What is SoundCloud? Everything you need to know about the music and podcast platform

SoundCloud and heaphones
SoundCloud is a free music streaming and distribution platform with paid tiers for users and artists.

  • SoundCloud is an online audio streaming and distribution platform that allows users to upload, stream, promote, and share music and podcasts.
  • SoundCloud is free, with paid subscriptions offering ad-free listening and offline listening options for fans. 
  • SoundCloud is available on the desktop and mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

SoundCloud is an online audio streaming and music sharing platform founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2007. 

The interactive nature of SoundCloud allows creators – from musicians to podcasters – to connect with listeners and fans through its various sharing tools. That includes a feature SoundCloud is perhaps most known for – its popular commenting feature. It allows users to share their thoughts on specific moments in an audio stream, which are then visible by anyone who listens to the track. 

What you need to know about SoundCloud

SoundCloud is available online and for iOS and Android devices, and the basic version is free. Here’s everything else you need to know about SoundCloud. 

How much does SoundCloud cost

While anyone can sign up and use SoundCloud at no-cost, there are advanced features that will require a monthly subscription. 

The first premium tier on the platform for users is SoundCloud Go, and it costs just $4.99 a month. With SoundCloud Go, users can save an unlimited number of tracks for offline listening and enjoy an ad-free listening experience. 

Man with guitar in front of computer
SoundCloud offers tiered subscriptions for listeners and creators.

SoundCloud Go+ is the next level up. For $9.99 a month, subscribers enjoy all the benefits of SoundCloud Go plus higher quality audio and access to SoundCloud’s full catalog.

For creators, there’s the option of SoundCloud Pro Unlimited. SoundCloud Basic allows you to upload three hours of audio content and access to stats like the number of track plays and likes.

SoundCloud Pro Unlimited
Musicians have multiple paid tiers to support their songs on Spotify.

But SoundCloud Pro Unlimited offers even more listener statistics, unlimited audio uploads, opportunities to monetize and distribute audio tracks across other platforms, and more. SoundCloud Pro Unlimited costs $12 a month if you sign up for a yearly subscription or $16 for month-to-month billing.

How to use SoundCloud as a listener

Go to SoundCloud.com or download the SoundCloud app and create an account. You can do this by entering your email address and choosing a password or signing up via your Facebook, Apple, or Google account.

To edit your profile, click your display name on the top right of the screen, then click “Profile.” Upload a header image and profile image to personalize your page. To edit your display name or profile url, click the “Edit” button underneath the header image. Here, you can also add or edit your bio and note your full name, city, and country if you’d like. Click “Save changes” when you’re finished.

Soundcloud Profile
SoundCloud users can share their location, a bio, and links on their profile.

To start listening, navigate to the “Discover” page by clicking the “Home” tab to see what’s trending or search for specific content using the search bar. Comment, like, and repost tracks you like; these options are all found underneath the waveforms of individual audio tracks. 

SoundCloud Discover
The Discover tab on SoundCloud helps you find new music to enjoy.

You can create playlists by clicking the “More” button, then click “Add to playlist.” Click the “Follow” button under an artist’s name to follow their new tracks, playlists, and reposts. These will appear in your “Stream” tab alongside the tracks you upload and repost. Your likes and playlists live in the “Library” tab.

SoundCloud Artist Profile
Follow or listen to tracks from your favorite artist’s SoundCloud profile.

How to use SoundCloud as an artist

Using SoundCloud is a bit more involved for creators, as there are many tools at your disposal to share your work and grow your audience.

To upload a track to SoundCloud, click “Upload.” You can drag and drop files into the upload box or choose files to upload from your computer. Consider setting the privacy for your audio track by clicking “Public” or “Private.” You can also choose to enable downloads for your track and add or change track information. 

SoundCloud Upload
Artists at any subscription tier can upload their music to SoundCloud.

SoundCloud stresses the importance of copyright and notes that uploaded tracks must comply with their Terms of Use and not infringe on anyone else’s rights. In other words, don’t upload audio that doesn’t belong to you.

The SoundCloud Creator Guide offers a comprehensive look at all of the tools and resources available to artists to help them get the most out of the platform. It includes tips on optimizing SoundCloud tracks to make them easy to find, instructions on how to share your SoundCloud tracks on social media and embedded players, and more. 

How to cancel your SoundCloud Go plan and go back to free music streamingHow to make a playlist on SoundCloud to organize all your favorite music and podcastsHow to change your SoundCloud username or profile URL, and give yourself a rebrandHow to download SoundCloud songs from the website onto your computer, or from the mobile app with SoundCloud Go

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