New SoundCloud “Record” Tool Is A Great Way To Capture And Share Song Ideas
This past summer, James Welch, an electronic musician and university student, left London to work for the music startup company SoundCloud in Berlin. One of the things Welch did while in Berlin was record voices on the street on his phone or a small tape recorder. He used the recordings as the foundation for a new EP titled, appropriately, Tourist. (Read a review of the album here.)
Interestingly, just one week after Welch – under the name Seams – released Tourist (Pictures Music), his former employer released a unique tool that lets their users record audio directly to their SoundCloud profile from the website or from SoundCloud’s iPhone app. Either Welch knew what was coming, was involved in creating it, or it’s just a complete coincidence. But one thing is for sure: musicians have been clambering for an easy solution for quickly recording audio to the web for quite some time.
In the beginning, musicians who needed to capture song ideas most likely used small tape recorders. In recent years, the handheld digital recorder has come to prominence. Now the iPhone comes with a “voice memo” recording tool and there are others, such as Audiofile Engineering’s Fire 1.3 app.
But, it’s still been a bit of a hassle transferring audio files from a digital device (via USB) or smart phone. (On the iPhone, you’re forced to “Sync” your library to transfer voice memos.)
SoundCloud, which has just reached two million users, has emerged as one of the most popular new online music solutions for artists. It’s caught on with electronic-leaning musicians, but it’s also used by many record labels to share and transfer files. (Many labels even use the SoundCloud “Dropbox” tool for prospective artists to submit demos.)
After you record a bit of audio using SoundCloud’s new tool (you’ll have to create a profile first, which is free), you can attach various media and information about your recording, such as title, image, description, type of audio (sound effect, loop, demo, remix), genre, and tags. You can also modify the license and set the audio as public or private. When you click “Share” on your audio, you can send a secret link out to friends. (Read more about licensing through Creative Commons here.)
For James Welch, the new tool would have made recording his Berlin street scenes a seamless (pun intended) act of creating music. For songwriters interested in co-writing, it will certainly add a new fluency to an often-tricky job.