Our portfolio company SoundCloud wrote a blog post today welcoming our firm and Index Ventures to their company. I also wrote a blog post on explaining why we are excited to be involved with SoundCloud.

And I recorded my first podcast in over three years and talked a bit about SoundCloud. Here’s the podcast. 

Thoughts on SoundCloud by fredwilson

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Congratulations. I’ve already downloaded their iPhone app and it looks like another winner company. What a great idea. And the viral tools and hooks they have built are amazing. The SoundCloud 101 page explains it very well did you manage to keep that investment quiet for a year?Are we going to see “SoundComments” intermixed with Disqus?

    1. fredwilson

      great idea for sound commentswe did not keep it quiet for a year, just a few months

      1. William Mougayar

        I can see where this could become the new Inbox (with sound messages instead of emails). Can we send private “sounds” to each other?

        1. David Noël

          Yes you can. Two ways:1) Make your audio message private and you can add email addresses to send email invite (requires the recipient to have or sign up for a SC account – which is super easy)2) Make your audio message private and enable what we call a “secret link” (adds a unique code to the url) and you can share via email or IM without the recipient needing to log inHow to:

          1. William Mougayar

            Thanks for the explanations. So, I would need a Solo premium account for that?Great overall media coverage about SoundCloud

          2. David Noël

            Nope, you can use the features described with the free plan.Very nice overview, thanks!

          3. JLM

            Very interesting. I suspect there is a fairly large market for the recording of “required” public utterances like public company conference calls.Now, this is a fairly expensive proposition which is hosted by folks like VCall.They manage the conference call and then provide an audio and written transcript.They are notoriously slow in their service.The application of sending an “audio” message via an e-mail has the potential to be a cutting edge Investor Relations strategy.I am personally going to experiment with it and try it for my small public company.Great luck!

          4. David Noël

            Super cool use case: Apple’s Oppenheimer recording the conference call andautomatically pushing it to the Apple PR Twitter account the moment the callends.

          5. fredwilson

            that is an awesome use case for the soundcloud APIsomeone could build a competitor to VCall on SoundCloud very quickly

          6. Ryan Drew

            Congratulations on the investment, I was going to ask if their API was accessible, but you’ve already answered the question!I foresee SoundCloud’s remix capability and integration to be huge. It pairs well with the growth of the tablet market and dj/remix apps. I see a ‘Chopped for Music’ (3-5 snippets/songs and a contest) being a huge opportunity.

          7. davehaynes

            Yep API fully accessible at:-…Looking forward to seeing what people will do with it at the forthcoming Music Hack Day in NYC (details being announced next week!)

          8. David Noël

            email me if I you need help with anything david at soundcloud com

          9. JLM

            If one wonders where the world is going — there is something remarkable about a little public company in Austin, TX engaged in a weird little niche business being able to use a capability developed by a company headquartered in Berlin funded in part by a VC in NYC whose blog brought all of the moving pieces together.I think this globalization stuff may catch on?

          10. David Noël

            Throw in our small offices in London and San Francisco

          11. ShanaC

            I second this. I think even better would be hooking up in part to – record the call as you call in.

          12. sigmaalgebra

            JLM, you wrote:”The application of sending an ‘audio’ message via an e-mail has the potential to be a cutting edge Investor Relations strategy.”For that, what’s the problem sending audio messages via e-mail?Roughly since the Internet Working Group Request for Comments (RFC) 1521 of September, 1993, standard internet e-mail has been able to send any files at all — sound, pictures, movies, PDFs, etc.For recording voice, the back of my computer has electronic connections named “Line in” and “Mic in”. So, send the audio signal into the appropriate one of those two.My old copy of RealPlayer promises to read from Line in and Mic in and write the data to a file.Then give the file to an e-mail program as an ‘attachment’.The person receiving uses, say, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, etc. to play the audio.If don’t want to send the file individually, then send it to an upload service, specify a password, get an URL, and then send the URL and password via e-mail.

        2. daryn

          Wasn’t it seesmic who tried to do video comments for awhile? I think you’d have the same challenge with audio. It’s hard to skim through, though it does seem very cool and a good fit for certain uses.Same goes for SoundMail, there’s a reason we don’t all just leave voicemails for one another – and it isn’t because we can’t 🙂 Fred would be declaring SoundMail bankruptcy every other day!

          1. fredwilson

            So trueAudio is good for many things but I think text is better for commenting

          2. William Mougayar

            I think if done right, it would be different. Sound without video is less burdening, and easier to get going. For e.g, there could be limits on the length of these messages, and you only send and receive from approved users.There are so many features to SoundCloud, it’s mind boggling. I’m still wrapping my head around it.

