As of late, the leading streaming service for audio used by the vocal synthesizer community and numerous more, SoundCloud, has announced that free members will be limited to 15 tracks on their account. The reasoning for this drastic change in the free user plan is so that artists will be able to upload lossless audio, but this comes at a cost; being the amount of audio you can upload without supporting the service.
What About My Existing Tracks?
Users who have signed up before the new limit has been rolled out, which will take place on December 9th, 2019, are allowed to keep their previous tracks, however, if they are already over the limit they are rendered unable to add any more tracks without subscribing to SoundCloud Premium.
What Should I Do?
Many users of the vocal synthesizer community, as well as other communities, are now migrating services. A logical decision – however, there have been some concerns with moving platforms. This concern stems more-so with a specific platform named Audius.
What is Audius?
Audius is a startup music sharing platform, similar to SoundCloud, that boasts on its open-source nature and alliance with individual creators rather than large corporations. The group was founded in 2018, raising $5.5 Million USD from investors to launch their public beta. The idea of Audius sounds great: allowing creators to “take back” what is theirs and cut the middle man out of profits. The potential risk, however, lies beneath the inner workings of the service.
Audius is a platform built on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. Many of you likely know what cryptocurrency is, as it is a digital asset created as a medium for exchange in financial transactions. But what is blockchain technology, you may ask? This is a good question and is something that I personally didn’t know either, but let’s look into it as defined by Wikipedia.
“A blockchain, originally block chain, is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data.”Wikipedia
In layman’s terms, blockchain technology is a set of records that store data in a series not owned by any single entity. The records, “blocks”, are stored and bound to each other, creating a “chain”. Reiterating the “not owned by any single entity” part I mentioned earlier, blockchain is a decentralized network. This means anyone who participates in it will be able to access it and view the recorded data. While that data is encrypted in a specialized way, often incredibly difficult to modify, that information is still viewable by someone you may have not directly given permission to view such information.
This technology, while being used for alternative purposes over time, was directly invented for the cryptocurrency market, which goes back even further in this post when I mention Audius and the investors of the company. The investors of Audius did not invest for the reason of music, but for the cryptocurrency the site uses. Audius has no premium plans, but a digital wallet that you either purchase coins for or earn coins from listening to ads. This cryptocurrency that Audius will use to allegedly keep the artist’s pockets full of profits, is the real reason why investors jumped on the platform. They predict that the tokens could boom in value, leading to a fortune in stock value. It’s not to protect the rights of an artist, it’s about stock prices and value in the cryptocurrency market.
As soon as the news on SoundCloud and their new free plan was announced, users of our very own community already started to migrate to Audius, unaware of the safety concerns that the platform presents. After signing up, numerous reports of Audius listing users’ locations without explicit permission have been made along with the inability to delete your account or contact Audius’s support for further assistance. Anything you upload to the service is stored in the blockchain forever as well. Audius has yet to make any statements.
VocalSynth.Audio is a streaming service initially launched in late 2017 by DynamiVox, a group of vocal synthesizer workers, for the vocal synthesizer community. Due to being tailored for the vocal synthesizer fanbase, individual creator rights are valued above all, even those of cover artists. You don’t have to worry about theft, reupload, or unjust takedowns by an automated service. You have 375 MB of upload storage, which roughly equals around 3 hours of audio to your account, with the “Pro Plan” allowing 2 GB. Pro plans are acquired by becoming a Patreon of the group, also coming with benefits for their other services tailored for the vocal synthesizer fandom.
AudioMack is a well-established streaming platform that strives to provide musicians with the technology they need to share, market, and earn. It provides unlimited tracks, the ability to link other platforms in your uploads, ie attaching the music video to your audio upload, a mobile app, planned released, monetization, and much more! I can’t say much about takedowns and their automated service, but I can say that the site is easy to navigate and the company behind it seems very passionate for their users.
I hope this article is useful to you and your musical needs. Which platform do you prefer? Let us know below!
UPDATE: They have reverted the decision
We heard you. Upload limits are not changing on December 9. Read more from us here: https://t.co/1Rl5AsCZ3E— SoundCloud (@SoundCloud) December 5, 2019