November 10, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 2.0
Pros: Hear new music and see commentary from others, slick interface
Cons: No easy download links
SoundCloud, the audio streaming and sharing service that’s become a favorite among artists looking to distribute their music, has updated its Android app. Most noticeable and important of today’s changes includes the new waveform design that better resembles the desktop listening experience. When a user goes to play a song, they will see the familiar wave sound visualization, as well as a better designed way to see comments pop-up. (SoundCloud lets users leave time-coded comments about specific points of a song.) It’s also easier to add comments now. Press the comment button, drag along to the part you’d like to add, and then leave your message.
The design change is a relatively small change but an important one. The previous version of SoundCloud didn’t do as good a job of replicating the desktop experience for Android devices, but the new look fits the app more. However, it could do a better job in providing download links for artists who have enabled users to download their songs. (If there’s a way, I can’t find it.) SoundCloud at least managed to improve the consistency of playback. Previous complaints about failed streams and other bug fixes have supposedly been addressed in the latest update, which kept strong while I played on Wi-Fi.
Another nice feature is the ability to record and send private audio messages. SoundCloud is also a collaboration tool, so musicians who can’t get to a mic could theoretically record a quick demo for reference. Then they can share it with collaborators privately or post it publicly to get feedback from followers. The recording quality was surprisingly decent and should be good enough for short recordings of music or messages. A new widget provides quick access to that function as well.
Compared to the app that debuted last December, SoundClound 2.0 is a nice improvement. It also puts the Android version on par with the features previously seen in the iOS version. Android 2.1 or higher devices can download the app from the Android Market.