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SoundCloud is an online music platform that helps artists promote their creativity. It launched Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Don Monique, Lil Pump and many other famous musicians. Next, we will look at how this application works, why it became popular and how to create your own clone
based on it - a platform with a similar design and functionality.
The essence of the SoundCloud project
SoundCloud's vision is to help aspiring and independent musicians (and their producers) promote their creativity and be able to monetize their success, that is, it is analogous to YouTube, not only for video, but for audio tracks. The platform is available in a browser, as well as in a mobile version on Android and Apple iOS.
For artists, the site provides such opportunities:
- Upload audio to the cloud so that users can listen to it without downloading. At the same time, unlike other online music platforms, SoundCloud allows you to listen to audio not only inside your site or application, but also on other sites like Facebook or Twitter.
- Promote tracks, events and merchandise within SoundCloud and analyze the effectiveness of your efforts. In addition, the platform allows you to automatically upload songs uploaded to SoundCloud to other online music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music.
- Directly communicate with fans and receive feedback from them. SoundCloud has some social networking features such as post publishing, news feed, commenting on posts and tracks.
- Monetize your content similar to YouTube monetization. Artists can also sell tickets to concerts, branded items and merchandise.
For ordinary users, the site provides such opportunities:
- The user can go to the artist profile to see what he has published and what playlists he has. If the user likes the artist, he can follow him, like on Facebook, to track his new posts and tracks. In addition, you can comment, like, share and upload audio tracks, as well as write a message to your favorite artist.
- The user can create his own playlists - public and private. The number of playlists and tracks in them is not limited by anything. It is possible to share playlists with other users on the SoundCloud platform, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Telegram or VKontakte.
- Users can also launch a kind of radio station: select the song they like, click on the three dots below the track and select Station to play a series of similar tracks. At the same time, the system saves the last listened radio stations..
License to play music
To create your own music app clone,
you need to obtain the appropriate permissions and licenses. If these are songs of independent artists, then the copyright belongs to them. In this case, the necessary permissions can be obtained directly from the artist when he signs the User Agreement or uploads audio tracks to your platform.
If the artist signed a contract with a label and recorded his song in the label's studio, then the rights to this recording belong to the label, at least partially. Usually the rights to the composition itself remain with the musician, but he can instruct the publisher to manage these rights. Song rights management means licensing songs, collecting royalties, maintaining accounting records and other administrative matters. Also, sometimes artists completely sell the rights to their compositions to the publisher.
All music streaming pro-forms and Internet radio stations must be entitled to reproduce songs and / or the right to make copies of sound recordings and compositions, and pay royalties to copyright holders. The type of license you need and the structure that issues it depends on the type of service and country.
For example, in the United States, radio stations pay approved government agencies, which in turn already pay the song copyright holders: songwriters, labels, music publishers. Royalties for song reproduction in the United States are set by the Copyright Royalty Board
Applications for streaming music on request receive a license from:
- Performance Rights Organizations (PRO). These are organizations such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. They are responsible for collecting royalties on behalf of songwriters, labels and publishers when a song is broadcast or performed in public.
- SoundExchange. The organization collects and distributes royalty payments for digital performances of songs on behalf of over 200,000 artist accounts and fundamental music rights holders.
To run your own music-on-demand streaming application, you must obtain licenses from the following organizations:
- Major labels such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Bros.
- The independent Merlin network of indie artists.
- Publishers such as Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony / ATV.
SoundCloud clone functionality
Regardless of which music streaming app you intend to launch, they all have a fairly standard overall set of essential features. Here is a brief description.
Registration and authorization.
You can listen to music on SoundCloud without registration, but that's all. Uploading your music to the service, saving your favorite tracks, creating playlists, personal recommendations and many other functions are available only to registered users. At the same time, the registration form is standard: via email or accounts on Facebook, Google and Apple. Other sites, such as Spotify, check the user's location during registration to deselect those who do not fall under the jurisdiction of the streaming site's
Simple search and navigation
. Your clone platform
should be able to easily and quickly search for tracks, artists, albums, genres by keywords. Plus, you can search for music by mood and activity like Spotify and Pandora Premium do.
. Usually, the more songs users can find in your application, the better. But there are nuances:
- Do you want to launch a service where you can find music of any artist and genre, or will it be a niche project? For example, your platform may target folk, rock, disco, independent artists, and 30s music fans.
- Which countries are you targeting? This is important both for filling the music library, and for what licenses will need to be obtained.
- Where will you store the music track files? Typically, Amazon S3 or other cloud-based Content Delivery Network (CDN) are used.
- How will you broadcast music to listeners? SoundCloud, Spotify and most other services use HLS (HTTP Live Streaming).
- What is the best format for storing music? The size of the files and the quality of the music depend on this. SoundCloud uses three formats: opus (64 kb/s), mp3 (128/320 kb/s), aac (192/256 kb/s). Spotify supports Vorbis (128-320 kb/s), Tidal — FLAC (320/1411/4608 kb/s).
. This is one of the main reasons why users choose Spotify, Pandora Music, or Apple Music. SoundCloud implements the recommendations in the Station function, but it is not as good as the competitors, so it is better to clone it from another service.
Here are the technologies used for personalized recommendations:
- Spotify opted for Echo Nest, a technology that uses data mining and machine learning techniques to collect information about songs, albums, artists and genres. In addition, Echo Nest allows you to track listener behavior (play songs, reps, skips, bans, favorites) and use this behavioral data to personalize playlists.
- Pandora recommendations are based on the Music Genome Project, an automated musicological analysis technology that ignores genres, user connections and ratings. Instead, the platform tries to figure out exactly what a particular listener likes: the algorithm analyzes which songs the user listens to and notes most often, then analyzes the musical structure of the tracks, and based on this data, Pandora makes personal recommendations for songs with similar features.
- Apple Music uses proprietary technology that little is known about because the company doesn't like to talk about it. There are only hints that the system uses a hybrid model that takes into account user-created playlists and listening history.
. This is the main function of any music application. It should be pleasing to the eye and intuitive, and support the following features:
Uploading your songs to the service
- Standard features. Play and stop playback, rewind a track, switch to the next and previous track, select the track sorting option (by list, randomly, repeat this track). In addition, it should be possible to add a song to favorites or another playlist, recommend the track to friends within the platform or through social networks, ban the track.
- Downloading songs. In SoundCloud, this function is available to everyone even without registration, but it is implemented not as a direct download of a song, but as a window with links to services where you can download a song. Other sites like Spotify or Google Play Music can download the song locally, but this is only available to premium users or those who bought the track.
. SoundCloud allows anyone to upload their tracks to the app and make them available for others to listen to. This is usually done by artists looking to gain public support or advertise their concerts. Regular users can also upload a song to the platform, but there may be issues related to the absence of copyright for the music composition.