Why Soundcloud's Marriage With GarageBand Is Only the Start

By Tom Davenport on at

Berlin start-up Soundcloud just hit the big time with official GarageBand integration. Does this mark the first step towards a world where all audio is stored in the cloud?

Hooking up with GarageBand is a huge milestone for the Soundcloud team. Sure, it can claim to have single-handedly killed off MySpace, but no one likes to show off about finishing a dying dog. Beyond that, it eased the lives of audio professionals by de-taxing the transfer of huge audio files, simultaneously overhauling the way music is shared on blogs. It was a stark change to the FTP headaches of yesteryear. Quite frankly, the music industry would be lost without it.

Apple's acknowledgement of the Germany company with the latest GarageBand update is a huge milestone. Soundcloud knows Apple is a fast path to millions of new users, which can only enrich their growing community, pegged at 4 million last May. And this is only the start, with Soundcloud’s Henrik Lenberg explaining their vision:

"The next step for all these apps, beyond letting users share their creations, is to add features for browsing sounds from other users and have meaningful social interactions within the apps."

It means producers will eventually have a near-infinite audio resource via instant access to the online Soundcloud catalogue, be it free creative commons samples or their own private library. It's a big deal, and is already seeing implementation in apps by Presonus and Korg, where samples can be browsed as if they were on your own computer.

Henrik hopes further integration will take a social slant too. "Just imagine how nice it would be if you open your favourite music app and get a notification saying 'you've got a new comment' saying something like 'nice beat, I've used it in my latest song.'" He proposes an unprecedented collaborative experience for music makers, whether they're bedroom producers or seasoned studio pros.

It's almost as if Soundcloud is the first social network which didn't beg you to visit its site to see ads. And despite Soundcloud being perhaps the only streaming site where artists aren't paid per play, many musicians are content to cough up an annual subscription starting at €29 (£24) for extra features. The promotional power of Soundcloud pays them back in far more subversive ways than those measly Spotify payouts.

GarageBand is however not the first audio software to enable instant Soundcloud sharing. Industry favourite Pro Tools 10 introduced it last year, and it was recently added to Cubase 6.5. GarageBand joining the queue this week merely establishes the trend.

Proof, if ever we needed it, that good companies with great products will win in the end. Especially when they work together.