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The SoundCloud is an online tool for music lovers and professionals who’ve been craving for an easy and effective way to publicly or privately share and access music. SoundCloud’s slogan is “we move music” and indeed that’s what they do.

The site provides several ways to discover artists and their music: hot lists, forums, exploring the latest public tracks or suggestions of people that may enjoy similar material, and of course simply searching for specific tracks or artists.

Members can follow musicians to receive updates about new releases distributed through the SoundCloud. You can drop someone a track into their DropBox or embed a DropBox link on your website or social network profile to receive tracks and demos from others.

Best of all, there is no need to download anything, as the SoundCloud hosts the tracks and offers a web-based playback, as displayed below.

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All public tracks can be shared for example by embedding the code in a website. Try it and play the track below.

The free account offers all of the above mentioned amenities, except that monthly uploads are limited to 5 tracks and even then only the latest 10 are shown. That’s quite a limitation and makes the service useless for managing your music collection for free. There are a few more limitations and three types of Pro accounts. Nevertheless, this is a great tool to discover fresh music, especially for fans of electronic music, drum’n’bass, dance, house, and similar styles or remixes of any kind.

Here’s a short SoundCloud Tour giving many more details:

The Cloud Player is a spin-off of the SoundCloud. It’s a web-based music player and technically it’s an open source clone of iTunes or Songbird. Interestingly, no membership with SoundCloud is required as you can simply log in with your GMail login details.

The player integrates the public song catalog of the SoundCloud, which is the only but major drawback as this source is still rather limited, especially in the styles of music it offers. However, if electronic happens to be the type of music you enjoy, you’ll feel like in heaven!

The Cloud Player comes with several handy features. Users can create personal playlists and save and share them. The tool also allows the creation of smart playlists, which means you give it a few cues and it will retrieve all the tracks that mach your query.

The SoundCloud and its Cloud Player are two rather simple tools with great entertainment value and a lot of potential. They are one of many new tools that are paving the way into a digital life in the cloud, independent of stationary computers. Are you willing to experiment on the way?

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