          3. raycote

            SC needs a playback speed select controler so you can speed through voice audio!It would be nice if the play widget could show up in Facebook comment.

    2. David Noël

      Disqus SoundComments – love this!!

    3. adamwexler

      sound comments — love that too. disqus – you guys catch that?so many instances when i don’t have time to put my thoughts in writing, but i’d love to be able to speak my mind.

    4. Marc Delurgio

      “SoundComments” sounds cool but from my experience at Kyte, where we coupled community chat/comments with video, our forays into “voice commenting” produced unimpressive results. I thought I would share my experience…If the user was at their pc, text comments required less of the user (both easier to type and didn’t put the user “on the stage,” so to speak). Very few users created voice comments.For the mobile user, voice commenting is more compelling, but commenting rates per mobile user were far lower than commenting rates for the pc user. And when that rare mobile commenter created a voice comment, the “readers” of the comments would much rather scan/read the comments than have to click and listen through multiple voice comments.This experiment was also played by Seesmic, who had their video comments integrated into a popular js-based commenting system – and it went largely unused for the same reasons I cited above.

  2. Guest

    I talk to several record label guys in A&R, and they’ve been scouting via Soundcloud. Particularly those at Atlantic. Several producers are also using it to showcase their work.

  3. daryn

    Congrats to everyone, very cool.SoundCloud does a super slick job with their stuff, but I still have commitment issues with audio. I find myself saying “Cool, Fred did a podcast. I should listen to that later…” Is there a save for later app like instapaper or the boxee bookmarklet?

    1. David Noël

      Not yet and we’re considering to build it.A way around could be to follow Fred on SoundCloud and you’ll have his uploads on your Dashboard under “Incoming”. Another one is to click-through to the file on SC and add it to your favorites.

      1. paul

        daryn, that’s a very cool idea and I would use that feature a ton. I do a lot of my listening on the subway, running, or on my iphone at work.

      2. paul

        david, what’s the software stack for the site and transcoding process?

      3. ShanaC

        I know I should be the person answering this question – how do I find the incoming function so I can map out what Ilke and save it.

        1. David Noël

          Log in to your Dashboard and you’ll see three tabs of which one is called Incoming tracks”. That will list all new uploads from the people you follow.

          1. ShanaC

            Would you A/b test having incoming on the top rather than in settings? Itseems like one of those really obvious things to have because what I amessentially reading from SoundCloud is a very social audio youtube.

    2. fredwilson

      what’s the device you want to consume it on eventually?a sonos home audio system?an iPhone or Android?a tablet?

      1. daryn

        I’m not sure – probably mobile or desktop.It is the same issue you talked about before I built the save-for-latter boxee app – I skim blogs in short chunks throughout the day, but audio requires more time, if not more attention. I sometimes listen while I work, but more typically in the morning, while commuting, or in the car. I guess all I really need is a playlist I can save these various audio discoveries to, like but more explicit.

        1. David Noël

          Daryn, exfm supports SoundCloud. If you open a SC track page you can add to your exfm library

          1. daryn

            Nice. I use exfm a lot to listen to music that it has found as I surf theweb, but honestly I’ve never looked into doing anything else with it. Ineed to do that.

  4. kirklove

    Congrats to the SoundCloud team.Remarkably, music on the web as ubiquitous as it is is stil ripe for disruption and innovation. I know the SoundCloud team is leading both those charges. I also know you’re a big fan of music. Great match (you kind of saw this coming with your OREO tell).Looking forward to the wonderful new things that will be coming out of SoundCloud and of course David being super excited about every one. 😉

  5. Sandrak

    Am definitely not seeing this. While I like the idea of the web should not be mute, I don’t see this getting to scale for the simple reason that we don’t interact with audio (non music) in the same way as other web media types. As contributors, far fewer of us will record and share our spoken thoughts …pics and video are better and more immersive for the recipient. Take a look at Snapvine, Odeo, and many many more.I remember reading a post that Evan wrote about how he decided Odeo was not right (for him) because he wasnt seeing his own usage increase. I look at the SoundCloud leaderboard and am not swayed. Alex has 70 public recordings. How many of those have been “consumed” by recipients? A photo / video is stronger.So i agree with the theory that it would be good to have something like this, but don’t believe it will be popular.

    1. Guest

      Here’s my take. The majority of my time spent on YouTube is consuming music, at least 90% of the time. I’d say the same thing for 90% of the people I know. If you look at statistics, the most viewed content is, you’ve guessed it – music. If SoundCloud can tap into that, I’d gladly switch to something that facilitates my consumption of on-demand streaming music.

    2. David Noël

      When Odeo came out, podcasting meant a significant investment in both time and equipement. Today’s mobile voice recording and (often casual) music-creation apps provide a whole new playing field, creating creators.

