They say when you post something online, it's there forever – but the demise of many social networking platforms in the past have proven it's not always the case.
The internet made it incredibly easy for artists to share their life's work on the internet but platforms have come and gone, and with them are thousands of audio tracks, videos, and photos that will never see the light of day.
Despite the uncertainty, social networking sites like SoundCloud have thrived and become robust communities composed of independent artists and avid music fans from around the world.
SoundCloud recently faced a financial crisis that threatened its very existence. Many were on the edge of their seats as rumors spread that the sound-sharing platform only had weeks to live. The rumors drove some groups of people to start mass-archiving everything and anything they could get their hands on.
But SoundCloud pulled through at the very last minute and secured funding from some of their biggest investors ever. They went on to reassure the public that they're not going anywhere.
SoundCloud also reminded the public that archiving content they have no ownership over is a violation of their Community Guidelines and is considered a copyright infringement.
In this day and age where permanence on the internet is a bit more uncertain than it may appear, should music makers, podcasters, and avid fans always archive their own content and not rely solely on external sources like SoundCloud?
Let's find out today.
Image credit: Archive Team Twitter
It's no secret that SoundCloud was recently hit by a financial crisis recently. The same fiasco drove thousands of SoundCloud users to archive some of the tracks that were on the platform.
People were even more motivated to try to save their favorite music when SoundCloud announced it had to close one of their satellite offices and let 40% of their workforce go.
A group of internet preservationists who work under the name of The Archive Project said they plan to archive the oldest and most-searched tracks on SoundCloud. The volunteers of The Archive Project donate a portion of their bandwidth and disc space in order to host the music.
Archive Team plans large scale backing up of Soundcloud soon, but seriously, please donate money to the Archive. https://t.co/0Oz1IFVWWD
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) July 14, 2017
The Archive Project team are the same people who saved content and files from now-defunct sites such as GeoCities, TwitPic, and Google Video.
Jason Scott, one of the volunteers of The Archive Team, tweeted that as much as they wanted to save all of the tracks from SoundCloud, the cost to save all the data will run in the millions and they don't have the financial resources to do so. That’s why they were targeting the oldest and most-searched tracks.
Scott tweeted “Archive Team plans large-scale backing up of Soundcloud soon, but seriously, please donate money to the Archive. https://Archive.org/donate,” encouraging the public to contribute to the project in whichever way they can.
He also explained why they couldn't save the entire library of SoundCloud content.
So, a heads up this fine morning: I know people want @internetarchive to mirror Soundcloud. It's a petabyte of music, people.
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) July 13, 2017
Scott also tweeted “So, a heads up this fine morning: I know people want @internetarchive to mirror Soundcloud. It's a petabyte of music, people.”
Now that SoundCloud is on the up-and-up, consider purchasing a few thousand bought SoundCloud Plays from a reputable provider. Bought Plays can help you solidify your status as a play-worthy artist on SoundCloud.
They will also draw more attention to your tracks and body of work. Once you've made your music more attractive with bought Plays and other social signals, you'll have a much easier time securing success in your chosen genre, both on and off SoundCloud.
Even before SoundCloud secured funds from investors, SoundCloud was already vocal about stopping people from archiving tracks from their platform unless they were the owners of the music.
SoundCloud ordered The Archive Team to halt their project. The sound-sharing platform also discouraged the public from archiving tracks.
Scott tweeted “Due to a request by SoundCloud, archiving and storage of SoundCloud is ending immediately.”
Due to a request by Soundcloud, archiving and storage of Soundcloud is ending immediately.
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) July 20, 2017
Despite facing hard times, SoundCloud was adamant about not going anywhere. They reassured the public that all tracks uploaded on SoundCloud are as safe as they can ever be — on the internet, at least.
They are also quick to remind everyone, the public and members of the Archive Project, that downloading tracks without the permission of the owner is a clear violation of the copyright laws and the community guidelines.
SoundCloud's recent financial crisis had everyone on the edge of their seats — fans and music makers alike.
But SoundCloud has proven that it's an agile company that can outlast any financial hurdle, even if it means having its founder step down as the CEO. SoundCloud has already proven that it's willing to do everything it can to remain one of the most robust platforms for sound-sharing on the internet.
At this point, it's already clear that downloading other people's tracks without their permission is a clear violation of SoundCloud's Community Guidelines. It is possible to enable downloads for tracks, but for tracks without this enabled it is against the ToS.
You're not allowed to download tracks from SoundCloud without the owner's permission but if you're thinking about archiving your own tracks then, by all means, do so. It's always a good idea to have a backup of everything you worked so hard for.
But SoundCloud has already proven that it's an agile company that can weather any storm. If you're planning on archiving tracks on SoundCloud in fear of the platform vanishing in thin air, you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons.
Archive your tracks to build your discography in a variety of places other than SoundCloud. As an artist, your creations — be they podcast episodes or music tracks — are the only tangible proof of your works. You should always have access to your body of work, with or without the internet.
SoundCloud has helped thousands of artists turn an internet success into a real-life career in music. These artists made it on top by not solely relying on SoundCloud for their success.
Over the past decade, many independent artists used SoundCloud as their platform to bring their tracks closer to a global audience. These artists achieved success by working hard both on SoundCloud and on other platforms — and they're able to do all that by collecting and hosting their own tracks.
SoundCloud's ability to nimbly adapt to every situation is proof that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Archiving and/or storing somebody else's tracks on SoundCloud is a clear violation of SoundCloud's Community Guidelines. If you really want to support an artist you found on SoundCloud, go to their concerts, share their music with your friends online, and play their tracks as much as you can. Some of their music might be available for free download, but in other cases you may need to buy it or go without.
If you're an artist on SoundCloud, you should have a backup strategy for all your tracks. Archive your music or podcast episodes so you can access your body of work online or offline. Having a reliable backup of all your tracks helps you bring your music closer to both online and offline audiences.
You should also consider purchasing a few thousand SoundCloud Plays from a reputable provider. Bought Plays can help you appear more credible in the eyes of avid SoundCloud listeners everywhere, drawing them to listen to your tracks. If they like what they hear, they’ll join your legion of followers.
Instead of focusing your energy and resources on archiving tracks as fast as possible, work on improving the quality of your music and podcasts. And don’t forget to put some time into marketing your tracks off SoundCloud so you can grow your following beyond the internet.
Date: November 6, 2017 / Categories: New Stuff, / Author: Mariko
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