Quietly, steadily, software has been making SoundCloud upload a standard feature. In some mobile applications, it’s second only to “save” as a feature. That makes getting your music online and shared uncommonly easy. Below, we’ve got the running list for mobile and desktop – and it looks very impressive, indeed, so we can at least get your attention with our own list.

But apparently Berlin-based neighbors Ableton and SoundCloud didn’t want their collaboration to be so quiet. To herald the inclusion of SoundCloud integration in Ableton Live, they’re giving away their products.

  • If you’re a SoundCloud user, you get a copy of Ableton Live Lite for free. It’s not the full version, but it is a reasonably capable version for remixes, production, and DJing. (In fact, it does more than the early versions of Live 1.x on which I started using the platform.) That’s a copy of Ableton to some 11+ million users – a very big deal, as SoundCloud’s explosive growth has attracted a lot of users outside our normal music producer community.
  • If you’re an Ableton Live 8 owner, you get five months of free SoundCloud Pro service.
  • If you don’t yet own Ableton Live – or you own a version prior to v8 – you can get SoundCloud Pro free for 5 months when you purchase a new copy of Live or Live Suite 8 or upgrade your existing copy.
  • You can now upload to SoundCloud inside Ableton Live.
  • Make a track in 24 hours. From May 14-28, Live users will be able to download a free Live Pack of sounds by M83, Junior Boys, and Nosaj Thing – and once the download starts, they have 24 hours to finish a track. You can win prizes like lifetime software upgrades and SoundCloud service or a trip to Berlin. (This is different from the trip to Berlin I’m giving away, which can be yours if you send in your entry written on the back of a complete Buchla modular.)

Sweden and Germany haven’t gone together this nicely since I was eating meatballs and lingonberry at IKEA in Lichtenberg. (Hmmm… that’s a terrible line. I’ll let you know if I come up with a better one. I’m taking that one out of my pay for today.)

So, okay, the promotion is obviously designed to get people hooked on SoundCloud and Ableton. But it will be really interesting to see whether a free copy of Live helps attract SoundCloud’s non-specialized audience to get hooked on making music. As popular as Live is – and I’m told it continues to grow, even as we wait on the next major release – there are still plenty of people who use sound who don’t use Live or even a similar tool. Apple’s GarageBand helped bridge that audience, for one, by being included free on Macs. On Macs and PCs, as people start using SoundCloud for audio of all kinds (podcasts and spoken word joining music), we’ll see if more music tools can appeal.

SoundCloud and Ableton [SoundCloud blog]
5 free months of SoundCloud Pro for all Live 8 users [Ableton]

That’s the story with Ableton. But if you haven’t watched closely, a lot of software has been adding SoundCloud integration. Mobile apps are especially common, since the idea of uploading to the “cloud” and being mobile with a tablet or phone naturally go together. But desktop apps have been adding integration.

I was curious just to keep up with that list, so I spoke to Henrik Lenberg, VP of Platform for SoundCloud. He gave us just a few highlights. (If you’re a developer and left out, feel free to give us a shout in comments – there are too many apps to be comprehensive.)

Plug in mic, hit record, upload to SoundCloud. Photo ()CC-BY) Phil Campbell.

Major mobile integrations:

– Apple GarageBand
– Korg iMS-20, iElectribe and iKaossilator
– Retronyms Tabletop
– Native Instruments iMaschine
– FL Studio Mobile
– NanoStudio
– BeatMaker 2
– AmpKit
– Yamaha TNR-i
– Music Studio
– iRig Recorder
and more…

Major desktop integrations:
– Ableton Live
– PreSonus Studio One
– Avid Pro Tools
– Steinberg Cubase and WaveLab
– Cakewalk Sonar and Music Creator
– Magix Samplitude and Music Maker
– OpenLabs Music OS
and more…

FL Studio is another important one – thanks to reader Brandon Adkins for the reminder! It’s especially interesting, as Image-Line briefly had a tool called Collab which was intended to encourage its users to share their work. Now, they get more features – and easier collaboration across different tools and platforms – on SoundCloud. (I will say, there were a couple of nice things about Collab. It opened actual FL files, and had a live chat; I even wrote the thing up for Keyboard, but it didn’t last. Still, SoundCloud and FL could go together nicely.)

I have to ask the obvious question. Does having SoundCloud integration right in an application matter to you? Or would you rather take your time, export normally, and upload separately? And is it as important to you on a desktop as on mobile?

