Music sharing platform SoundCloud-which bills itself as a "YouTube for Music"-launched a new site called SoundCloud Labs designed to feature other apps built using its API.
According to the site, the purpose is to "give you a place to find some of our crazier, cutting-edge ideas and to show what our developer team gets up to when they're not sleeping."
Think of it like a Music Hack Day-type site for SoundCloud apps. All the apps are created by SoundCloud employees. Current examples include Social Unlock, designed to let bands offer free downloads in return for social activity, Importer, which allows artists to upload tracks to SoundCloud from a website, email or phone, and Takes Questions, the Q&A service that launched in beta form last month.
The move positions SoundCloud into an interesting, transitional space. It's core platform is designed to let pretty much anyone post music and let other users make comments on it, with the ability to post the comments to specific portions of the song. Sure amateur musicians can use it, but its really the more known artists that stand to benefit most.
With SoundCloud Labs, the company seems to be asking itself (and the music/tech community) what else it can be. Does it want to be a developer platform and tech provider? A broader consumer play? Something else? It's almost like the company is crowdsourcing its business model a bit.
SoundCloud is already a darling of the tech press, and is a leader in music hack circles. Whether it becomes similarly known among the broader music fanbase depends on where it goes from here.