The Track Changers: Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss

The cofounders of SoundCloud help musicians distribute their tracks across the Internet and get meaningful feedback.

Left to right: Eric Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung

Left to right: Eric Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung

Home Base: Berlin

Year Founded: 2008

Power Stat: In January, the company hit the 10-million-users mark.

When SoundCloud launched, it was all about the music. Artists could upload songs and get feedback on full recordings or snippets of a track. Then they could share their work across just about every social-media outlet—and the likes of Radiohead and 50 Cent have. But as the site evolved during its three years in action, the focus has shifted. "We started seeing authors using it and politicians and news organizations," recalls cofounder Alexander Ljung. "It became clear to us that while music is super-important—it has always been super-important for humans—sound is music plus a lot more." This new mind-set, paired with a killer mobile app, makes the potential user, well, anyone. If all goes as planned, what Twitter is for words, SoundCloud will be for audio.

Why Berlin: "The city is like a big start-up. It's very much under construction. Things are changing all the time. I lived here 10 years ago, and I can feel the difference today. It's great for SoundCloud because it is such a creator-driven city." —Wahlforss

"One important spot is a café called St. Oberholz, which is where we had our office for two or three weeks. Everyone is sitting around with laptops, either planning a start-up or coding on a start-up or studying because they think they need to prepare before they start a start-up." —Ljung

What's so huge about mobile: "We introduced a mobile app with a record button—that's one single button that just allows you to capture sound wherever you are. It's a really, really simple idea. We have all gotten used to thinking about phones as a camera, but we wanted to highlight that you are walking around carrying a microphone in your pocket all the time." —Ljung

Click through for SoundCloud's most socially dynamic users >>

To make music sharing more interactive, Ljung and Wahlforss created tools that plug into every social network and allow commenting on specific parts of tracks instead of whole songs. Now some of the biggest acts are super-users and innovators on SoundCloud. Here, the three most socially dynamic:

50 Cent

Ljung: "Last year, 50 posted a track where he is just rapping, telling everyone to produce around that. That blew up in a couple of hours. People were so creative, making a ton of beats."

Foo Fighters

Wahlforss: "For Valentine's Day, they made it possible to dedicate one of their songs to anybody on Facebook and record a dedication, so it played with the song."

Imogen Heap

Ljung: "She's so connected with her audience. She made a track by just asking people to submit snippets of sound. Once it was published, she linked to all the different sounds so that everybody got to be part of what she was making."

.@Details unveiled its 12 social mavericks of 2012 ( who do you think is the ultimate #SocialMaverick?

— DETAILS (@DETAILS) February 16, 2012

See more Social Mavericks

You Might Like

Powered by ZergNet