Which of these tools matter most – is any bigger for you than Ableton?

Beyond that, how do you use SoundCloud with your music software – if at all?

Let us know what your online/sharing workflow looks like; I’m very eager to hear.


  • Noisetheorem

    I use both already and will not use this integration. I always have some little bit of post editing I do. I also export to high resolution files that get backed up to sugarsync, and then convert to mp3 before posting to SoundCloud. Personally, integration with a cloud backup service like SugarSync would be much more valuable than integration with SoundCloud.

    • Littlemachine

      I’m not sure, but I think when you download files from soundcloud you get the original upload, not the transcoded version that plays on the page. I know I’ve downloaded quite a few tracks from there that turned out to be 80MB+ .wav-files. That way, it would work as a backup service too, essentially.

    • hollsa

      i think it’s great but i don’t forsee myself uploading files to scloud directly from my daw.  weirdness sometimes happens, and i always check my bounced tracks in another audio program before passing them along.  still, the 5 mos. bump up is nice.

  • Brendan

    Oh wow, this is much more useful than, say, 64bit or automation curves. To give Ableton their due, though, this preposterous distraction technique appears to have worked! This is such a piddling, trifling piece of gimmickery. Increasingly, my workflow necessarily involves rendering out of Ableton and then loading the wav into a separate audio editor so I can check that the plugin delay compensation hasn’t messed up the timing and then – if the piece needs a smooth fade-out – apply a logarithmic fade that doesn’t require me to double-click a thousand automation points into existence on Ableton’s Master channel with the accuracy of…well, of a computer. Computers have been able to do Bézier curves for quite some time now, but apparently not in Ableton HQ. 

    But hey, you guys, SoundCloud upload integration! Like every two-bit piece of crap iPhone beatmaker app has! Damn, but I feel like a valued customer now.

    • snafu

      I’m curious what they’re doing at Ableton HQ. I mean they’re a lot of people. What are they working on? Either the next major release is a big one or they have issues with Live’s foundation.

    • Brendan

      I think they’re all crunching hard to get “Upload Screenshot To Twitter” done in time for Live 8.3.1’s deadline in 2013.

    • Nick Thane

      I just read that and thought – genuinely – uploading screenshots of your session to Twitter while you’re working would be kinda cool.

      Which goes to prove Peter’s point below, I suppose.

    • http://twitter.com/stexxs Stephen Emblem

      they are working on live 9. it should be out by the end of this year but who knows

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Look, you’re frustrated, I understand. But it’s not as though the entire Ableton engineering effort was stopped in order to do this. I wouldn’t worry about it. And by the same token, of course, if you want a particular kind of automation curve, this is a completely separate issue.

    • Brendan

      Peter – very fair, but my disgruntlement isn’t on a purely practical/technical basis; it’s more about the ideological motivation behind this, or at least the corporate thought process. I’m not interested (despite my rant) about measuring the relative merits of some feature requests over others, and you rightly ask us to think about how big-player software houses go about their development: “this is a trivial feature that can be done by one or two employees in a week and pushed out in an update”. Very true, but what it tells us on an ideological level is that serious workflow deficiencies and bugs that have been almost universally moaned about for many years have never sufficiently troubled project leaders’ agenda to make it into the codebase, no matter how trivial they might seem to be to implement. That’s as frustrating to someone who does understand how software design works as it is to someone who doesn’t.

      So it doesn’t really matter that SoundCloud integration is easy (it is – the API is dead straightforward) and that 64bit compatibility is possibly quite difficult (it’s not, but let’s pretend that it is for the purposes of my flimsy argument), because behaviour like this is now basically the ONLY way that Ableton HQ communicates with its customers. Their infuriating wall of silence is interrupted only by press releases about excruciatingly dull sample packs and artist interviews, and occasional beta versions that – according to the beta forum – seem to introduce fresh and exciting new bugs every time. This all amounts to a really efficient way of grinding away at the patience and loyalty of your customer base, or at least those who are active and vocal on the forums (most of whom are simply bursting to throw cash at a decent Live 9 upgrade), until they’ve all sold their licences and discovered that, hey, Logic Pro is only £140 and  kinda does most of what I need. Or whatever.Not even Apple are this poor at communicating. If this SoundCloud update was accompanied by a straightforward and honest explanation of where they’re at with the REAL shit (and I do believe they’re working on it), then knee-jerk criticism of the SC integration, like mine, would vanish. As it is, it should be no wonder if people are thinking “Hey, so…I’m *already* a customer…and this thing’s still full of bugs. How about a bit of reassurance?”

