SoundCloud is Podcasting for the Microblogging World

Lego SoundCloudRemember six or seven years ago when podcasting was going to be the end of radio? well that didn’t exactly work out the way it was supposed to. Podcasting is still a very valuable medium for very specific audiences. It works great for personalities that are able to draw their passionate audiences in to a regular show. Podcasting also works well with a B2B audience, for education and for music, audiophiles. But it never gained traction with the general mainstream.

There are a few reasons podcasting never gained mainstream adoption. Podcasters didn’t have the rights to play music, that is unless they were already associated with a radio station or other media company that already licensed the rights. Production of podcasts is another deterrent. While producing a podcast is relatively simple, it still requires some equipment, software and the patients to learn how to produce and edit it. Finally, I’d argue the last barrier to producing a podcast is hosting and distribution. Hosting large audio files can be expensive, especially for a pure hobbyist and then distributing that podcast via iTunes and other podcast distribution channels is relatively simple, but still above what your average person is willing to take on.

Enter SoundCloud

The bottom line is that for your average person, podcasting is just too much work – especially in a 140 character world. This is where SoundCloud comes in. SoundCloud is super easy, it’s free, up to 120 minutes, and pretty cheap after that.

SoundCloud has really easy apps for your phone that allows you to record, post and share quick and easy “sounds” (think mini podcasts). Here’s one I did while traveling last week.
My new favorite quote. by tacanderson

There’s no editing needed, no intro’s or background music, just quick little audio posts. You can, of course, do a more professional sounding podcast if you want. This is probably the best approach if you want to attract advertisers or if you’re doing this as part of a company marketing effort. But I’d still keep it simple.

And while SoundCloud doesn’t produce an RSS feed, it’s super easy to hook SoundCloud up to a Tumblr account and push your “sounds” through Tumblr. And while SoundCloud is targeting the music industry, there are several non-music examples, like Robert Scoble and Fred Wilson.

The other great thing is that SoundCloud is very social, as people can leave visual comments right in the player itself and if you combine it with Tumblr you have the advantage of their built-in community as well.

You can see my SoundCloud account here, the New Comm Biz lite Tumblr account I’m pushing posts through and you can expect a lot more SoundCloud posts from me.

[UPDATE] More conversation here and here.

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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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  • Jeremy Meyers

    Responding to your response “Production of audio needs to be easier and that’s one reason I think
    Soundcloud is such a good thing. I also think there easy integration
    with Tumblr is super smart. I almost think that podcasting needs to
    ditch the “radio” metaphor. I almost think the episodic nature of
    podcasting is a problem.”

    An issue close to my heart (as you know)

    I think podcasting is still way way in its infancy. And like many things
    in their infancy, they take cues from similar existing tech (in this
    case, radio).

    Many shows use “radio” as a starting point (segments, tone, etc) because
    it’s a safe, known entity.  This works for some, who really know how to
    work in that style (see: Adam Carolla)  but for others it can be very
    forced and boring.

    This works for some content.  However there are so many other approaches (like what i’m doing with my company Deeper Context).

    The defining characteristic of “Podcasts” vs “Online Audio” is that
    podcasts are episodic (i.e. there are multiple, loosely connected audio
    or video files that make up a single “Podcast” entity) and they are ALL
    AVAILABLE ALL THE TIME.  In that way, there is structure, there is
    freedom, and there is history. 

    When producers choose to create completely self-contained episodes with
    no particular relation to each other, they are not taking advantage of
    the last part.  I’ve been thinking a lot (again) about how constraints
    are vital to creativity, and also how small parts come together to tell a
    larger human story.

    I truly believe that podcasting can be one of the most intimate ways to
    connect with a community.  It can also be boring as hell.

    This reminds me a lot of gaming.  We live in a world where there are
    graphics processors sitting in peoples living rooms capable of
    convincingly creating all kinds of magical alien worlds where human laws
    like physics have no reason to apply, and most of the most popular
    games are big hulking men running across ‘alien landscapes’ that look
    like the Nevada desert.

    We’re only just beginning with this.  When business learns to value intimacy, then the sea change will happen. 

    In the meantime, come see me if you’re there already :)

  • tacanderson

    I would love to see podcasting achieve it’s once hoped for glory but I still think audio will work best – episodic or sporadic – when it’s either personality driven or when it’s used to augment an existing content strategy. But that’s just my opinion, and I do think it’s still the early days. I doubt we’ll think of podcasting the same we do now in another 5 or 10 years. 

  • Jeremy Meyers

    God I hope we’re not doing ANYTHING the same in 5 or 10 years.

    What i try to drill into people’s heads is that podcasting is not a STYLE, its a DISTRIBUTION METHOD.

  • tacanderson

    100% agree.