Feature Friday: Swiping Through Music

One of my favorite user experiences is the SoundCloud mobile music player.  I’ve been driving a lot this winter in LA and when I get into my car, I bluetooth my phone to it and put my phone next to my seat. I can go forward and back from song to song with the buttons on the steering wheel but I find myself swiping the phone instead because the experience is so delightful.

Here’s a video I took just now of the experience of swiping through music;

 It’s also super easy to move through the song by pressing and swiping:

 Thanks go out to The Isley Brothers and The Beastie Boys for the audio portion of this blog post. If you want to hear the whole thing, it’s my song of the day.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Tony Salazar

    You should try YouTube playlist and the music, the experience and quality is even more fantastic. Never quite believed YT can be so dominanting

    1. fredwilson

      fuck youtube. soundcloud is the youtube for music.

      1. Tony Salazar

        I understand but YT is ramping up so fast these days with its quality and user experience that it will soon be the motherfucker of all music streaming.YT Music growth has become a discussion point in all conferences these days, including the recode

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t think music should be streamed in an experience optimized for video. it’s awful.

          1. Tony Salazar

            I am not talking about the video part of music, sir. It is the playlist specifically for music. YT music for the rest of the world is what soundcloud is for US, clear and simple

          2. fredwilson

            i think something like 70% of soundcloud’s listens and users are from outside of the US and its exploding in usagei have an advantage because i see the data

          3. Tony Salazar

            Data does not always represent facts. The truth is the music world in the rest of the countries are using YT as a platform to launch/stream music so it has a wider broadcasting reach besides being cost effective. Heck, youtube is factored in as part of the budget where 49 out of 50 don’t even know what soundcloud is.Besides music, a revolution is waiting to happen in all the countries to broadcast DTH throught YT. Netflix itself is finding it hard to enter into those markets where YT penetrated with ease.YouTube is music, movies, education,exploding user base, advertisers playground, a cash cowand one heck of a brand with a massive reach around the world.not sure how your data would support soundcloud existence in a worldwide market

          4. Chimpwithcans

            What are Soundcloud’s plans for the resolution/bitrate of the music? (if any)

        2. Matt Zagaja

          I’m pretty flummoxed at the popularity of these things. Tried Spotify and eventually gave up on it because besides the ads every hour the app would crash and die all the time. YouTube is great for video but also a CPU hog.

          1. Chimpwithcans

            Soundcloud gets better and better the more you use it. All about curation, kind of like twitter. The only other service I like is Tidal for higher quality streaming of all golden oldies stuff – its a hobby.

          2. Tony Salazar

            We are talking about 90% of the world where the only technology people know about internet is Youtube. Life is still rustic out there in a way that technology is the last thing of the day, unlike in the US where you wake up by the phone’s alarm.For the limited time spent on internet , read youtube, the trade-off, therefore, is not the CPU usage.

      2. Supratim Dasgupta

        Fred, I hear a lot of your talks on youtube when driving..I dont think you can do that on soundcloud

      3. PhilipSugar

        That is going strong on the hate 🙂

  2. Bruce Warila

    Tinder for songs…

    1. fredwilson


    2. Supratim Dasgupta

      Can one really tinder and drive 😉

  3. LE

    I can go forward and back from song to song with the buttons on the steering wheel but I find myself swiping the phone instead because the experience is so delightful.I guess it’s unclear how you do that and are able to pay attention to driving the car.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ll ask the gotham gal to shoot of video of me doing that

      1. JJ Donovan

        +1JJD – Looking forward to more videos of the Tesla in motion.

      2. pointsnfigures

        I thought she drove.

  4. LE

    Wow. I love that vidme.com and that you can upload a video w/o signing up for an account. Many times I have something that I want to post online quickly or email to someone (or post in a disqus comment) and haven’t had an easy way to do that.Soundcloud should do something similar. Not necessarily for songs but for soundclips of things that you want to quickly post or email forward a link to (instead of the sound file).

    1. fredwilson

      vid.me is awesomethe anonymous youtube

      1. LE

        It’s more than that and the reason for my suggestion about soundcloud doing a similar thing. It allows someone to post a discreet unit of content that is not linked to other things that they have done [1]So (for soundcloud) if I have, for example, an annoying customer service call (that was taped) and I want to share it for some reason I don’t want it linked to other things of the same or different nature. I just want that one clip to stand on it’s own. Plus the anon part is good obviously but the value extends well beyond this.[1] Yes, I know that you can create additional accounts or mark things as private etc. but that’s friction..and not worth the effort typically.

