Opinion Take: Soundoff.fm Is a Good Idea

Well, I really tried to like more of the music I heard on http://www.soundoff.fm/  (works best in Firefox). And, to be fair, I do work for IPR, one of the most renowned media arts colleges in the U.S.; so I have the advantage of having been trained by some seriously talented people. I’ve also spent a lot of years listening to music in detail, recording, and playing live shows, so I’ve become an opinionated guy when it comes to this stuff. Even so, it was seriously painful to wade through some of it; thankfully required listening was a only 20 second clip of each track. If you click the above link you too will understand what it’s like when there’s…

Almost no filter required…

There’s a beauty in a site like this though. Soundoff.fm believes in free competition. And I like the idea because, in this environment, I can honestly see how true talent might hedge their way via “the voice of the people”, to some type of notoriety. So far, however, many of the competing artists aren’t quite there yet. But, maybe that’s the point.

Christian Blog Photo

It seems as if many of the Soundoff.fm artists who posted music had support systems that were a little too good. I can picture a conversation something like…

Setting: high school party

Band Guy: “what do you think of our band’s new song?”

Unassuming Girl: “Wow! You guys are awesome!” and “How did you get so good?”

Knowledgeable Bystander: “I know this cool website where all the good bands compete for votes. It’s called Soundoff.fm. If you’re good you should upload a track too.”

And the rest is history (AKA a little painful).

Judging the site by its idea instead of its content alone:

Soundoff.fm is a good idea, and I applaud their effort. I was able to sign up with my Facebook account, so there was 1) no “enter email and your desired password”, then 2) “check your email to complete account setup”, then 3) you can begin voting. I like the fact that I don’t have to store, or remember, yet another password. Special thanks to the developers for not forcing this on me.

The process for voting is simple. The site gives a clear explanation of “how it works” via a tab of the same name at the top of the page, and once you’ve logged in with your Facebook account there are two buttons: 1) upload a track or 2) start voting. I clicked “start voting”. Like every page out there requiring an account there is that annoying spam guard feature where I had to type in a sequence of coded letters and numbers, but I could actually read this one. Once I got past this, it was pretty much “game on”.

If the music on this site is a little challenged, why would I want to visit it?

Because there’s some good music here, the site is well laid out, and the idea is a good one. I read a review on Hypebot that initially tipped me off to this site a few days back, but it took me until today to actually give in and check it out. One of the commenters below the Hypebot review said something like “there are other sites that have already tried this”, and so I figured most folks already “in the know” might not actually be interested, but I wrote this so you could be the judge. Here’s another reason as well…

I’d actually like to see if any IPR students have what it takes to get some of their material voted into top positions on the site. I know you’ve got the goods to make it happen, so I’m challenging you to take your time, produce a great track, and get ready to compete. If anybody has a good idea to create an IPR competition around it, I’m game to set something up… maybe even something that brings a small reward for a job well done from the IPR side. Several of you have already taken the brave step of exposing yourself through the IPR students and alumni Soundcloud page; if there’s something there you’d like to submit, please do. When you do, keep me posted to how the experience is going for you.

You can leave your opinions and rants below or on the IPR Facebook page. I’ll do my best to respond quickly.

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