SoundCloud Website Poster Image

SoundCloud

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Fun audio-sharing site; some iffy content, watch privacy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids can hear plenty of positive messages in and among the millions of user-uploaded audio files. Predictably, kids can potentially find some negative material as well. While the overall spirit of SoundCloud promotes creativity and idea-sharing, members on the site may or may not have positive things to say, and commenters may or may not be supportive.

Violence

Occasionally, a track may reference violence or violent acts; the subjects and themes of audio tracks are as varied as the artists who create them. Any user could potentially upload a username or profile photo that may allude to any sort of violent act (for example, the Hip-Hop/Rap label, "Shoot to Kill Music Inc."). However, the vast majority of content is violence free.

Sex

Sexual innuendo and banter -- some very explicit -- does exist on the site. Some content even deals specifically with sex, whether it be sex advice or sex education. Predictably, some song lyrics are as explicit as they come, but these are exceptions, not norms for the site overall. Nudity isn't much of an issue; however, a few user profile pictures may include nudity or sexual references.

Language

Most language kids encounter is fairly tame, but strong profanity can be found. Everything from a user's screen name to song titles and comments can include words like "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and the "N" word.

Consumerism

While overt ads aren't present on the site, the argument could be made that the site is one big advertising platform for musicians, comedians, podcasters and other various sound artists. Some user profiles contain links to record label websites, where kids can click to visit various web-stores and iTunes. Ads masquerading as content are very rare, if present at all.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to drinking, smoking, and drug use are certainly present in some audio content as well as in user's comments. When present, the most common references are to alcohol and marijuana. There are no parental controls to help kids avoid this material. Some audio formats and genres may be more prone to these types of references than others.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • speaking
  • storytelling

Arts

  • music

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression
  • speaking

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • evaluating media messages
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • speaking
  • storytelling

Arts

  • music

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression
  • speaking

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • evaluating media messages
  • using and applying technology

Teens can learn a lot about creating and sharing music with SoundCloud. In addition to posting songs, podcasts, stories, and other audio files to the web, teens can also discover files that are much more diverse than what mainstream sources offer. SoundCloud allows users to tag comments at specific points in an audio file. Because of this, teens can give and get feedback, critique, and praise that's specific to a certain point in a work. The commenting feature is a great way to get experience with critique, but teens could benefit from more guidance on how to be constructive.

This Learning Rating review was written by Jeff Knutson

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?

QUALITY

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?

Website details

Genre:Music
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free, Paid

This review of SoundCloud was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byroyhuddle October 8, 2013

Profanity on Soundcloud

Regarding profanity, there is lots of it even in songs that don't have it, because people post comments on different parts of the song. Don't know if there is a way to turn off those comments yet. The fact that Soundcloud itself uses profanity in their Rules page shows that, whatever their rules about profanity, it wouldn't be my rule. I have chosen 17 because I wouldn't want to subject myself to the language in the posts.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old December 15, 2013

I am a 13 year old dubstep artist and even though my old songs were bad, people were still supportive

I don't really have any specific age for a kid to be on it, but I am a Dubstep artist, and I'm turning 13 next month. I started in the summer and everyone that has viewed my music have been very nice, and I honestly think you should let them depending on their knowledge of the internet and how to be safe on it. Every once and a while there might be something you might not want your kid(s) to hear and if you don't think they're ready yet... you don't have to let them be on it. My advice would just be a warning if you hear something once, and if you hear them listening to something else bad, you take it away for a while. Now, if they've listened to it a lot (ex. 5 or more times) just stop the membership. This is just my honest opinion, and that's about it. Thank you for your time, and I hope this review helped! X)
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bycinnagurl February 16, 2014
LEARNING

Soundcloud

I love this site and I am on it all the time. I go on my favorite DJs soundcloud and they sometimes give out free songs. Also I can listen to music and make playlists and like different "sounds". It does swear but come on. We can handle it. I have no problem with swearing whatsoever. I just think people need to let the swearing thing go. It's out there and you cant protect your kids from it 100%. it is a part of everyday language now. i think we have to admit that. anyway great site for keeping up with your favorite DJs :D
What other families should know
Too much swearing

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