    2. Joe Cardillo

      I like that idea – soundcloud has a really smart UI and doesn’t keep changing it, so adding that feature on would be useful. My only complaint is their embed function isn’t so great, they need a really elegant, small embed player that can be recognized / used anywhere.

  5. awaldstein

    Beastie Boys fan here.Makes me think of the old pirate radio Indie movie with Christian Slater-Pump up the volume–where their songs are the pulse of the soundtrack.

    1. fredwilson

      i see Mike D at the Nets games with his son a fair bitit’s funny to see him in that wayhe’s a badass in every way. i’m a total fanboy.

  6. William Mougayar

    Is swiping and driving allowed in LA 😉

    1. fredwilson

      shhhhhhhhhhhhhi don’t want anyone to know that i am doing that 🙂

      1. William Mougayar

        But you know…they should allow touching your smartphone, as long as you’re not typing. If you affix the smartphone on the dashboard and it has big large buttons (like Car Mode), then that’s not any different than touching your dashboard to change the temperature, fire-up the A/C, tuning a station, etc.

        1. fredwilson

          i agreemy older daughter just got a new car and refused to get one with an in-dash GPS/Nav systeminstead she got a mount for her phone on her dash and uses google maps her comment to me was “google maps is way better than all of those car provided GPS systems”and she’s right about that

          1. Supratim Dasgupta

            She is absolutely right. Thats why I got a new car with no navigation.The dealer said navi is going to be default in upcoming years and I said yes because 1. no is paying for them anyway & 2. all cars have screen console anyway after govt made the rear view cameras mandatory. So adding navi is a mere software addition which probably costs few dollars to the manufacturer anyway. I think sirius will go away too, why use sirius when you have spotify.

          2. Matt Zagaja

            The automakers have done an embarrassing job with their included options for in-car technology. The only in-car tech system that even kind of wowed me was when my friend took me for a ride in his Tesla, and I’m pretty sure they are integrating with Google Maps. I wonder how long until the car companies give up and just put in those new units that integrate with the iPhone or Android.

          3. pointsnfigures

            no doubt. I think they would save money by not having a radio in the car, and simply outsourcing it. Unbundling of car tech

          4. William Mougayar

            Yup, and I wished the smartphone’s screen could get mirrored on the navigation screen which is bigger.No wonder Apple is pushing for CarPlay to integrate software into the car https://www.apple.com/ca/io

          5. LE

            Well it’s better to have both and essentially a backup. Since nav is a safety feature. Also I would wonder how much the resale value is affected on a car without a nav system. Depending on the cost it might have paid to get it anyway.One other thing (safety wise). Having a phone doing nav suctioned to the dashboard means that when you get a text it’s right there in front of you to distract you. If you don’t use the phone that way then you can put it out of sight and not have that happen.

      2. Supratim Dasgupta

        CA Highway Patrol unlike NYPD is one of the most generous & understanding force in the country.

    2. Supratim Dasgupta

      Yes Very much. You can routinely see people swiping each others cars off the road.

      1. Supratim Dasgupta

        3 Yrs of LA driving. Do you know you have to take both driving and written tests in CA even if you have a license from another state!

  7. Guest

    Tinder for Music

  8. Chimpwithcans

    Fred, loving soundcloud. Do you ever worry about Soundcloud and piracy laws? Have we moved on from that completely as a factor in music streaming?

  9. JimHirshfield

    My recollection is that “The Gotham Gal” is the driver. You’re the passenger.What changed?

    1. LE

      I don’t get guys who want their wives to drive them.Not the case with Fred [1] but it just occurred to me that maybe when I saw that happening it was because the man had a dui?Btw, what did your Dad think of the Bibi-versal?[1] I hate having to disclaim things like that.

      1. JimHirshfield

        My Dad’s on vacation with my Mom, so I dunno what he thinks.

    2. fredwilson

      You need to drive everywhere in LA. We often go to meetings alone. So we have two cars out here

      1. JimHirshfield

        Interesting. So with all the developments in the car space (ZipCar, fractional ownership, sidecar, lyft, uber) you’re an old fashioned two car family out there?

  10. Supratim Dasgupta

    I sometime read avc post directly from within the email. Today couldnt watch the videos. Is it my phone issue or disqus issue or the player issue. Below is the screenshot.

    1. aneela

      same issue! our email programs might not support embedded video.

