[Editors note: Soundclick has not responded to our inquiries at the time of this posting]
It’s not just because it’s slowly becoming the “MySpace” of music makers social media although that is one big factor.
It’s not because it’s full of musicians and beat makers who always look for ways to game the system like buying their way into the top of the charts. That’s a whole other topic for another post.
It’s not because the SC admins look away when their “big fish” users break rules.
In this case it’s because, in my opinion, they have little regard for their users and providing good support.
Take the case of NFX. NFX is a well respected tutorial maker who runs Warbeats.com. He has been involved in helping beat makers since 2005 and was a Soundclick member since before that time. Soundclick shut him down for little more than having a beat in the wrong category. Read that again.
In the past NFX has encouraged people to use Soundclick and even has recommended that people go to a VIP account at Soundclick to maximize their chances at selling beats. He was a paying VIP member at Soundclick himself and even did a feature on the importance of using VIP privilege to customize the look and feel of Soundclick pages.
Here’s the long story:
NFX had made a reggae style instrumental and uploaded it to Soundclick back in 2004. He chose to put it in the “Reggae” category. People liked it enough that the track broke the top 10 in that genre and was placed on many fan stations. It went like this for many years until…
In 2011 Soundclick support decided that it was in the wrong category. According to NFX, back in 2004, there was no “Reggae Instrumental” category. As a matter of fact there were much fewer genres to choose from. But for whatever reason Soundclick support determined that it was time to shut down NFX for this issue.
When visitors went to his page, they just saw some simple text – “This account is under review”
Now a casual visitor might see that and assume that NFX had broken some law or important rule. If a client of NFX was going there what would they think about their business partner?
Why would Soundclick treat a customer like this? The only reason I can think of is that they just don’t care. It’s not only NFX that got hit by something like this. Another Soundclick user stated that it took a week for Soundclick to restore his page after he informed them of the fixes he made.
This is the text of the email sent to NFX:
Your account is under review due to inappropriate genre listings. Any instrumentals/beats should be placed under the instrumentals genre, and any songs containing lyrics should not (except in the case of hooks, which would then be placed in the ‘Instrumentals with hooks’ sub-genre of Instrumentals).Please correct your genres and email us once this has been done to request account reinstatement.
An important thing to note is they do not tell you which songs cause the rule to break. It’s easy enough to check and fix when you have a dozen songs but imagine if you had a hundred songs!
According to NFX, with no clear mention of the songs he needed to change, he made the fixes he thought were appropriate and emailed the Soundclick support people back. In his reply, he made it known that he thought the policy to block accounts for such a minor thing was “retarded”.
Soundclick responded with some information about the track in question and then asked if he had clearance for a few vocal snippets used in the song.
You can hear the song here: http://warbeats.com/s/wbCPA
NFX responded by complying further and removed the track.
To bring some light to this policy, NFX posted a message on the Soundclick forum. In the post he was not rude, he just asked about why such a forceful policy existed.
NFX recommended that at the very least users should get a warning to fix their genres and be infromed of the specific songs that need fixing. This would allow him to fix the issues and not lose customers/fans due to his page being taken down for “review”. At the very least he stated that the courtesy should be extended to paying customers.
Within a few hours, Soundclick responded by removing his post and banning him from the forum.
Frustrated NFX went on to ask his users for help by creating a thread on his site and sending a tweet to his followers. (See thread here http://nfurl.us/scsux )
As of this writing NFX has informed me that all his support emails go unanswered. he is in the proverbial “doghouse” and is still currently a paying VIP member, but possibly not for long.
During the research for this article, a few things seemed evident:
1) Soundclick support is mainly two people: Phil and Ally. Phil seems to be more laid back, yet not without a chip against “beat makers”. Ally, on the other hand seems to be extremely vindictive. She threatened NFX to remove his tweet if he ever wanted his account back. We have seen posts on other hip hop/beat maker forums where she is mentioned by name as being a very mean spirited, power tripping person when dealing with support issues.
2) Soundclick does not have a good “contact us” methodology. Most things have to go through one email address – firstname.lastname@example.org. This includes billing questions, customer service, legal inquiries, etc. This just seems unprofessional for what appears on the surface to be a reputable company.
3) The founders of Soundclick are twin brothers Tanju and Tolgar Canli. Tolgar seems more involved and is often seen to help out on support issues. When NFX reached out to Tolgar, he was basically rebuffed and ignored. Maybe the money is so good they can afford to not care about customer service or how their support staff is operating? Who knows.
4) One of the more surprising aspects is that it appears in my research that Soundclick is run by a mere four people – Ally, Phil and the two brothers. According to wikipedia Soundclick hosts 3.5 million songs, 450,000 bands/artists and has 3 million registered members. I would think that a company with that much web juice should have more staff than 4 people.
My conclusion is that nothing will change. While NFX may be respected in the community, Soundclick is a powerhouse and as long as the top earners have Soundclick pages, the little fish will follow.
There are alternatives that are catching up fast. Some of them are: