Mixcloud is a British music streaming service, headquartered in London, England. It allows users to upload, follow, and listen to radio shows, curated playlists, and podcasts, in addition to their own content. Since its founding seven years ago, Mixcloud has acquired a number of notable users, including Harvard Business School, TED Talks, and—more recently—Barack Obama. In 2011, Mixcloud made it possible for users to upload files of any size. In 2012, Mixcloud reported over 3 million active users and more than 500 thousand users registered through the Facebook application.
Mixcloud offers a variety of features:
- Mixcloud's services are entirely free.
- Mixcloud is available all over the world.
- Mixcloud's basic, free plan includes: unlimited uploads, unlimited listening, basic profile customization, and basic statistics. Users already enrolled in the Basic plan are guaranteed perpetually free use of the service.
- Mixcloud's Premium plan is designed for "listeners." It costs $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It includes most features of the Basic plan, in addition to: early access to new features, a Premium Badge, no advertisement, and advanced profile customization.
- Mixcloud's Pro plan is designed for "uploaders." It includes most the features of the Premium plan, in addition to: a Pro Badge, full statistics, scheduled uploading, and the abilities to disable commenting, highlight content, unlist certain content, and hide statistics.
- Mixcloud offers 30 day trials for both the Premium and Pro plans. When switching from a Premium plan to a Pro plan, Mixcloud will charge the difference between the two, instead of the full Pro cost.
- After sign-up, Mixcloud directs users through a brief questionnaire to ascertain their music preferences, after which the website makes station suggestions. Users may follow certain stations, which then show up in their feed, or skip this step entirely and find music on their own.
- While music is playing, users can use the dashboard at the bottom of the screen to fast forward, add songs to their Favorites list, share a song through social media, repost it on their Mixcloud profile, or add a comment. The music dashboard also displays all upcoming songs.
- Users may create their own playlists by adding music as it plays in the dashboard or searching for songs individually.
- Hovering over a play button will initiate a brief audio preview.
- Users have the option to join a Group, which is a collection of registered members with an interest in common. Users receive occasional updates when new, relevant content becomes available.
- Mixcloud provides promotion opportunities for new artists, which guarantee that their music will appear in "high-impact key positions" across the site.
- Mixcloud provides an Application Programming Interface that users can search and upload to, if they choose. Mixcloud also provides a simple how-to page that guides users through the API itself and includes information for entering specific code.
- Users can share audio media through social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Mixcloud offers fairly extensive support pages to assist users as they navigate the site and upload their content.
- Mixcloud offers mobile apps for Android and iOS.
The Bottom Line
Mixcloud's reliance on crowdsourcing is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. Sourcing content from its own users gives the catalog a degree of depth and variety uncommon elsewhere, but also contributes to the service's vast organization problem. As free music platforms go, Mixcloud lacks the bravado that is characteristic of other, better-developed streaming services.