      1. ShanaC

        Congrats David – and definitely true. There has been an explosion of how music is made, and a lot of crossover between different types of music in the way they sound.

    3. fredwilson

      we shall seei think once people realize they can record snippets of audio on theirmobile and share them like photos, we’ll see a lot more sharing ofthemmy kids already do this with freestyles they do in the car going fromplace to place

      1. daryn

        What do you think about using the SoundCloud record button app on Android/iPhone versus just placing a phone call via any phone, smart-or-not, using Twilio.Two issues that come to mind are that many people who have unlimited data don’t have unlimited minutes, and that sound quality won’t be as good, but seems like an otherwise more accessible interface.Has anyone built a Twilio to SoundCloud recorder yet? It would be pretty trivial.

        1. David Noël

          Yup, http://chatter.fmIt's a hack from one of the Music Hack Days and that number currently feeds to one account on SC:… – next step would be to get your own number that connects with your SC account if this isn’t already available now (third-party app)

          1. daryn

            Cool. Their site makes it looks like has you link to your ownsoundcloud account, so that it can post there. They probably use caller idto do the mapping. If not, that’s what they should do 🙂

          2. David Noël

            I’ll find out, it’s one of our dev’s projects

          3. David Noël

            From what I hear, call (215) 995-5025 from your mobile and you’ll receive a text including a link that will connect your # to your SC account

  6. paul

    as a musician and developer, I love this kind of thing. in fact, I just signed up and improvised a blues for the occasion:…not the most polished recording in the world, but I think it came out ok.

    1. David Noël

      Very cool!

  7. kenberger

    As a guy w/ recording and touring experience (we played gigs w/ Weezer back in the day), I can attest I wish this was around then. Sure would have beat pressing physical CD’s, licking stamps, filling envelopes, and dealing only w/ radio stations !If I had more time, I’d use tools like these and my music love to coach new bands, much as I do in mentoring tech startups.

  8. kenberger

    When I dloaded the new Mac App Store, I immediately noticed that soundcloud shows up as #8 on the top free list.I can see how they wrangled that, and it’s a great start on that platform.Unrelated, I mostly agree with the article “Why the Mac App Store Sucks” (which is a great theme for its own AVC post).

  9. Prokofy

    You know what’s funny? About 3 days ago, I saw my first SoundCloud clip. It came in the form of something about the crackdown now in Belarus, from a journalist. I think I saw it first on LiveJournal or something. And I remember thinking, what is that little widget? And it’s funny to find it related to Fred Wilson now.My first memories as a child are pre-TV, and are of radio. But I came of age in the print and online text age so I find it hard to transition to watching talking heads on video or listening to podcasts. I also don’t listen to music randomly like young people, I just listen to it when I’m ready to listen to it, which isn’t that often. So I wonder if by having it be more “shareable” whether it will be something that I will listen to more.There are a lot of people who do podcasts around SL. I used to even do one on TalkShoe. But it got too hard to synchronize (Skype, Talk Shoe, SL itself, etc.)A lot will depend on just how easy this turns out to be to record.

    1. fredwilson

      i hope so

  10. LG

    Great investment, as you already know, there’s big future opportunities for Soundcloud’s technology (as the mp3 move’s to the URL), an already strong musician community (bound to pull in fans too) and already great tools available on the platform.

  11. RichardF

    Congrats David and the team at SoundCloud. Hadn’t thought about using SoundCloud for submitting recordings to my online piano teacher and submitting for recitals but that would really easy using my iPhone.Keep those European investments coming Fred!

    1. David Noël

      Thanks, Richard!Very cool use case. Our own Dave Haynes records himself playing the piano too:

      1. davehaynes

        Yes, please forgive my slightly amateurish playing 😉

  12. Martin LeBlanc,

    SoundCloud is great – congrats Fred. Going to listen to the podcast now 🙂

  13. Mark Zohar

    Fred,I’ve been a huge consumer (as opposed to a producer) of SoundCloud hosted content for many months now. It’s the first site I visit to search for new tracks posted by the artists themselves or music bloggers. I should also note, without prejudice, that SoundCloud is also now my go-to place on the Web to download music. In fact, it appears to me that the vast majority of SoundCloud users are using the service today to download tracks. Not sure how much copyright infringement or piracy is going on but in my little circle SoundCloud has emerged as a mini Napster in terms of access to and sharing of copyrighted content. What’s your take on this?Personally, I’m not sold on the promise of sharing amateur recorded audio content or podcasts. In fact, I hope that this funding will not change SoundCloud’s main focus of hosting really great music content from emerging artists. If anything, SoundCloud should be positioned as the new MySpace for emerging artists and bands. Artists should post a few songs, demos and EPs for legal download and use the service to grow their audience and ultimately deliver and sell their music. There’s no reason why SoundCloud couldn’t evolve to be a major challenger to eMusic or maybe even iTunes over time.