      So yes, much of this frustration seems to be off-topic…but in a sense, it’s really not. Anything at all that Ableton does which isn’t announcing a Live 9 release date is very much on-topic, especially when so many people are scrutinising them.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Right, but that ignores the reality that the kinds of significant modifications you’re describing can’t be pushed out in an incremental upgrade. You sometimes need omnibus releases to make more fundamental changes. That’s true in open projects that aren’t driven (or, at least, not driven as much) by the sorts of commercial demands of a development.

      In other words, the last thing I’d want is a big Live 9 release before it’s ready. And sometimes what seems like a “bug fix” may involve more dramatic under-the-hood changes. Disclaimer being, I really don’t know what they’re working on, specifically, but I know these principles are generally true.

      That said, I can see that a user base hungry for news about the next major release could find this announcement grating.

    • AbletonUser 34,394,5823

       Just draw in the curve boss. Really not all that difficult, and you don’t have to click a bunch. And get over it, who cares about 64 bit shit. Most people can run Ableton just fine on their 64 bit systems.

  • http://twitter.com/circuitflow Owen Meyers

    Another nice option that bridges the gap between Ableton and SoundCloud is Gobbler (https://www.gobbler.com/), enabling cloud backup and version control of session files.

  • http://twitter.com/yugen yugen

    This is a pointless feature.  I can only assume it was driven by biz-dev/marketing/sales types looking for synergy between the two companies. 

    As an Ableton user it’s just clutter that I’ll do my best to ignore.
    As a Soundcloud (free) user I’ll do my best not to get used to the Pro service.
    As a developer I’m shaking my head at the waste of programmer cycles.
    As an UX designer I’m rolling my eyes wondering how anyone thought users needed this.

    Seriously, where’s the need for this kind of integration?  What real value does it provide Ableton users?  I can see a use case for sharing ableton projects, samples, and patches through some cloud-based service, but that’s not remotely what Soundcloud does. 

    Maybe there’s a longer game going on here that we haven’t seen yet, but I can’t think of a realistic direction that makes sense for both companies.

  • Mark

    I think i will use this feature. Maybe not all the time or for everything, but for some things it could be fun when i’m feeling lazy and want to share an idea quickly.

    Also, it probably didn’t take too long to code. One programmer could definitely handle this. Might have taken a day or two. To the abletons, i’m sure that the partnership/cross promotion was worth this small investment.

  • TomGoody

    It could work, but its likely to just clog up soundcloud with thousands of half baked tracks from people who have never made any music before, and think that they’re awesome new dubstep/electro house/insert fad genre here remix is the dogs bollocks

  • http://twitter.com/rhythminmind Eric Beam

    “Does having SoundCloud integration right in an application matter to you?”
    Not functionally, If it’s a creative work I put serious time into I always print/master beforehand. Why would I create a “soundcloud upload session” for a finished file I already have? The native web up-loader has better functionality.
    But I’m all for it helping to cement soundcloud as a distribution standard.

  • http://twitter.com/conner_bw Dac Chartrand

    “SoundCloud (collaboration platform for musicians and deejays) gets $50 million in new funding (January 2012)”

    Follow the money…

  • Blob

    Pointless bloatware.

    I use Live to play live, no pun intended.

    If I want to upload something into Soundcloud, I’ll open a browser and
    log into my account, thank you very much. I don’t need an extra feature/plugin clogging up my
    processor / RAM.

    What the hell are they thinking?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Software doesn’t work that way. There’s no reason an export feature is going to add to resource consumption for the rest of your application. Don’t worry about it.

    • Blob

      I was thinking along the lines of a permanent connection to the Soundclud website – but if it simply works as an extra export feature, you’re right, it doesn’t add to resource consumption.

      In any case, I still don’t buy it.
      Like other people have commented on this thread, I think Ableton’s programmers
      should keep addressing stability issues (which they have been doing
      perfectly fine over the past year or so) and if possible work on new features for version 9.

      I don’t want to sound too negative, but I honestly can’t see anything actually useful in this new Soundcloud feature. As both a Live and Soundcloud user, I feel it adds nothing to the workflow.
      The whole thing just looks like a pure marketing ploy, and a waste of Ableton’s resources.

  • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

    Okay, at the risk of stating the obvious:

    Users are welcome to be frustrated with features they want in Ableton Live that aren’t there. But I would view that as an entirely independent issue that has nothing to do with whether or not Ableton integrates with SoundCloud.

    I can’t imagine an export feature is taking significant resources away from what is a very large development effort.

    I think the big news is really that Ableton is giving away Live Lite to users of SoundCloud who might never even have heard of Ableton – and certainly many who otherwise wouldn’t use it. From a software standpoint, it isn’t hard at all to add an upload feature. This is really more a matter of how you expect your user community to use your software than it is an engineering undertaking.

  • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

    I’ll add this, too – I hear from users who are saying they like this feature.

    Trust me, take any feature you passionately care about – *any* feature – and someone, somewhere is arguing it’s just as useless a waste of programmer time as this one is for you. I’m not defending this, I’m just saying, I don’t think it was a massive expenditure of developer time, and the fact that you don’t personally use something doesn’t make it meaningless.

    So, if you’re not using SoundCloud in this way, I absolutely understand. If anyone does want to comment on how they use it, I’m curious to hear.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      …and I’m saying this in part because I’ve routinely had to defend features *other* than this one and why I think they’re important. 😉

    • Blob

      “the fact that you don’t personally use something doesn’t make it meaningless.”

      Of course it doesn’t! I’m not a DJ, so I have absolutely no use for Bridge – but that doesn’t make it meaningless. Same for some of Live’s internal plugins, and so on.

      But as for this Soundcloud feature – now that you’ve explained (a few comments below) that it is simply an export function (and not a continuosly running feature) – I can say I don’t *hate* it but I just feel it doesn’t add anything relevant to the Live suite, although it’d be good to hear from users who can explain how they are using it.

      On a positive note for the 8.3 release – automatic updates might come in handy (I prefer manual updates myself) and automatic bug reporting is also very useful.

  • ehdyn

    Well Ive never been a live user but I just downloaded the free version to check it out-seems legit. Im pretty much settled on renoise, max msp, reaktor these days but figured Id give this a shot for some of my longer ambient type stuff-should be easier to handle here. Probably wont upload directly to SC as many have mentioned, Im a bit paranoid about any stray marks

  • Jim Aikin

    Does soundcloud still insist on streaming mp3s at only 128kbps? If so, feh. Allowing streaming at double the bit-rate would be a REAL enhancement for soundcloud.

  • Brendan

    Peter – you’re absolutely right, and although speculation is a terrible thing, it sort of looks like they’ve developed themselves into a cul de sac with the current codebase/UI and need a HUGE overhaul, which they may well have made significant progress with. And the most likely reason for keeping quiet is that, without a firm date in their own minds, they don’t want to shake confidence in 8, which is still paying their coders’ salaries by selling for an eyewatering price (I paid it. My eyes watered. Blood.) So that’s my being as magnanimous and realistic as I can, with a certain degree of inspiration from unfounded mutterings on the messageboards… And, like you, of course I’d wait longer for a better product. I use Ableton to make a living, and I paid my money for what it offered at the time, not what it *might* offer in the future. I hate people who bitch about software companies not delivering stuff they never promised to deliver 😛

  • Freesoulvw

    I was reading the article. Then I read the hate mail below.

    I use both Ableton and Soundcloud. I am a dedicated member of the soundcloud community. I think Live 8 is one of the greatest music tools our generation can get their hands on.

    I think that the integration of the two is a match made in heaven. The “non Beizer curve wanting” part of the soundcloud community spend just as much time browsing the music uploaded to the site as those “hardcores” do making it.

    With this collaboration I see potential for all those soundcloud members that support the music we make but have never been able to create themselves be introduced into the world of ableton live 8. Is this ever considered a bad thing? I mean sure it could be considered by many disgruntled’s as PR marketing but in the end this is what drives the software and the updates we are hoping for.

    To get a whole new generation adapted to cloud sharing and doing that through free software from Ableton to me is a win win. We get more universally accepted sharing methods and Ableton gets the chance to give people software that will not only bring customers to more Advanced Ableton products but to also re-feed the system that which they got the software from in the first place,soundcloud. A cycle that to my seems logical.

    The article,in my opinion,was meant to show how the adoption of new cloud based sharing communities such as soundcloud are being integrated into our everyday lives in the software we use. The fact that this integration brings along with it the opportunity to join not only the soundcloud lifestyle but the Ableton lifestyle for a song….literally! is in my view a noble thing for both companies to agree on.

