What is it?
SoundCloud is online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, Germany, that enables its users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds. SoundCloud's content is evenly split between music and other audio. [Graham, Jefferson (17 July 2013). "Who's listening to SoundCloud? 200 million". USA Today.]
Why is it important?
"Since its start in 2008, SoundCloud has been a digital space for diverse music cultures to flourish, far beyond the influence of mainstream label trends. For lesser-known artists, it has been a place where you can attract the attention of fans and the record industry without having to work the usual channels." [Jenna Wortham, August 1, 2017, "If SoundCloud Disappears, What Happens to It's Music Culture?", New York Times.]
What are others saying about it?
The SoundCloud you love is doomed. (Resident Advisor)
The Inside Story of SoundCloud's Collapse. (Buzzfeed News)
However, this caught my attention:
"The most successful online communities, like SoundCloud, have the feel of public spaces, where everyone can contribute to the culture." [Jenna Wortham, August 1, 2017, "If SoundCloud Disappears, What Happens to It's Music Culture?", New York Times.]
What are the characteristics of public spaces that make them appealing?
The Project for Public Spaces says: Access and linkages, comfort and image, uses and activities, and sociability.
urbanSCALE's five features of great public spaces include: They are small, they are surrounded by diversity, they mix public and private together, they occupy important locations, and they are designed to draw people in.
Planetizen describes the ideal public spaces as having the following features: Centrality, connectivity, and cachet.
What does the physical world have to do with the virtual world?
It offers clues about what's needed for people to relate and structure their interactions.
What about the fate of SoundCloud, or other virtual spaces?
Develop a deep understanding of how people interact with each other and with technology. And make sure you are prepared to evolve.