Is SoundCloud right for authors? By Jack Shepherd

 Journalists have flocked to the audio sharing site but how are they using it?  Could authors be doing the same thing to promote their books?

SoundCloud has quickly become one of the best platforms for journalists to share audio stories on the web. Being easy to use, advert free and attracting over 175 million unique users each month, news organisations across the world have flocked to the audio sharing network.

Much like how the use of Facebook and Twitter differs between each organisation, the use of SoundCloud varies hugely, with some news teams using the network to release hour long podcasts every week and others using the site primarily to add short audio snippets to their stories.

With this in mind, here are six way SoundCloud has been used by news organisations to share their stories in both successful and unsuccessful ways.


BuzzFeed currently have two primary SoundCloud accounts: BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed News. The main account uses the service to add audio to stories, for instance uploading snippets of people speaking to create their article “Can You Guess The Accent?”

The news channel also regularly uses SoundCloud as a way of adding sound to stories, uploading Harrison Ford’s radio broadcast to signal engine failure just before his recent crash, for example.

While the news channel only has 58 subscribers as of writing, clips such as Ford’s crash have gained thousands of plays due to being embedded in articles on the site.

BuzzFeed is quite happy to use SoundCloud as a tool to add short form audio to stories rather than a news distribution site of its own, but is set to launch a pair of podcasts ÔÇô Internet Explorer and Another Round ÔÇô in the near future.

BBC World Service Radio

BBC World Service has a very active SoundCloud, with audio files uploaded to the site almost hourly. Most recordings do not surpass the five minute mark and are primarily interview snippets from the BBC World Service.

Full reports are occasionally uploaded, such as this one on the easy accessibility of the drug Nyaope in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province.

Currently standing at 81,293 subscribers and 5,101 uploads, the BBC seems intent on keeping their SoundCloud page up to date with the latest news, using the platform as another news distribution service rather than just adding audio to stories.

Huffington Post

Unlike the BBC, The Huffington Post uses its SoundCloud profile to distribute regular podcasts that range from 20 to 40 minutes in length and cover a wide range of sub-categories from the main site such as politics, religion and sex.

Along with podcasts, the Huffington Post SoundCloud also features shorter audio clips added to stories to give them more interactivity. An example of how the organisation maximised their short-form audio content would be the ‘Courting Disaster’ series, in which journalists uploaded each interview alongside the written story.

Although the channel only has 608 subscribers as of writing, many audio clips have had thousands of plays due to being featured on their website.

The Guardian

The Guardian currently runs a number of SoundCloud channels, the most popular of which is the Guardian Politics Weekly podcast, with over a million subscribers. Unlike the Huffington Post, The Guardian only uses the site for podcasts and separates each sub-category into distinct channels with politics, football and science each having their own Soundcloud platforms.

Most politics podcasts hover around the half hour mark, while football tends to reach 50 minutes.

While having so many followers, recent podcast plays have not passed 10,000 due to the Guardian’s recent focus on iTunes distribution.


ESPN has a number of SoundCloud channels each with differing uses. The ESPN 1500AM stream, for example, focuses on episodic podcasts while 101Sports from St. Louis uploads regular snippets from its radio show.

1500AM podcasts can be as long as two hours, while regular uploads at 101Sports range from a minute to almost an hour. Interestingly, the regular uploads get more plays per podcast while 101Sports see fewer per stream but overall have more plays due to their frequency.

With such a huge choice of SoundCloud channels to follow, listeners are given the option to follow their local channel rather than receiving updates from channels they may have no interest in.

While starting off as a comic in the paper, Mr Digwell has made the leap to podcast form as part of The Mirror’s main SoundCloud output. Each month the gardener uploads a podcast of gardening tips to go along with his comic strip, both of which feature on The Mirror’s website.

While his popularity in the comic may be high, Mr Digwell’s podcast plays waver around the 20 to 30 mark, even with endorsement from the nationals website.

Shameless plug: Check out the SoundCloud account with regular podcasts and interview clips with experts from across the industry.