June 13, 2016

Coming from the perspective of a music curator who loves discovering new artists and simply unique content not found anywhere else, Soundcloud reigns supreme. Compared to Spotify, which has seemingly generated more buzz among millennials and, from a personal standpoint, has garnered much more attention, Soundcloud is best suited for discovery whereas Spotify is catered towards listening to what I would consider as more “mainstream”. 


I will admit that I am on both services and find use cases to toggle between the two. What Spotify is extremely good at which Soundcloud seems to lack is providing the user with a well-thought out listening experience. Being on Soundcloud two - three hours a day, my biggest pet peeve with the service is its organization and non intuitive UI and navigation. This speaks especially true when it comes to the expansive inventory that Soundcloud has, the endless remixes and one-off singles one can find. 




Here are just some of the pain points I have found with using the service:


- Music feed: Currently the feed is a dump of every single activity from every one your followers. If there was a way to configure what shows up (either based off groups, friends, likes, artists, etc), I could have a curated feed that is more representative of my interests. 


- Recommendations: Something I have been impressed with when it comes to Spotify is its “Discover Weekly” playlist. Given the treasure trove of music on Soundcloud, I feel like there could be a better recommendations engine that serves up tracks that I would most likely listen to, based on the artists I follow or the genre of songs that I repost. It already does a decent job of showing related tracks but if it could combine those insights with the type of artists I subscribe to or prescribe music according to my listening habits, that would hence the discovery experience.


- Track identification: Have you ever wanted to re listen to a set after a music festival? How about listening to a set that you happened to miss? Usually you can find it on Soundcloud but the biggest question that comes after is ‘what is the name of the song that was playing at 1:35’. If there was a way to better identify the song and artist at various points in a set, that would be such a life saver. Maybe even just show the names of tracks where the comment activity is high (indicating that a lot of people are curious)


- Listen later: The one feature that I would consistently use if it existed would be a listen later option. Similar to how there is a ‘watch later’ button in YouTube or a ‘queue up’ in Spotify, having this feature would prevent me from having to have my thumb over the next song waiting until the current song is finished while playing music from my friends :’) Similarly when people share music on Soundcloud and you don’t have the time to listen, adding it to a listen later playlist would be extremely useful.


I’m a Soundcloud addict and despite these feature requests, find myself coming back to the platform day in and day out. Having these features would enhance the listening experience insurmountably. 


Please feel free to leave in the comments below some of your own frustrations with using Soundcloud and areas that can be improved. Let us know if you also use Spotify and for what reasons. Love to hear your thoughts.





SOUNDCLOUD: @jerryylluu

FACEBOOK: @jerryylluu

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