The Doughnut

Bandcamp vs. ReverbNation vs. SoundCloud: Part Three

on , modified 31 Dec, 2013

New Soundcloud - Pros and Cons

So, if you’re a bit late to the party, you may have missed our three part comparison between the pros and cons of Bandcamp, ReverbNation and Soundcloud. It’s an important decision to make if you’re looking to upload and promote your music online, and as Oliver Chesler said, you’ll probably want to use all three.

But if you don’t have all the time and social media patience in the world you may want to choose just one, so take a quick browse through bullet points of Bandcamp vs. ReverbNation vs. SoundCloud before you commit.

  1. Part One: Pros and Cons of Bandcamp
  2. Part Two: Pros and Cons of ReverbNation
  3. Part Three: Pros and Cons of SoundCloud

Wait! What’s With The NEW SoundCloud!?

Before we Get started, here are some pointers on the new SoundCloud, or ‘next SoundCloud’ (which has yet to be rolled out):

  • A new interactive, prettier waveform.
  • Sets (which are not referred to as ‘playlists’) can be merged into a single waveform.
  • Real time notifications on comments, messages and so on.
  • Continuous play, meaning users can browse your profile without stopping your tunes.
  • Users and other artists can ‘repost’ your tracks, making sharing much more fluid!
  • An improved search function.

Benefits of SoundCloud

  • A clean interface. In fact, SoundCloud is as pretty as hell.
  • Great wave form visibility. Personally, I like to see what I’m listening to (if that makes sense).
  • Not only does it allow embedding but it provides a load of options for the publisher (HTML5, Flash etc).
  • Great “timed comment” system, meaning fans can discuss specific parts of a track easily and provide specific feedback.
  • Sending and sharing of files is really easy. Hmm, we should really get on that SoundCloud incoming inbox account, allowing artists to easily share directly with us.
  • Great analytics and a timeline of plays, comments and other metrics (though some are only for the premium account holders).
  • Each track has its own page complete with a unique URL address. Very handy.
  • No file size limits – perfect for the audiophiles or that conceptual 45 minute epic (the free account only allows 120 minutes total though, keep this in mind).
  • SoundCloud allows you to easily manage tracks or organise into sets.
  • Though the total is limited, you can set a maximum of free downloads, or extend them if your track becomes popular.
  • The ‘BandPage’ can look really spiff on Facebook, if implemented correctly.
  • The SoundCloud API allows for further third party development – We support this.
  • The many mobile apps allow for recording and uploading from a smart phone which is great for spontaneous recordings (not everything needs to be mastered).
  • SoundCloud has many great groups dedicated to various topics and genres (they even have meetups, if you’re into that kind of thing).
  • Fans can message you directly (not always a necessary, but this can be limited).
  • Drop any number of links into the about section (for those that have many online social habitats).
  • Allows for private areas and sets, so you can preview tracks to the media or a select group of people before going public.
  • The Creative Commons options mean you can collaborate with the work of others or let others use your music in another production (with some rights reserved, of course).

Card On Spokes on SoundCloud

As an example of an embedded track (and in keeping with the format of this series), here’s Card On Spokes; an old school friend, amazing bass player and talented SoundCloud user:

Disadvantages of SoundCloud

  • No gig listings.
  • Doesn’t allow as much visual personalisation as, say, Bandcamp. Not even a background image.
  • Users are not able to follow or comment without a SoundCloud account, (which most fans don’t have).
  • Number of downloads limited to 1000 per track with the free account.
  • Doesn’t allow purchases unless you have a distribution deal.
  • Continuous play means when someone plays your track, chances are Soundcloud will play another artists song straight after yours.

Music Marketing And Great New Tunes You’ve Never Heard

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  • One Meat Ball

    Musicians who post links to their Soundcloud songs on other websites have no way of controlling what songs play AFTER their song is finished. “Continuous Play” sends the listener to some other artist’s song. Very annoying.

    • The Doughnut magazine

      Great point! I’ve added it to the disadvantages section…

    • sleepd

      Not entirely true. Put your songs in a Set on Soundcloud. Post the link to the song in the Set. Or post the set link. When the first song ends, the next song in the set plays. That’s what I do.

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  • stan stewart

    You can list your gigs on Soundcloud using SongKick (probably others…that’s just the one I’m familiar with).

    Please leave the dates on your posts. Part one (Bandcamp) is very old and not applicable at all to the current features.

    • The Doughnut magazine

      Agreed, Stan. We have a redesign going live very shortly which addresses the published date issue.

      I’ll also be updating all three articles asap.

      • stan stewart

        Great! Thanks for responding.

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  • Samantha Gambon

    These articles were really helpful to me! Thank you so much for posting them. (For the record, I think I am deciding on BandCamp for my band!)

    • sleepd

      Bandcamp is great. But both Soundcloud and ReverbNation have their fans too. You can cover all bases by creating free accounts for your band on all three. When you reach a point that you are close to the limits on any one of them, consider paying for the next step upgrade.

  • djtorchMusic

    I’m not sure if I’m “feeling” soundcloud. They’ve gone to the “rich get richer” format by allow large companies to promote Artist (some not very good) so now it’s more of an outlet for “the popular” than it is for Artists with a smaller following. What I like about Soundcloud is that anyone is able to stream music without redirecting the viewer away from the social media page they are on. But, I’m strongly considering a change over to Bandcamp.

  • Lyka

    Reverbnation is a sneaky f**k. Signed up for a month of free membership. All crap news you receive to your email, BUT EXPIRATION OF FREE MEMBERSHIP they don’t send to make sure they charge you.