      1. Warren Shaeffer

        @disqus_eGCB3s2vBk:disqus @supratimdasgupta:disqus Hi, Vidme co-founder here. Sorry the videos aren’t playing for you (thanks for letting us know).. what mail client are you using? Also, in the meantime, you can find the videos at: https://vid.me/XcfM and https://vid.me/Lqof

        1. Supratim Dasgupta

          Wow,Some customer service Warren!You deserve a blog post on it! Upvote guys!!!Am on iOS 8. Apple Mail client.

          1. Warren Shaeffer

            @supratimdasgupta:disqus 🙂 haha, thanks! Not sure what the issue is but we’re looking into it!

          2. Supratim Dasgupta

            NP. Am glad I learnt about vidme & will use it!..Question.Why do you have two iOS apps, one for sharing and viewing and a separate one for uploading?Just curious.

          3. Warren Shaeffer

            Cool 🙂 Good question. As you probably know, with apps it’s difficult to do multiple things well (limited screen size), so we have a separate creator app — Vidme Cam — for the power-creators that want to quickly upload their own videos, without seeing other people’s videos.You can still upload from the main Vidme app, but it takes a few more clicks to get there.

          4. Supratim Dasgupta

            Gotcha! thanks!

          5. Warren Shaeffer

            @supratimdasgupta:disqus @disqus_eGCB3s2vBk:disqus it looks like Java Script is disabled in the Mail app, so embedded videos won’t play, unfortunately -_- We’ll improve the error message though to include a link to the video. Thanks again for letting us know about this!

          6. Supratim Dasgupta

            You are most welcome!

          7. Supratim Dasgupta

            thanks Warren!

      2. Supratim Dasgupta

        am on iOS 8..and you?

  11. William Smith

    Excellent (and hugely underrated) choice of music Fred!

  12. William Mougayar

    * * Newsflash ** “Streaming music sales in the US beat CDs for the first time”http://www.engadget.com/201…Next, will be beating digital downloads.

    1. awaldstein

      In order for that to change iTunes needs to change–no?

      1. William Mougayar

        yes, I agree. I wonder if their sales are going down, as it is.That’s where the newly revamped streaming Beats will come in:http://www.techhive.com/art…I think Apple got the “Streaming Memo”, both for Audio and Video (with their recent Netflix-like announcement).

    2. Joe Cardillo

      I may be something of an odd case, but I haven’t downloaded music in a couple of years. I stream a lot, and buy a hard copy (mostly vinyl/cassette, occasionally CD) when I like something. Spotify and others are big already, but I suspect there’s a ton more disruption coming because the hoarding of thousands of downloaded songs just doesn’t make sense. Most people listen to a fairly small range, and owning everything you ever want to listen to never added up.

      1. fredwilson

        I got listen.com (which became rhapsody) in 1999 and have been a streaming subscriber ever since. I haven’t bought a mp3 in at least a decade and I mostly stopped 15 years ago

        1. Joe Cardillo

          I was thinking about this comment on my drive this a.m… there was a hardware/tools rental place across from a record/CD store. Anecdotally, the rental place was doing a lot more volume, which makes sense even though was a bit sad because I myself still like to buy the physical copies of records. But I think there are a lot of cases of P2P that are still being scratched on the surface, the underlying idea being “why own something yourself or work on something when there is probably someone who is an expert or already owns it.”

      2. Matt Zagaja

        Maybe I’m even odder but Spotify costs $10/month and an iTunes song is $1.29 to $0.69 depending on what song and I do not introduce enough new music into my mix every year for the cost of iTunes to exceed the streaming service. I guess if I was more dynamic the streaming service would definitely be a better deal.

        1. Joe Cardillo

          That’s interesting, I wonder what the ratio is of songs downloaded vs. songs streamed per person in the U.S. Couldn’t seem to find anything addressing even close to that question. Is your buying or use of media more/less/the same when it comes to books, magazine subscriptions etc?

          1. Matt Zagaja

            iTunes did $18bn revenue in 2014, approx 50% was from iTunes so 9bn total divide by $0.99/song average.Pandora has 81.5m active listeners at year end 2014 with revenue of $268mm ($220mm from advertising and $47.9mm from subscriptions). Listener hours was 20.03bn.Spotify says they have 15m active subscribers and 60m active users.Typically I buy books on a one-off basis through Amazon Kindle. I subscribe to WIRED and the New York Times (which gave me a subscription sponsored by Ford when they first started charging in 2010 because I was in the top 1% of readers by number of articles read). Most of the reading I do is ad sponsored, but I increasingly find myself opting out of ad supported websites because they are becoming too obnoxious. If a website has a “popover” with an ad or e-mail ask I usually hit CMD+W right away.

