SoundCloud cut more than 40% of its staff and closed two of its offices last week in an effort to keep its doors open. Hopefully they’ll pull it around, but now is a definitely good time to ensure that any music you currently have on the service doesn’t get lost should SoundCloud fold. We’ve listed four steps to help you do just that…
4 Ways To Do It
1. Keep backups of your music and mixes on your hard drive
One way to lose your music forever is to not have an offline backup of it. If you rely on music services to house your tunes, then you become reliant on their continued existence. This is a bad idea because so many things can happen: their terms and conditions can change (eg SoundCloud), they get sued (Mixlr), they refuse to adapt (eg Friendster, MySpace), and many others.
Do this: Keep copies of every single piece of music that you upload on a hard drive. I made the mistake of trusting my music to be stored indefinitely online, and so when SoundCloud terminated my account because of my mashups and bootlegs, I didn’t have copies of them anywhere else. Hard lesson learned.
2. Transfer your mixes and podcasts to Mixcloud or Hearthis.At
If you’re still uploading your mixtapes and podcast shows to SoundCloud (and for some reason you aren’t getting flagged for it), do yourself a favour and upload them to a service that is meant to house these longer-format tracks such as Mixcloud and Hearthis.At.
If you create mixtapes or mixshows regularly, say twice a month, consider also signing up for a service like Buzzsprout, which hosts and distributes podcasts. Podcasting has been steadily gaining traction, and if you create mixshows frequently, this is one outlet that’s worth exploring since it isn’t too crowded yet as far as DJ podcast mixshows go.
3. Put your original music on Bandcamp, Spotify and iTunes
SoundCloud may still have one of the most active communities for DJ/producers, but it isn’t the only one out there. Bandcamp still is a great place to upload your original music, and you can set how much you want to charge for downloads (whether free or not). It’s also worth considering placing your productions up on music streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music, along with download stores like iTunes and Amazon Music.
While getting your music on Bandcamp is free, you do need to sign up with an aggregator to get on Spotify / Apple Music and online music stores. Aggregators like Tunecore and CD Baby are popular options, and you need to pay an annual fee in order to do this, but having your own music up on these sites makes them more “legitimate”.
4. Upload your mixtapes and mashups to YouTube
Even though it’s a video streaming site, YouTube is the second best outlet for music discovery (it was recently dethroned by Spotify). Though mashups and bootlegs are grey areas in terms of copyright, YouTube doesn’t seem to be as strict as it used to be, as long as the tunes you post aren’t too massive. There was a time that my top 40 mashups were removed due to copyright, but these days they can sometimes slip under the radar, or they’re just “claimed” by labels, who in turn earn from each video view.
Creating a video for your mashup or mixes is easy – drop the track into an app like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, slap a DJ logo or image on it, export, and then upload it to YouTube. Depending on the content of your mix or mashup, you may just be able to get it to stay on the site without issue. Just don’t expect that, and be prepared should your channel get slapped and terminated should something change…
Seems like every time SoundCloud is in the news it’s for something dire. It’s a hardy company for sure, and it may be down but it certainly isn’t not out (at least at the time of this writing), but should the service go under, these steps will ensure that your DJ music and content don’t go down with it.
Where do you upload your mixes and productions now? Have you ever had problems with SoundCloud? Did you have any experiences with takedowns and copyright flagging? What’d you do after that? Share your thoughts below.