To Soundcloud or not to Soundcloud?

I’ve recently been wondering whether Soundcloud is the right platform to post my music. Without a payed account, listening audio quality is really bad. I assume the majority of people listening there don’t have a payed subscription, so don’t hear it at a reasonable quality level.

At the moment I’m using Soundcloud to post tracks I’m working on to get feedback, to put out online demo’s, and publish live gig recordings. I will soon have tracks released on a label, digital and vinyl, and might want to self-release stuff in the feature, and definitely want to build out my professional musicianship.

I find it problematic that many people can’t hear it in decent quality (though i don’t necessarily require audiophile quality). I am absolutely not against paying for the service though. I have a payed Vimeo account. Now if Soundcloud gave me the option for a payed subscription that includes good quality streaming to any listener I’d likely go for that. But there is not that option.

Bandcamp sounds a little better at 128kb/s MP3, but that’s really at the low limit too (unless you’ve bought the music, then it’s higher). But in my view Bandcamp is really for releasing and selling music, not for work-in-progresses, live recordings etc.

What do you think about this? Do you use other services?

Does Soundcloud’s large(?) user base weigh up against the low quality?

(I’m absolutely not going Youtube/Instagram…)

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Hello, I’m not professional so my point of view will certainly no matter very much.

I use soundcloud to share my tracks. I use free account and on my modest setup I didn’t hear so much loss of quality. Lot of people listen music on inaccurate speakers or headphone and wont notice a bad quality. Unless you don’t upload a 360p youtube video I think the quality of streaming is ok for every platform. If you track is dope, people will listen it.

But, when you have to sell your music, you have to give the best quality you can. So yeah bandcamp should be ok if you can sell FLAC files.

So, I think you should use your favorite community / interface / functionality platform to share your track to people discover your work (don’t be scared about quality stream) and then use a premium account or something where people can buy FLAC or WAV for the real costumer.


You’ve already got soundcloud, so keep using it. It does the job.

Sound quality is irrelevant given that your average listener uses lower than average quality speaker systems .

The actual customers that want to buy your music will either look you up on bandcamp and buy wavs or flacs, or one of the other download platforms.

People not doing the above are asking google to play music at them through truly horrible little speakers, and that music most likely is streamed from spotify.

People not doing that are buying vinyl, from shops. Lucky beggars.


I dunno I still use soundcloud but I definitely have no plans to get a pro membership, to many bots and other problems with the service for me to feel ok feeding them a membership fee. I’m fine having my stuff rotate out, feels like so few people actually listen there. Really it just feels like I have one because people are used to sharing private tracks that way. Bandcamp also let’s you share unreleased or unlisted stuff if you feel like dropping soundcloud. I can’t help but feel soundcloud has attempted to monetize poorly and without major restructurings they are on the way out.


SC is the sneak preview for your bandcamp page. They’re not supposed to get the full monty.

It bears saying every time this subject comes up: don’t worry about networking as much as the quality of your output.


Nothing wrong with SC. You’ll run out of upload space with the free account

This is a good enough reason alone to keep a SoundCloud account. Private sharing comes in handy.

Agreeing with everyone else’s input, you’re already taking advantage of the strengths the platform offers. Most people, myself included, aren’t interested in the highest sound quality until they’ve paid you.

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That’s the thing. I don’t care about the people listening to the poor stream quality on poor sound systems. I care about the tracks I share for example here to get feedback on my process. That’s undermined when you can’t hear the high frequency sizzle of my hi-hats because compression threw it out.

Ah I’m gonna check that out.

Hmm looking into it again and bandcamps private streaming is now a part of there Pro membership plan… which is a bit annoying.

That s not necessarily a problem for me. Happy to pay for services that are useful to me. The ‘free’ model is what got us monsters like Google and Facebook.


The label I am on uses dropbox to share demos, pre-release, remixes etc privately.

Maybe an option

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Checked it out. The Bandcamp private sharing service sends emails to people you want invited (labels, press,…). It doesn t let you embed private tracks in webpages like SC does.

Sounds like SC is still best for drafts etc, and Bandcamp for releasing the finished stuff.

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Sorry to be a hater but, am I the only one hating soundcloud at the moment?

Not talking about the sound quality, but about the huge amount of spam messages from shady accounts selling ‘views’; constant annoying ads for additional services, and awful look in general.

I was a soundcloud user during beta, it was so clean, professional and efficient, so I’m very disappointed with how the platform turned out to be. But I guess the whole internet business nowadays is kinda going in this direction.

What’s left for us non-professional musicians? What platforms are there?
Thankfully bandcamp still looks very good. I’m seriously considering deleting soundcloud, maybe youtube as well (elektronauts also has a topic on that one); and start putting more stuff on bandcamp. Maybe I would start on spotify (in europe a LOT of people use it, so I guess that’s a plus).

What do you think?

Somebody should start a music streaming service that respects both artists and listeners? @NewElektronCEO


I remember using soundcloud back in '07 - '14. It used to be really great. Unlimited uploads, a forum for musicians and fans to discuss music, some data and analytics, an instant messenger program, and all for free. Then the founders quit and the dude from Vimeo took over; they stripped all those features away and then started slowly bringing them back over the course of two years but only for people who paid a subscription for them and claimed they were “brand new” features as if we had forgotten we used to use them all the time.

I miss the 90’s when the internet was like the wild west. It’s all corporate crap now.

