‘Music is Okay?!’: Interview with Eric Wahlforss from SoundCloud

Our new event series checkdisout for PSFK readers in Germany is quickly approaching. The first installment, ‘Music is Okay?!‘, will take place on November 20 in Hamburg. It will tackle current topics surrounding the state of digital music culture. The premiere event will take a close look at the status of digital music, 10 years after the introduction of music-sharing service Napster, apart from the major labels’ mourning and lack of creativity.

To kick things off, we interviewed Eric Wahlforss from Berlin-based startup SoundCloud, a new music sharing and distribution platform. SoundCloud is aimed mainly at music professionals who want to share their tracks and mixes with like minded musicians or for promotional purposes. The site is an alternative to sometimes frustrating services like Yousendit and offers a convenient way to share music files.

Eric, when we invited panelists for checkdisout, we asked everyone for a quote. Yours was: “Context is the new cover. We need to work much more on the experience of finding and discussing new music.”“ Could you explain a bit more?

I wrote that very quickly, as always you just throw something in, but that sort of summarizes a bit about the stuff that Alex, my Co-Founder, and I were recently lecturing about- context being more important than content in this next wave of online distribution music situation that we are in. The licensing part of the problem is sort of being sorted out and the next challenge is to provide something that not only makes all the music available to the users but also available in an interesting way. And that’s really where our focus is, to make that happen.

On that same conference, a good friend of mine who now works for Google, did a company called jaiku. He has this idea called nodal points, where I think e.g. SoundCloud is very much based on this notion that you have a certain stream of stuff that comes through your perception and then some of that stuff is interesting to you and it’s sort of that social network that gives you the content in a very convenient way, content that might interest you. So that was the point: Social discovery, and not only recommendation systems, but other ways of finding new music is going to be an interesting challenge.

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