This article originally appeared on musictechweb.com. A blog I created about music technology.
Over the past couple years, SoundCloud has steadily become the go to tool for sharing audio on the web. Today SoundCloud launched a new venture entitled SoundCloud Labs, which allows users to become more acquainted with the platform via various applications that have been developed internally with the SoundCloud API. SoundCloud Labs currently contains access to 4 different applications including Social Unlock, TakesQuestions, Importer and a Gmail plugin with many more to follow. Although these apps are very minimal in what they do, it is a great way for SoundCloud to showcase their platform and spread ideas to help grow their community of developers and musicians.
As you can imagine, the importer and Gmail plugin are relatively straight forward. The importer allows you to upload songs to SoundCloud via a URL, email, or by calling a private line to record. The latter is extremely nifty. No longer will artists be calling their own voicemails to record song ideas. You could also easily replicate something like this using the Twilio API. The Gmail plugin simply takes SoundCloud links and converts them into audio players directly in your inbox similar to the way YouTube videos are automatically embedded. Only downside is you need a Google Apps account instead of just solely a Gmail account.
TakesQuestions is a simple Q&A app that allows you to ask someone a question with an audio recording and they answer back. You record your question right in the the browser and then it combines the audio of the recipients response into a nice module for showcasing on the page.
Social Unlock is pretty much exactly as described. You share to unlock a download. So far Twitter is the only platform integrated though. Let’s walk through a simple setup of this to show you how easy it is.
First we go to the site and connect our SoundCloud account. After we connect we’re ready to create our first promotion. Our tracks are already available and now all we have to do is fill in a few details and create our theme. Now we just hit create promotion, change the theme to our liking, we’re provided a URL and its ready to go. This app could help you spread your tracks quickly if executed properly. The only downside is that any SoundCloud player shared on Facebook is automatically unlocked and you can download the track if its available. Another example of this would be the new Manchester Orchestra album stream in which you have to build a puzzle to unlock. Simply embed the link on Facebook and you’re no longer facing any sort of challenge to listen.
Another recent tool created by SoundCloud developer Lee Martin, is the premiere app. You will not find it on the labs but this open source tool has been making its rounds for several albums over the past couple months with bands like the Beastie Boys and the Foo Fighters using it to debut new music.
These apps seem to be just a little teaser of what’s to come in the future. Definitely looking forward to see what SoundCloud comes up with next.