Tools For Transparency: Finding Uses for SoundCloud


Bridget Todd is stepping in for Scott Stadum, who will return to Tools for Transparency next week.

SoundCloud wants to be for audio what You Tube is for video.

The free audio distribution platform allows users to upload audio files to share with listeners. Here at Sunlight, we’re still playing around with SoundCloud to find ways it might be useful for transparency.  While there are several similar audio distribution services out there (Bandcamp and Soundclick come to mind) I find SoundCloud to be distinctive in some important ways.

One particularly impressive feature SoundCloud offers is the ability for listeners to insert comments into specific portions of the audio file. This allows listeners to be more precise with their comments, rather than being limited to commenting on the entire file in general.

Take for instance a recent audio stream from electronic musician Four Tet.

Here, listeners were able to make specific comments on particular segments of the song, rather than on the entirety song in general. This feature has the potential to lend a new sense of collaboration to Sunlight audio streams of hearings or speeches because listeners can actually see their own input at the exact moment that response occurred.

The platform also boasts plenty of app integration, one of the most impressive being the Take Question app. Take Question allows listeners to post any question for the uploader to answer, further adding to the potential for listener collaboration.

SoundCloud also allows users to easily embed audio files into websites or blogs, which would be particularly useful for Sunlight coverage of meetings and hearings.

Lastly, SoundCloud offers users a handy smartphone app that allows them to record and upload audio on-the-go using their mobile device.



What about you? What kinds of audio would you most like to interact with on SoundCloud?