Today, 22 August 2016, marks the end of Soundcloud's Groups functionality. Unlike many changes to the popular audio-hosting website, it's happened with very little fanfare.
The end of Groups signals an end to my interest in Soundcloud. As much as I've appreciated their service in hosting my music for over seven years, I feel that withdrawing from their website is the only way I can express my disappointment with their decision to undermine the communities I enjoy.
Through Groups like the Disquiet Junto and Naviar Records' projects I have listened, been heard and learned from musicians based all over the world.
I've written elsewhere about the productive creative practice in making music and noise that I've maintained as a result of meeting the deadlines set by people like Marc and Marco, who run these two Groups respectively.
I'm sure Soundcloud have their reasons to close Groups. I know that I haven't been a great patron for their website. I bought a subscription to their service once so I could download my most popular song, then sought a refund almost immediately.
I've also been frustrated by Soundcloud doing things like stopping me from creating playlists (like this one of 120 Junto tracks), so I'm happy to have avoided feeling frustrated by paying for a service that doesn't work. (I am happy to see I've now recorded over 140 Junto tracks though!)
When the Junto's 101st project came along I started producing videos to show some of the processes involved in producing my tracks. I now have a playlist of 64 Junto tracks with videos and I'm pleased to see that Marc has an aspiration "for the Junto to become 'platform-agnostic'" through using llllllll.co "as a central place for each project".
This forum-based approach for the Junto makes sense as it's a model that's worked for the Ninja Tune Forum-based projects I've been involved with and provides an easy method for communicating with other producers. That Forum isn't as popular as it once was but, looking at my followers on various Soundcloud accounts, I get the impression that Soundcloud now isn't as popular either.
The Ninja Tune Forum also offers an interesting comparison as it has benefited from the shuttering of a similar service, when the Warp Records forum was closed. In that case an audience migrated to the Ninja's forum to continue their conversations about music and it led into developing projects like the seven-minute mixes and chain remixes.
It'll be interesting to see whether moving hundreds of producers onto a forum like llllllll.co will spur the development of new creative projects. Change can be a good thing, right?
Double dare toasted sandwich - My 20th remarkable sandwich!