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SoundCloud is quickly becoming the musician’s venue of choice for instant artistic collaboration, helping millions of artists and music lovers promote, distribute, and create their own music via the cloud.

System Specifications

  • Bandwidth (Why High?): SoundCloud requires a large amount of bandwidth due to the high amounts of content being submitted by users and the heavy content that is being streamed to those users.
  • CPU (Why Medium?): SoundCloud uses a fair amount of processing power in their editing software, and to play and receive music, etc, but the interface features of the website are still fairly basic.
  • Disk (Why High?): Users can store thousands of songs at a good quality, which uses up quite a bit of disk space.
  • RAM (Why Medium?): The music site is pulling quite a bit of data heavy content in order to stream music, but the amount of data being accessed by individual users at any given time is fairly consistent.
  • Scalability (Why High?): In order to run a high quality streaming site, scalability is going to be a top priorities. With traffic fluctuating and information coming and going, in order to provide a reliable and efficient service, scalability should be high on the spec charts.

Overview

Emerging in 2007 as a social networking site devoted entirely to the sharing of music, SoundCloud has fast become the go-to site for millions of musicians and music lovers looking for a way to easily share and collaborate on music through the Internet.

History

Before 2007 and the invention of SoundCloud, it was difficult to send or receive large music files over the Internet. Co-founder, Alex Ljung related his frustration to Wired magazine, stating that he wanted a site that was to music what Flickr was to photos and Vimeo was to videos. The web was missing a social platform that would allow musicians to easily share their music, so he and Eric Wahlforss filled that space with SoundCloud. Later, they added features to facilitate feedback and strengthen the collaboration and music-creation aspect of the site even further.

Only a few months after its creation, SoundCloud rivaled Myspace’s dominance as an audio sharing platform. In 2009, SoundCloud received 2.5 million euros from Doughty Hanson and Co., a British investment company, allowing them to expand to one million subscribers by May of 2010. The founders went on to raise an additional $10 million from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures, and by June 2011, SoundCloud had reached 5 million users.

Features

The goal of SoundCloud is to create the ultimate sound sharing and creating experience. As a subscriber, you can upload your original tracks to the SoundCloud interface as well as use its features to record your music. Additionally, SoundCloud has hundreds of compatible apps to enhance your recording and production experience.

After creating an account, you can follow your friends, listen to their tracks, and tell them what you think. Your personal uploads and recordings are saved to your profile, where you can share information about yourself, your music, or anything else that interests you. Users interact with each other through their profiles by making general comments, or by commenting on specific audio files. There is even the option to comment on specific moments during the playback of any recording, giving the musician a better, more accurate critique of their music.

Another key feature of SoundCloud is its optional integration with Facebook and Twitter and the ability to store files with unique URLs, making it very simple to share your music, as well as feedback, on other social networks as well.

System

SoundCloud is ranked as the 313th most trafficked site in the U.S., and 366th in the world by Alexa. The website is hosted by Atom86, an Amsterdam-based hosting company.

In the beginning, SoundCloud used Sun Solaris-based servers, which are known for their ability to scale and accommodate large and growing data sets. Afterwards, it switched to using Nginx. Nginx web servers can run on most operating systems and deliver fixed content at high speeds, with efficient use of the system’s resources. These web servers are often used as a faster replacement for Apache (which is typically run in Unix based environments). Their purpose is to provide higher throughput for heavy content sites by eliminating unneeded features of a typical Unix platform, which in turn improves the performance of the specific website it’s molded for.

Summary

Created in 2007, SoundCloud is now the leader in original music sharing and sound social networking. Because it’s hosted by Atom86, and is using Nginx, SoundCloud provides a fast and easy way to upload or record music, interact with other users, and share your creations via other social networks. You can listen to your favorite artist’s new creations, or record some new mixes you made. Whether listening and recording, or just browsing and commenting, it’s all possible with SoundCloud.

Sources

Amazon.com. “Soundcloud.com Site Info.” Alexa.
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/soundcloud.com (accessed November 23, 2011).

“SoundCloud mobile – Proxies.” SoundCloud Backstage.
http://backstage.soundcloud.com/2011/08/soundcloud-mobile-proxies/#more-487 (accessed November 23, 2011).

Townsend, Stewart. “Soundcloud up and running on Sun servers, Solaris and a mixed architecture.” Oracle Blogs.
http://blogs.oracle.com/startups/entry/soundcloud_up_and_running_on (accessed November 23, 2011).

Van Buskirk, Eliot. “SoundCloud Threatens MySpace as Music Destination for Twitter Era.” Wired.com.
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/07/soundcloud-threatens-myspace-as-music-destination-for-twitter-era/ (accessed November 23, 2011).

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