As I said over on my own blog, DGMFS, last week, I’ve been meaning to try out the DJ set publishing site MixCloud for some time now. Since meeting its founder Nikhil Shah through my work with the Technology Strategy Board, as it happens. Somewhat shamefully, I only got round to it last week and only then because I knew that Sarah and I were interviewing Nikhil as part of our Ofcom/UGC work and, well, I wanted to know whereof I spoke, as they say.

I think my experience of using MixCloud was best summed up in what I said to Sarah straight afterwards: “Well that’s just about the best cloud service I’ve ever used”. In one evening (after dinner, of course) I went from having nowt to having an hour-long set up on a new Mixcloud account, with all the attendant metadata in place – and all by bed time. And to be frank, the vast majority of that time was spent making the set – which is of course as it should be.

So a few of brief observations about the service.

  • The creation of an account was simplicity itself: no verification email nonsense, no captchas, just straightforward email address, user name, password and you’re off.
  • Making a user profile was simple, too, with a good image ingest tool – with seemingly, intelligent auto-cropping-for pics.
  • But it’s the creation of the cloudcast page which is the real killer. Of course, you have to have a mix ready to go; I made mine in Logic, as it happens, but Lord knows there are plenty of lighter, easier and cheaper solutions to making mix sets (it’s just that Logic’s become my default sound editing software since tackling its insane learning curve to work on some of my own music projects).
  • As you’re uploading the mix – which has to be in MP3 format, by the way – you can enter artist and track titles information for each piece in the set.
  • And then – and I though this the genius bit – once the set is uploaded, you can put markers on a graphic of the track to denote the start and end of track. Apparently it can take up to 24 hours for the markers to take effect, but for me it worked pretty much instantaneously.
  • There’s no rule that the user has to include metadata, but there are strong incentives to do so: it encourages discoverability (not least because you can see who else has featured a particular track in a mix) and, vitally, it allows Mixcloud to account accurately to the rights agencies.
  • And once it’s all uploaded and marked up, there’s all the stuff you would expect of a great Web2 app, if anyone says that any more: ease of embedding, tweets, FB likes and all… plus the opportunity to pay for promotion within the Mixcloud community.

Overall, I was seriously impressed and look forward to using the service a lot over the coming months. Oh, just for the record, here’s the mix!

Simon

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