The YouTube or Instagram of Sound

How SoundCloud is both

We’ve become more than accustomed, as time has passed and as social networks have increasingly emphasized digital photography, to be entertained/informed by passing glances at other people’s daily existence — not just the milestones, like birthdays and weddings and vacations, but the small ones, the passing ones: chance shadows on the sidewalk, a glass of water on a table, a pair of shoes in a closet. Instagram, for one, is a deep repository of metaphorical driftwood. There is much talk of SoundCloud being the “YouTube of sound,” but some of the more interesting estuaries make a case that it is also the “Instagram of sound,” a place where everydayness is given emotional and cultural meaning through framing and context. As SoundCloud continues to grow, if you follow certain user accounts, you get the sonic equivalent of Instagram’s quotidian documentation, brief sonic snapshots of other people’s lives. Here are two choice recent entries, which popped up in quick succession, field recordings of a passing train, and of the beach at night, both under two minutes:

Tracks originally posted at and

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