    1. fredwilson

      on the first point, SoundCloud has content filtering. if anyone posts music to SoundCloud they don’t have rights to, it will get taken down.on the second point, SoundCloud is about music and everything else. it’s not just about music.

  14. Mark Zohar

    Btw: Here’s my latest find on SoundCloud: James Vincent McMorrow. This guy is like Ireland’s version of Bon Iver. Stunning songwriting and heartbreaking music. Listen to the entire album, “Early Morning” (North American release in March) here:…. My take on the lead single, “If I Had a Boat” is here:….

    1. fredwilson

      awesome, i’m going to check him out right now

      1. Mark Zohar

        Also uploaded on SoundCloud yesterday: Lyyke Li’s latest single “I Follow Rivers” from her forthcoming album, “Wounded Rhymes.” Not as immediate or aggressive as “Get Some” but I really like the direction she’s taking with this record.

    2. fredwilson

      holy shit. this guy is awesome. thanks so much for the tip. going to emusic to buy his music right now!

      1. Mark Zohar

        Glad you like it. What an amazing talent. Hopefully he’ll break out once “Early Morning” releases this side of the Atlantic later this month.

      1. Donna Brewington White


  15. Stephen Phillips

    Big congratulations to the guys at Soundcloud! We use it at and totally we love it. So many indie band managers and label A&R guys are using it to share tracks around these days. More and more will exit file sharing services like yousendit for soundcloud this year.

    1. fredwilson

      i love!

  16. Mark Essel

    Solid pick, and David’s an incredible SoundCloud rep.I was happy to share a couple of dozen tracks a few months back from my brother that I had lying around, and he was happy to share them. They were created for artists to rap/sing over 7-10 years ago.

  17. ShanaC

    Honestly, if I didn’t dislike the sound of my own voice (I think I sound very high pitched…), I would be using this all the time to record myself.Fred, you are right about the web being almost too quiet. I really want to bring in new sounds to the internet. and I want to find people who like the same sounds as me (do you know how hard it is to find a John Adams and Nico Muhly fan on the web…) It seems I am going to find all my gym music there from now on, as well as my other time music (like working).(Also, I love the native app)

  18. Charlie Crystle

    cool…I’ll post my stuff there this weekend.

  19. Donna Brewington White

    David, how excited I was to discover that this new investment is YOUR company. Congratulations! (Or for the audio version:…Congratulations, Fred and USV! Seems like you’ve picked another winner! (IMHO)Gotta love the cloud!(No worries, not planning to make a habit of audio comments.)

    1. David Noël

      Thanks so much, Donna! Posted a timed comment in your audio message

  20. rosshill

    I had a bit of a google around and couldn’t find a clear answer to whether I could use Soundcloud to host a podcast that can also pipe into iTunes? With… we already do that and have a good backlog of content – how simply would it be to migrate from our tiny webserver to the Soundcloud platform?

    1. David Noël

      Ross – are you interested in joining our beta group for RSS/Podcasters?If so, email ben at soundcloud dot com – he’ll get you up and running.

  21. vruz

    I’ve just noticed that SoundCloud embedding/integration works so much better now than it used to be for Tumblr users so I’ll probably use it the next time I upload audio clips.

  22. Jamie Nacht Farrell

    I agree with your statement, “we need more audio”. I’m sure you’ve seen / used Quiki and what I liked about it was that it hit 2 different learning styles: 1) Audio 2) Visual as opposed to Wikipedia or Google’s “visual”. Best of luck – sounds like a winner.

  23. Jennifer McFadden

    Fred,Thanks for pointing out SoundCloud–it’s a great product that hadn’t come across my radar before.On a separate note, you may want to check the volume on your mike (I’m assuming that’s the issue, but certainly wouldn’t put myself out there as any A/V specialist!). There was a bit of static in your feed. I thought that it might be my speakers or the app itself, but the sound on the site is pitch perfect (actually, the sound is quite amazing!). Just thought that I’d point it out if you’re planning to do more podcasts :)Best,Jennifer

    1. fredwilson

      i was talking into my phone

  24. allubarbosa

    It seems that I find all my music there is a gym from now, my music and other time (like work).Motorcycle Parts

  25. Ben Israel

    I just signed up for soundcloud after reading this blog. I must say it takes quite a bit of work to get started on it. I wish there was a recommendation feature for who to follow. Also, it would be helpful to be able to find friends from my other networks. Unless I totally missed these features…

    1. fredwilson

      great feedbacki will share with the team

  26. Fry

    SoundCloud is an incredible service.But I desperately miss a BlackBerry app.Anything in the pipeline?