The Art of Smart Brevity: How the Internet and SoundCloud's Broken Business Model Impact Communication and Creativity

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Glasp

Aug 05, 20234 min read

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The Art of Smart Brevity: How the Internet and SoundCloud's Broken Business Model Impact Communication and Creativity

In today's digital age, we are bombarded with information like never before. The internet has given us access to a vast amount of knowledge, but it has also made us perpetually distracted. We skim through articles and share them without truly digesting their content. We have become masters of brevity, but at what cost?

According to studies conducted by the University of Maryland and the University of California Irvine, our attention span has dwindled to a mere 26 seconds. Even when we make the conscious decision to read something, we quickly get distracted and it takes us an average of 20 minutes to refocus. This constant state of distraction poses a challenge for writers and communicators. How can we convey our message effectively in such a limited timeframe?

The key lies in identifying the one thing we want our audience to remember. In a cluttered world filled with information overload, it is crucial to start with why our message matters. What is the core essence of what we want to say? By focusing on this one thing, we can cut through the noise and capture the attention of our audience.

This concept of brevity and capturing attention is not limited to written communication. It also applies to platforms like SoundCloud, which has faced challenges due to its broken business model. From the beginning, artists abused the feature of reposting their own tracks, pushing them to the top of their followers' feeds repeatedly. SoundCloud experimented with various business models, including content-related ads and charging creators for premium accounts. However, the platform faced a major issue with copyrighted material being uploaded without permission.

As SoundCloud's popularity grew, so did the influx of bad actors who flooded the site with undisclosed advertising. Artists and promoters could easily boost the number of streams a song received through reposts. This led to a flood of mediocre music being pushed through by artists, labels, and blog accounts, often paid for. The platform became a breeding ground for inauthentic engagement, with artists resorting to buying fake listens, likes, and followers.

In contrast, Spotify introduced an embeddable player in 2012 that allowed users to play music without leaving the page. This feature, coupled with Spotify's business model of fully licensed tracks in exchange for guaranteed royalties, attracted major labels. As a result, SoundCloud's economics began to favor the biggest stars, leaving smaller, up-and-coming artists at a disadvantage.

Furthermore, SoundCloud's embrace of major labels discouraged the remix culture that had initially thrived on the platform. Artists saw SoundCloud as a stepping stone rather than an end goal. While SoundCloud claims to be working on tools for monetization, many indie artists still have no options to participate in the limited monetizing programs offered. This one-sided relationship between SoundCloud and creators has left the platform fractured and understaffed.

So, how can we navigate the challenges of brevity and the pitfalls of broken business models? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Prioritize quality over quantity: Instead of bombarding your audience with a deluge of information, focus on delivering high-quality content. Craft your message carefully and concisely to capture attention and leave a lasting impact.
  • 2. Stay authentic and transparent: In an era of inauthentic engagement, it is essential to remain true to your craft. Don't succumb to the temptation of buying fake engagement or resorting to undisclosed advertising. Build genuine connections with your audience and let your work speak for itself.
  • 3. Seek alternative platforms and business models: If you find yourself at odds with a broken business model, explore other platforms and avenues for showcasing your creativity. Look for platforms that prioritize indie artists and provide fair monetization opportunities.

In conclusion, the internet has undoubtedly revolutionized communication and creativity. However, it has also brought challenges in the form of information overload and broken business models. To navigate these challenges, we must master the art of smart brevity and seek authentic connections with our audience. By prioritizing quality, staying true to ourselves, and exploring alternative platforms, we can make the most of this digital age while preserving the essence of our craft.

Resource:

  1. "Transcript: The Art of Smart Brevity - Write Less, Say More | Jim VandeHei | TEDxOshkosh", https://ytscribe.com/v/NGy1o4jLkJc/ (Glasp)
  2. "How SoundCloud's broken business model drove artists away", https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/21/15999172/soundcloud-business-model-future-spotify-streaming (Glasp)

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