All the buzz this week may be about the launch of Apple Music, but another popular streaming music application, SoundCloud, has also now rolled out a notable update to its mobile application. The update – which delivers new features including related tracks, shuffle, direct playlist editing, and more – is aimed at both improving music discovery and the overall user experience.
The update comes at a time when Apple Music is inching into SoundCloud’s territory. Apple has managed to get the biggest indie labels on board, it lets independent artists participate on its social sharing platform Connect – uploading audio, videos, photos and more; it updated GarageBand to publish directly to Apple Music Connect; and its streaming radio service Beats1 has, so far, been doing a good job in terms of pointing people to new tunes.
That’s why this collection of seemingly minor additions to the SoundCloud application is significant.
The ability to edit playlists in the app and shuffle liked tracks and playlists are the sort of features that a decent music streaming application shouldn’t be without, and are welcome improvements. But the bigger change, in terms of SoundCloud’s ability to help users uncover new music, is the addition of a “related tracks” feature.
After you find a track you already love, you can tap on the “Play Related Tracks” option in order to kick off a music discovery journey that sees SoundCloud’s algorithm generating a stream of other songs you might also like. The company says today that it hosts 100 million tracks on its service, which means it has a good-sized music collection to choose from. And many of those are not the big-name artists, but the undiscovered gems who are trying to generate a fanbase around their material.
In addition, SoundCloud has rolled out improved social sharing features that now allow users to directly repost songs to SoundCloud and share to other social networks from both its search screen and from your list of liked tracks. This is aimed at increasing user engagement with the music on SoundCloud, but ties into discovery, too. The more accessible the sharing features are, the more likely it is that non-SoundCloud users will be introduced to the app, while current users will be reminded to return.
The update is live now, but only on the SoundCloud iOS application.