App of the Week: SoundCloud

Title: SoundCloud

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS 4.0 or later, Also available in the Android Market.

Launched on January 12th of this year, SoundCloud is not the first sound recording app, but I would argue that it is certainly the most polished. SoundCloud gives users the ability to record sounds, with the choice to then share them publically with friends and followers or keep them private. When you first employ the app, you will be prompted to create a free account by designating yourself a username and password along with the option of adding a photo to your profile. The next step is to choose sounds or people to follow. By searching for people, you can find your favorite music artists and the new sound bites they record. Just like with Twitter, real bands have the “Official” seal of approval on their account so users know that it is, in fact, the actual artist or band behind the account. This is a great way to hear new music that hasn’t even been released yet. Fans can get a sneak peak of what is coming down the pike and musicians have the ability to get their music out before the album is released.

Not only does this app have excellent features for music fans, but it’s also, ideal for aspiring musicians. SoundCloud is the perfect way for budding teen artists to record their sounds and share them with the world. The sharing featuring links to Facebook to help the user locate friends who also use the app as well as to post sound recordings, for others to hear. Within the app there is a tab called “stream,” where you can look at recent activity within your follower community. From there, you can also listen to new sounds complete with timestamps noting when they were originally posted.

The app is not even a month old, but I can foresee this being a very useful tool for teens who are into GarageBand, YouTube, and many of the other music-inclined apps available for mobile devices. The social networking angle will be most appealing for teens who wish to get “discovered”. For tweens and teens who may not have a Facebook account, the option to keep your sounds private is most appealing. Recording your sounds and keeping them private is like a new spin on journal writing for teens. Instead of writing down lyrics or poetry in a diary, they can now be recorded with or without instruments. ‘ Youth librarians may find this app inspiring in creating a variety of programs with children and teens. I’m personally anxious to find out if and how teens are using SoundCloud.

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