Is soundcloud devaluing the music experience? Rants - December 8, 2011


Soundcloud… I’m a big fan of it, and as you know I use it as my platform for sharing music and listening to others. I’ve discovered so much dope shit on soundcloud that it’s completely overwhelming. Every time I go on there I feel like I’ve discovered 3-4 new artists that blow me away. There’s some major problems with it though.

It’s great to see so much being created out there and its great to check as much as I can. I feel that in the last year especially, music has become so dispensable. I don’t really value songs like I used to. The feeling of not waiting until you can throw on a new tune was pretty amazing. It’s not really like that anymore for me though. Not because the songs suck, or that there aren’t songs as up to par as the ones I used to listen to, more because there’s just so many of them. I mean so much fucking music out there how can you possibly listen to it all let alone re-listen to the ones you love when the ones you love change by the day. It’s a rat race of music to take in.

One technical thing that I’ve noticed with sound cloud I’ve been thinking about recently is the way they display the audio spectrum of the music you’re listening to. At first I thought this was really dope. It makes sense, you can see where in the song you are and it allows for people to leave feedback. Awesome feature at first glance and really helpful for people producing music like me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a little screen shot:

The problem with showing the audio spectrum is that you’re no longer listening to music, you’re watching the waveform of it. It takes any time of mystery out of the song. You somewhat know what to expect and when, just by looking at it. It took a little bit to notice that my attention span for music on soundcloud is shot to shit, because rather then just listening to a song and letting it carry me through the whole track, I skip through to what looks like the beefy parts. It’s more like just getting quick fixes off of tracks by clicking around. If the waveform looks like the song is going to be repetitive in parts, I skip past them. If the wave form looks the same throughout the whole track, I probably won’t even listen to it due to it looking boring. That plain out sucks. Music should be creative and mysterious and leaving you wondering what’s going to happen next, on every song from the slowest of songs to the craziest death metal shit you’ve ever heard. You shouldn’t know when the breakdowns are gonna come, you should just anticipate it.

So yeah, I’m starting to realize what I thought was so dope about soundcloud in the beginning is devaluing my experience with music in general. The simple option is to just hide the page or tab that I’m on, but it’s hard not to look when it’s right in front of you and you’re browsing around. I wish there was a “Turn off waveform” option somewhere…

One Response

  1. Miranda says:

    I completely agree with you! I thought Soundcloud was amazing and yes it is a great resource but, I too have started to realize that it devalues music.

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