops up."
     
  2. kenyon

    kenyon @ The Crack Spot

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    good read i have found myself going on it less and less off recent aswell
     
  3. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    interesting read, but how does any of that mean soundcloud is dying? what it does mean, imo, is that labels are loosing touch with reality, and are trying to force Capitalist ideals on a group of people (ie Artists) who generally more interested in music than money, stupid, but definitly not the death of soundcloud, the death of labels on the other hand...
     
  4. SHENT

    SHENT Member

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    i had the poblem tying to upload my new mix, i used chase and status "no problem" and it wouldnt upload..

    Your upload "Feb demo 2011" may include content that is owned or licensed by Digital Distribution Turkey / Universal Music "No Problem" (Chase & Status) and has been made inaccessible on SoundCloud by request of the rightsholder.

    If you are certain that you have all necessary permissions from the rightsholder to upload and share this content, you can submit a claim here:

    Thanks,

    The SoundCloud team



    i just called it a cunt a few times and gave up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  5. $marty

    $marty Dexcell Staff Member

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    From a DJ perspective maybe, but from a producers, it's a bloody handy site to use. I think we are on nearly 1600 followers on ours now, and this is increasing by the day
     
  6. ThePapa

    ThePapa Suffragette City..

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    Dont you need some kind of performer's license to post sets on there? Even if you use all vinyl?
     
  7. Moskit

    Moskit :rodigan: Staff Member

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    I've seen posts from label owners of various genres of electonic music online saying that they would never sign a track that was on Soundcloud...

    Seems very narrow minded to me, although I do understand the logic behind the descion, but I imagine this alone is enough to deter people from putting stuff up on there.
     
  8. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    they are part of the dying breed of labels that dont want to accept the fact that the music industry has changed forever, imo, problem is, they are all chasing that Number 1 slot, the odds of getting there are miniscule, so they try every trick they can to ensure it, even bigger problem, these labels aint run by Simon Cowell, so there odds are cut even further

    fuk all that bollox anyways
     
  9. ThePapa

    ThePapa Suffragette City..

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    It says on their site that the person reporting alleged copyright infringement must provide proof that they own the material or that they're allowed to act on the owner's behalf. Doesnt look like tracks have to be reported when it's Sony.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  10. MistaNoize

    MistaNoize Mistanoize.com

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    soundcloud is great
     
  11. ThePapa

    ThePapa Suffragette City..

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  12. J-Rex

    J-Rex soundcloud.com/j-rex

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    its definitely not the death of soundcloud, although they will be losing users because of it,
    all seems so stupid because artists gain promotion from their tunes being in dj mixes and since its mixed its not like people can rip it and pirate it

    it also appears that people are having mixes taken down when neither the artist or label has asked for mixes with their tunes in to be taken down, and in some cases the software they are using for this is recognising tunes that aren't what it thinks it is and taking down mixes when they shouldn't be, so this is gonna piss people off even more

    even so not every soundcloud user is using it for the purpose of dj mixes, what about all the artists out there, there isn't any reason for them to stop using soundcloud, so no not the death of soundcloud
     
  13. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    how do they ban it cos of a track??
    is this if you right a tracklist an it recognises the name or does it actually recognise the tune fro m its audio??
     
  14. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    heard of Shazam? the software that can tell you the name of any track playing in seconds, they out-source their technology, although its not that complicated anyways, doesnt matter if you write the tracklisting or not. One way round it, would be to double drop every single track, and do very long mixes, that *might* fool the software
     
  15. J-Rex

    J-Rex soundcloud.com/j-rex

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    no they have some software which can recognise tracks from short sections, so it flags up tracks in mixes, though it would seem its not that accurate all the time
     
  16. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    i doubt theyd be able to recognise most of the tunes ive got in my box!haha
    partly cos i dont even no wat there called!
     
  17. HARVEST

    HARVEST Member

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    i had a clip of Andy c playing militant up on mine, they emailed me saying i dont have the rights to the audio, so i emailed them back saying, at what point did i loose the rights to my music, when i gave a copy to Andy c, when he played it at a live event, or when the event recorded the set and sold it? My track went straight back up.
     
  18. Mish Mash

    Mish Mash Well-Known Member

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    I've only just upgraded to the 12 hour account which cost about £100!!! so if they start taking down any of my mixes now...:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
     
  19. TongueFlap

    TongueFlap Flappin'

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    I use soundcloud a lot. Would be lost with out it.
     
  20. vapour 36 hertz

    vapour 36 hertz www.36hertz.com

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    soundcloud died when it became over run with up and coming producers sharing 2 min clips of unfinished tunes to 3000+ people every 5 mins

    i only use it to save hosting fee's for audio on my website now

    oh and the security is shit my account got hacked by some 12 yr old doing a brute force password hack last week