SoundCloud is well known within the recording industry and among music enthusiasts as a secure online space to share audio tracks, ranging from unfinished ideas shared between musicians to finished tracks getting pre-released to reviewers and radio stations. More than two million users have signed up for accounts.
This morning, the company took a step toward broadening its audience with a new free version of its iPhone app that will let users record sounds and post them immediately to their SoundCloud account. Users can also tag sounds with a location and add an image.
Musicians could find it useful for recording and sharing impromptu ideas and jam sessions, but SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung envisions it a general-purpose tool, like an equivalent to Instagram for audio content. People could use it to record and share lectures, live concerts, ambient sounds, even conversations between journalists and sources.
Although the app is free, SoundCloud requires users to sign up for an account to post files online. Free accounts can upload a maximum of 120 minutes and can only share tracks with up to 100 users. After that, paid tiers start at 29 Euro per year and offer more recording time, more sharing, and other benefits. All users can control the spread of confidential tracks by sending out so-called secret links to named users, who can’t pass them along, and by dictating that users can only stream (not download) audio from those links.
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