SoundCloud is now the definitive sharing platform for music creators, and the company has just announced that a redesigned version is launching in private beta.
The claim is that the 'Next SoundCloud' will make the sharing experience for audio on the web as easy as it is for photos, videos and text.
"Over the past few years we've been championing the need to unmute the web and have signed up over 15 million sound creators in the process," said Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud's founder and CEO.
"Today we are pushing further towards that goal by launching a private beta of the Next SoundCloud, which delivers a simpler, faster, more social sound platform to help everyone appreciate sound more."
"Next SoundCloud has been re-engineered from the inside out," said Eric Wahlforss, founder and CTO. "It's much more than an aesthetic change. By making use of state of the art technologies available in the latest generation browsers, we've created a technology platform that enables us to provide a much better user experience and develop new features faster."
SoundCloud summarises its next-gen platform thusly:
A more interactive waveform player: The next SoundCloud Waveform puts your sounds at the forefront. More visible, more interactive, and no more comment clutter. Read replies with a single scroll too.
Profiles redesigned with you in mind: Simpler, more attractive profiles bring the best things into view: sounds, sets, reposts and profile images. Likes and comments are more visible. See which of your friends are following people you find.
New reposts to share what you hear: Share your sounds even further. New reposts let your friends, fans and followers repost your sounds for others to hear. And sets can be reposted in just the same way.
Real-time updates from your friends: Keep up-to-date the second something happens with real-time notifications. When someone likes or reposts your sounds, you'll see right away. Other people can see your activity too.
Play sounds continuously: Press play and just keep listening. Explore the next SoundCloud while continuing to play sounds from your Stream. Hit the Waveform icon to return to the sound you're hearing.
Build sets of music and audio you like: Forget playlists. Sets let you build collections of the sounds you create and like in one Waveform. Share your sets with people, and like and repost other people's sets too.
Easier than ever to navigate: The next SoundCloud is even more intuitive. A simplified About section includes only the links you need. Notifications keep you informed. Keyboard shortcuts and volume control make life easier.
New search with faster, better results: Find new sounds faster with improved search. Search suggestions appear as soon as you type. Improved search algorithms deliver more relevant results faster.
SoundCloud plans to extend tens of thousands of invites during the private beta phase, and a public beta will follow in the coming months. All users will be switched to the new version by the end of the year; in the meantime they'll continue to be able to use the current version, with new features being added during the private beta phase.
You can find out more and sign up for the private beta at next.soundcloud.com