PARIS—SoundCloud, the Berlin-based startup that allows users to share sounds, and not just music, is making a big noise here about sound.
Alex Ljung, the co-founder and CEO who was at Le Web to announce the next version of the product, said the site now gets 10 hours of sounds uploaded for every minute of the day.
“It is the place on the web for all the different sounds of the world,” he said. He claimed the platform reached over 180 million people — although stressed that was not the number of registered users.
SoundCloud is, as the name suggests, about sounds — so not just music but speech, comedy, stories, crying babies and even presidential addresses.
According to Mr. Ljung, President Obama has signed up to use SoundCloud to distribute his weekly addresses and key speeches. “He got elected for his second term, and one of the first things he did was to join SoundCloud. We like to think he got his priorities right.”
The new version of the site, which is a lot cleaner and simpler to use and is rather prosaically called “Next”, has a heavier focus on search and discovery.
“We have launched an explorer section,” said Mr. Ljung. “You can get new fresh content. We measure a lot of things like how active people have been with the sound, so we really have the stuff that is new.”
He said they rebuilt the search that takes into account a number of parameters, but at heart uses machine learning to learn your interests to allow you to find more relevant content more quickly.
It also has a related sounds feature. According to Mr. Ljung the system looks at both the sound itself, analyzing it and finding similar tracks, but also at user behavior around a sound file.
Social sharing remains a key part of the site, he said. Music remains a key part of the site and he said the popular rapper Big Boi was a good example of how musicians can communicate with their fans.
“He got really engaged with the community and got 100,000 followers really fast. As soon as he posts something he gets tons of attention. It is a really great way for artists to build up a closeness to listeners.”
Sets is another new feature, allowing a user to create playlists of any public tracks, and then being able to share them with other users across SoundCloud or other social networks like Facebook FB -0.11%, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest.
SoundCloud has lined up an impressive array of investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as well as Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures and Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures.
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