SoundCloud is a pretty fantastic service, and honestly I couldn’t improve the service itself at all, except for a few minor things. I love the simplicity of how it handles audio files, how it creates a beautiful player, and makes it easy to share and implement it. The big drawback to SoundCloud though is not the service, it’s the price.
As a free service, you get two hours worth of audio storage, and really not much else. At current exchange rates, the next tier available is $40 a year and only doubles your storage and gives you a couple other widgets and options. There’s a few others, up to the unlimited account, which costs a whopping $675 a year or $80 per month. What they provide is privacy settings, stats of varying detail, and of course more storage. But honestly, what in the world justifies that much cost?
SoundCloud does a lot of stuff, and it is interesting, but really to the majority of people it’s not necessary. Stats are always nice, but there are other ways to get stats, even detailed ones, for free using existing services and APIs from places like Google. Honestly, the only thing I’d be really paying for is more storage. But storage is nowhere near that expensive.
I’ve heard the service referred to a few times as the “YouTube” of audio or music, but really it’s not. YouTube offers HD and transcoding, embedding, but you can store an unlimited amount of video. Of course with a free account there are limits to the run time of individual videos, but you can store as much as you want. Either way, SoundCloud has its thing, and it does what it does well. But, it’s far from the YouTube of audio. The thing is though… as far as I know there is no similar service for audio. Why not?
If there was, would you use it? I certainly would. As a business, YouTube certainly became successful, didn’t it?