    While many are hoping for more out of their beloved Ableton pro,this topic goes beyond the mine,mine,mine thought process of what a specific user needs. This topic sheds light on the fact that two companies with loyal users are joining forces to create an ecosystem that not only current users can enjoy if they so chose,but for a whole new crowd of users to be added.

    to sum up my feelings…I am proud to have my soundcloud roots planted, I am also a proud Ableton user(among other DAWs) for these two companies to come together to offer these types of services for new and established users is beyond words. Neither of these players had to do anything even remotely close to what they are doing here. If you can see past your immediate needs and look at the bigger picture of what these two are doing for our community this is a task worthy of applaud. I for one do applaud them. Bravo.

  • aje

    I use Ableton Suite 8, and I have the Soundcloud Lite account. For me the benefits of the Pro account are basically slim. But it’s a nice gesture.

    I don’t see why this is news anyone would get worked up about from a *hate* point of view… basically most people are getting something for free right here, and it’s a mutual promotion for both companies. A marketing stunt, at worst. And it probably took somebody a few minutes to code, so hardly a distraction.

    A couple of things DO interest me more about Live 8.3 though. I don’t know if this means anything important, but it has installed itself in a totally different place on Windows. It has automatic updating and user data features included…. a different installer too. I’ve been using Ableton for years and these things never changed. So I’m wondering what else is really new here…. perhaps we are seeing in this release some evidence that Ableton really are in the process of rebuilding the software… who knows. Either way, I’m guessing that some of those changes are – in terms of the engineering – far more newsworthy 😉

    As for uploading to Soundcloud directly from Ableton …. I suspect I’ll still prefer to bounce tracks out and do some mastering in Adobe Audition first. But I did try the upload integration and it seems to work very nicely for those that do want it and don’t master elsewhere.

  • Ahmd777
  • http://twitter.com/brianbotkiller brian botkiller

    Studio one was the first to do this! 

  • Brooks

    I think this seems to be more Soundcloud trying to gather users and gain brand visibility than people at these companies truely having the benefits to the Ableton user at heart. On locked down mobile devices it makes perfect sense, but on a desktop computer, with an open file system and an internet connection, not so much. 

    From my perspective, at this point on social networks if I see a Soundcloud link, I no longer press play. The Soundcloud player as a means of promoting your music is going the way of myspace to be honest. It has been devalued by the deluge of not so great music that has been uploaded everywhere. One interesting thing that was buried in the Garage Band integration news, was that Garage Band also now does direct upload to YouTube. With Youtube adding methods for artist to monatize on the number of plays their videos/music gets, the general quality and variety of music all ready up there and the usability ( ever try searching on soundcloud, youtubes excellent recommendations, history, ease of adding to play lists…). I think Soundcloud are going to get a hard time of it soon if they don’t do some major redesign and focus on usability and the look of their player, over pushing Ableton integration.

  • chron

    Soundcloud and ableton are cool…and they’re giving us gifts! Soundcloud pro means you can see who downloaded yo stuff, when, and what country they’re in. I think seeing that even once is just great.

    Soundcloud upload, to me, means that tons of snippets and vignettes that I might not have fleshed out into “tracks” can go straight to the net, and I can be all “yo friends, have a listen!” and others will do the same and there will be more music…

    Ableton totally has curved fades, silly friends.

    • Brendan

      It has curved *clip* fades, not track automation fades, silly friend :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/herrherrmann.net Sebastian Herrmann

    It’s also a non-relevant feature for me who always analyses his exported tracks in Audacity and still tweaks them a bit. I’d prefer an mp3 export function!

  • Alessandro Cilano

    When I bought Live 8, one of the features was the online collaboration tool. What happened to it?
    I don’t mind the soundcloud integration, but I’d like to see Ableton deliver a feature I ALREADY PAID FOR. That was one of the big selling points for me, but it was quietly removed. Most likely I’ll have to pay for it when it will show up again in Live 9. Thanks a lot.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That feature was never part of Ableton Live 8. It was announced with Live 8, but … you’re correct, never materialized. I don’t know that it was directly announced as a feature of Live 8 Suite, so much as announced alongside that announcement. I know that’s still frustrating, but I don’t think it was described as a shipping feature.

      I’ll say this, too – sometimes better to cancel a project than ship it in a state you wouldn’t want.

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