What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SoundCloud is a platform where anyone can upload audio files to the web. It's a lot like YouTube, but with audio instead of videos. The overall tone of the site is positive and generally more serious than YouTube. Although plenty of teens use it, SoundCloud is geared mostly toward adults. The Community Guidelines page gives a better sense of the site's audience -- it states an official rule telling users not to "Rant, flame, troll or be an a--hole." That said, the site's guidelines also ban language that is "offensive, defamatory, abusive." While highly objectionable material seems scarce, it's possible that something could show up before it's reported by users or deleted by SoundCloud. Nevertheless, teens can find plenty of interesting, useful, and even educational material here. And learning to upload and share audio creations can be a valuable experience in its own right.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- making new creations
- producing new content
- multiple forms of expression
- digital creation
- evaluating media messages
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
Teens into audio creation will love exploring the vast selection of tracks, as well as sharing their own work. However, teens who only want to listen may like Pandora or Spotify more.
Many kids and teens will find the site useful as a way to share and present audio projects, or to search for new ideas. However, while it's a great sharing tool, SoundCloud isn't the best option for audio creation.
The site is easy to navigate, and file uploads are simple; however, some privacy settings aren't easy to manage. Most help topics are geared toward consumers and may or may not be helpful for kids.
What's it about?
SOUNDCLOUD is a listening and sharing platform for uploading streamable audio files to the Web. Like the YouTube of audio, content varies greatly. From amateur to professional, users include musicians of every genre, comedians, spoken-word artists, podcasters, voice-over artists, teachers, and newscasters among many others. Teens can listen to music on SoundCloud without creating an account, but if they want to upload music, they have to sign up with an email address or through Facebook or Google+.
Is it any good?
SoundCloud is great for anyone interested in sharing audio content and finding new artists. Those looking to simply stream mainstream music will like sites like Pandora or Spotify better. However, anyone with an interest in uploading their own work (or hearing others' work) will find SoundCloud the go-to place for audio on the web. Like YouTube, SoundCloud is good as both an educational tool as well as a creative outlet for teens, although it isn't perfect for either purpose. The search tool's categories could be expanded and better tuned to help users home in on what they want (and stay away from what they don't). Less creation tool and more sharing platform, SoundCloud would do well to offer users some basic production tools while recording.
SoundCloud is a good platform for sharing audio content. Its best aspect may be the variety of its content, and the inspiration this can give users. At its best, SoundCloud helps users start a dialogue with other like-minded audiophiles.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about audio as an artistic medium -- as video becomes cheaper and easier for anyone to produce, what is the value of music by itself? Should every song have a music video? What do videos add to a song? What might they take away from the way a listener hears music?
How have the music industry and commercial radio changed over the past 50 years? How were new artists "discovered" in the past? How are they discovered today?
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