I’ve shown you how to share files with individuals via YouSendIt. I’ve also talked about using Dropbox and Carbonite to share files among your own devices. But suppose you want to share (legal original) music or sound files to a group of people, e.g., your band, or with the general public?
If you have your own website you can stream MP3s from there – but that could quickly use up your monthly data transfer allotment if the tracks are popular or large. If you are selling the tracks you could set up a Bandcamp account and post them there.
But if these are files like band practice recordings, rough drafts, non-music audio samples, etc. you may prefer to use SoundCloud.
SoundCloud is a site created specifically for sharing audio files either publicly or privately. You can upload already-recorded files in pretty much any format, or record directly into your account via your computer’s mic, the SoundCloud smartphone app, or other apps which interface with the SoundCloud site.
Once you have a file uploaded you have access to many features:
- You can choose to have it be publicly visible, or a private file which may be accessed only by people to whom you give the coded URL (and you can change that code if you decide later to remove access from people to whom you gave it earlier).
- You can also choose whether to allow people to download the track or only stream it.
- The track is displayed as a waveform, and listeners can leave timed comments (e.g., at 2:10 someone says “love the horn here!”).
- You can group files into playlists which have their own URL.
- You can get code for widgets to post on other websites, so that, e.g., people visiting your band website can play your tracks right there without needing to go to the SoundCloud site. For example, here is a widget from a set on my Soundcloud account of my 2012 RPM Challenge album:
What does this cost? Either nothing, or various levels of membership that allow you to store more files, organize more playlists, and get more statistics on who listens.
- The Free option allows you to upload 120 minutes of (any size) audio files, gives you one type of widget, allows 100 downloads of a track.
- The Premium options (Lite, Solo, Pro & Pro Plus) give you increased total track time, unlimited downloads by listeners, more types of widgets, lets you download the original tracks you uploaded and/or replace them with new tracks, and gets you tech support.
I’ve been happy with the Solo option, which gives me 12 hours of tracks and costs me €79/year – that’s Euros as they are based in Germany. You can pay in Euros via PayPal.