          2. Joe Cardillo

            I’m much the same with my reading, although I do still buy hard copy on things I really want. The subscriptions game thing me of how Google wallet was going to maybe make it easy to manage a bunch all at once, but that’s still somewhat TBD because most media pubs want to control content and distribution.

  13. Jess Bachman

    Yeah this is some good UX. The swiping motion mirrors our natural physical action of “get this thing out of my face”. Which is why I always thought it was weird that on Tinder a “swipe” right is a “like”. Feels like a “swipe down” is like physically bringing it closer to you and would be a better action.Obviously it hasn’t hurt Tinders success, so what do I know.

  14. Alberto Menoni

    please use YT for the videos, it just works way better than this vidme thing. tksBTW, love soundcloud too

    1. Warren Shaeffer

      Hey Alberto, Vidme co-founder here. Is the video not playing for you? What browser are you using?

  15. Hyun Shin

    I normally use Spotify, but SoundCloud is a good option as well.

  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I need SoundCloud to sync to my iPhone alarm clock so that I can wake up to an awesome tune every morning 🙂

    1. Darren Sohn, Pastor

      and then there is a majority of world’s population who wakes up rolling on the floor pathetically with an incredible hunger and here we are talking about not just an iphone alarm clock but to cloud sync a song to the phone just to wake you out of your bed !a tale of two different worlds, alas, under one GOD

      1. fredwilson

        True. But that should not get in the way of the things that bring joy to our lives. The world is not a fair place and many people are suffering. But that doesn’t mean we should feel badly about the things that make us happy

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          You answered this so much better than I would have. Well done.

        2. Rohan


      2. Sunday Irowa

        I think you made a point, unfortunately, the privileged few would always want more of these stuffs.

  17. Susan Rubinsky

    I am in love with Soundcloud. The experience is just so wonderful. They got so much right so early.

  18. Patrick Burns

    Speaking of swiping through media content and gesture-based mobile interaction – have you used Imgur’s iOS app? Tons of fun to use, and super efficient way to view lots of content.

  19. george

    Wow, that iPhone adds to the SoundCloud experience…Seriously, there is something more natural about SoundCloud’s interface.

  20. Semil Shah

    this is how we designed Swell (podcast app) with cards to swipe given people would be doing this on the go (or, gulp, while in the car)….also benefit of being able to access controls from lock screen. hey, i thought you moved back to android?

  21. Sandy Coury

    Sorry to be a stickler, but this doesn’t seem to comply with CA hands free law

    1. fredwilson


  22. howardlindzon

    i see your swipe and raise you a shmoopie…also as I load this try Dash Radio app …my new fave for listenng and leaning back…you should meet dj skee while in LA will intro on twittttaaa ..also you are long overdue for a post on live stream video persicope and meerkat. this is a next big thing for social. i think. finally. maybe

    1. pointsnfigures

      Loving meerkat. haven’t tried periscope yet.

    2. fredwilson

      Not sure about that Howard. Live is hard to sustain. It works better for kids who have a lot of downtime. Not great for adults.

  23. pointsnfigures

    I really like Soundcloud. In order to stream like that, do you have to pay for your playlist? Right now I am a moocher-just using all the free stuff on the platform. I have tried to stream through my system at home, via wireless, but it’s not robust enough to handle it.

    1. fredwilson

      Its all free right now

  24. Dale Patterson

    This is one of the reasons why I use SoundCloud. Nothing better than a quick swipe when playing some tunes.

  25. Twain Twain

    Move over swipes! Here come SYGNYLS: http://sygnyls.usWe're going into “Jedi, wave your hand and magic happens” space with some IoT devices.

  26. Tom Maxwell

    Looks like Vidme properly rotates horizontal video. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I asked them to do that for me and they did

  27. Jonathan Libov

    @fredwilson:disqus Did you know that you can record your iPhone with Quicktime on desktop? You could avoid the black bars in landscape that way: http://www.tekrevue.com/tip

    1. fredwilson

      Funny enough Eric does it that way in SoundCloud board meetings. But I wanted to use vid.me so I did it that way. Plus I hate QuickTime

      1. Jonathan Libov

        You could also Airdrop video from Mac to iPhone.What is there to hate about poor little QuickTime?

  28. Douglas Crets

    I want swipe technology in Twitter. I want to be able to swipe left for context and links or history of the conversation. I want to be able to swipe right to store the conversation and add it to a list of files of context I have built myself in Twitter. A kind of contextual archive that helps me with my writing and my research.This would of course require Genius integration. Possible?

  29. gracy

    Soundcloud mobile music player is really useful for us. It is made easy to listening music.buysoundcloudfollowerss.com