Corey Fischer recently wrote an article on Story Passage that grew out of his experiences with the online community SoundCloud, which is where he’s been sharing songs, spoken-word pieces and digital compositions. Among others, he interviewed me about my SoundCloud profile and postings. With his permission, I decided to post our complete interview here, but I recommend reading Corey’s excellent piece for a broad selection of inspiring views!

Alexa Soundcloud

Corey: About how long have you been using SoundCloud?

Alexa: A few years, but only became active at beginning of 2013 when I took the first of two Berklee/Coursera MOOC classes that required you to post your assignments on Soundcloud. At that point, I began interacting with other musicians — and like any social network, you get as good as you give.

How is music a part of your life (Livelihood? Passion? Addiction? Comfort? Or?)

Professional touring musician, Grammy-nominated recording artist.

How do you use SoundCloud? (for sharing music? Collaborating? Getting feedback on works-in-progress?)

Sharing music. I like the idea of putting works in progress up as well as snapshots of what I’m playing or practicing. I’d like to collaborate; I’ve gotten some requests but never seen any results.

Do you feel that a “SoundCloud Community” (or Communities) exists?

Absolutely. So far mine have mainly been around Coursera, however.

Are there other online music sites similar to SoundCloud that you use and/or prefer to SoundCloud?

Not music social media. I think it’s brilliant, and made me rethink social media. Purpose-built social media is definitely valuable. I quit Facebook after a few years, even though I was quite “successful” there. Facebook users are quite addicted to the platform. I still have an artist page, but the personal profile was addictive for me too and I felt there were better uses of my time. A Facebook user is harder to draw away from Facebook, I find, and also interested in politics, lifestyle comparison, hooking up/dating, selfies, etc. A SoundCloud user is there for music/sound only.

Has using SoundCloud changed anything about the way you create music or listen to music?

Yes, the supportive nature of the comments has been great. Try getting a Facebook user to give you targeted feedback about that rhyme or chord you used in a song! Possible, but much harder. However, I haven’t been too active recently. About to go on tour, and I’d like to post some new audio and compositions while on the road.

Anything about yourself, music, songwriting, composing, digital recording or SoundCloud that you’d like to add?

If you believe in craft, and I strongly do, than a community like SoundCloud is inspiring. However, a lot of musicians do like I did at first: automatically post their tracks from CD Baby (you can just click a button), see zero comments/interaction, and let it lie fallow.

I say forget Pinterest (tried it), LinkedIn, ReverbNation, MySpace (as if!) and FaceBook and enjoy a community purpose-built for musicians. So what if you don’t find many music fans there, half or more of the music business has to do with inspiration and collaboration with other musicians and who you know. This is a way to do all those things, without getting sucked into other time-wasters.