Bandcamp is the last hold-out for musicians. Everything else is garbage. It’s a shame that private sharing is so difficult and producers and engineers still have to use soundcloud for that. I use dropbox or googledrive for all my clients.

I don’t mind paying for something that is truly helpful and useful (like a lossless file sharing service), but why should a musician have to pay to post music on a website? It is illegal for a radio station to ask a musician to pay in order to play their music. In fact, radio stations are obliged to pay the musician, not the other way around. Radio and Soundcloud wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for us. They should be paying us, the law requires radio stations to do so, but websites are exempt from this law because it was written before the internet came to be. In the early days of radio, musicians used to pay radio stations to play their music and they were getting screwed left and right until this law changed that. Now we are in the early days of the internet and guess what, musicians are getting screwed left and right again. So on principle, I do not use any website that asks musicians to pay. It’s exploitative and borderline illegal.

I completely agree. Professional musicians have always been treated like a slave caste for thousands of years. And music enjoyers don’t get the credit they deserve for being a culture-bearing stratum of society.

We need to teach our kids to appreciate art and artists and that profiteering philistines are worthless parasites. Then our culture will improve.

In short, screw soundcloud.



I’ve been digging Soundcloud a lot lately. I’m actually paying the $6 a month or whatever it is to get rid of the ads. It’s the cheapest ad kill out there to keep enjoying mixes and new tunes.

I saw Mixcloud have had a real refresh lately and the site looks nice. But a lot of people abandoned it and it doesn’t seem to have the relevance it once did.

It’s funny tho, having to pay to get rid of ads everywhere u go in your life now. That fucking bites. Like even if I pay on one platform, I’m still getting ad slammed on another.

There needs to be some kind of ad kill aggregate service, I just pay one and they kill the ads everywhere on the platforms I use ( like tiers of 1 service, 3 services, 5 services) - but give me a better deal for doing so.

Still, it’s sickening to be paying for ad kill rather than genuinely feeing compelled to pay for the service I desire.

With Soundcloud, I still get that. Weekly mixes and streams coming through that keep things fresh.

Bandcamp is still ok to me, but the interface is so ubiquitous, and clunky - they haven’t updated it in years.

All this money we pay, for what? Can’t they at least work out how to keep the offer more compelling? At least Bandcamp doesn’t have ads, it just has the too many listens broken heart thing.

I’d love to see them do something wild like open a bonafide physical release store. Like the first one in LA. Then Tokyo. Whatever. All the bandcamp stuff is in there. Vinyl. Live shows. Really try and support and give back. Does bandcamp even do anything like that? Why isn’t there the Soundcloud festival?

I dunno I’m just thinking out aloud.


Been paying for it and now using it as my distributor (repost by SC) and I can’t complain, it works great, covers a pretty much all the stores and services, has great customer support… :man_shrugging:

And I haven’t been bothered by the bots as of late at all actually :thinking:

That s probably when they were considered a start up floating on venture capital money and not having to worry about breaking even, let alone profit. But at some point investors want ROI. And then the ads and paid subscriptions pop up. We all understand an operation like SC is going to have expenses, even if it were not a commercial company, right?

Some of the latest comments here sound like both ads and paid services are not acceptable. How should it pay for the programmers, servers etc then?

The comparison to radio stations and how these pay for playing music also doesn’t float. A radio station is either funded by advertising or public money. But it was declared ads or not permissible. So what s it gonna be?

If we manage to crack this nut here a TON of publishers will be very happy to hear about it!

Disclaimer: i m not defending SC etc, just wanna have a realistic conversation about it


The ROI is exactly why they started asking for subscription payments. If you take out investments and loans, you already made a mistake. Starting your business by gambling your future away with other people’s money (people who care about nothing but money) is an enormous problem with our culture.

I never said ads are not permissible. You’re combining my view with someone else’s. Ads and public funding/philanthropy are good places to start. They could also divide musician profiles (which would be free) from listener profiles. Listeners can pay to have ads removed or to be able to download music or some other incentives, and that money can go to artists and cover the costs of running the service. But I’m not sure how many listeners exist on soundcloud. Probably not many.

Besides, this problem is far deeper than just “who pays for what?” This issue has to do with how our civilization is governed by economic principles instead of spiritual, honor-based or cultural principles. We take capitalism/socialism/communism for granted as though modern liberal economics are good, natural and necessary. This assumption must be challenged. Our culture needs to reevaluate its priorities. Do we really want to be governed by economists and materialists? Are we going to continue gauging success and freedom by the size of our wallets? Is political access still going to be determined by how much wealth one possesses? Will artists ever be supported and granted access to food and shelter and other necessities even though their product is not directly utilitarian or industrial and therefore not inherently worth bank notes? Liberalism is the death knell of Western Civilization and has caused nearly all the problems that artists and craftsmen deal with today.

Perhaps I’m getting off topic. But these problems will not be solved until there is an inherent and fundamental change to our consciousness and we begin to see the world in a different way and value things for their beauty and honorable characteristics instead of for their utility. This change in perspective will alter our economic and political systems in drastic ways that are difficult to imagine, and until this change takes place, we’ll be serving the people who print money and our art and culture will suffer.


Indeed and i think i explicitly stated that i was replying to several of the recent posts.

I do agree for the most part with your macro socio-economic perspective. Don t think all of liberalism is at fault though. But certainly the economic liberalism championed by the ‘west’. Not that china has a better model.

There was an alternative music hosting project built on much of the principles you state mentioned in another thread. But people said it didn t take off. Will try to find it.