When you have new, unreleased songs or demos you’d like to share with your team, you need a way to send them.
Sounds simple enough, however, I can’t tell you how many times I get sent broken links, “empty” Soundcloud playlists or Dropbox links that won’t stream – or are, gasp, 50MB wav files!
To protect your songs and to make sure that someone doesn’t leak them, send streaming-only links. You can even password protect them if you want to be super careful.
I recommend doing this via Box. Not Soundcloud. Not Dropbox. And definitely not attaching mp3s to an email (this clutters up their inbox and oftentimes will get sent to spam).
The reason not to use Soundcloud is because it’s too finicky. While it’s easy enough to share “secret” links to songs with downloading disabled, it’s not so easy to share private playlists. I consider myself quite savvy with this stuff and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to do this so it works 100% of the time.
With Box you can stream mp3s in browser and in-app (or download if you want). And has an excellent app.
For the record, Dropbox doesn’t allow you to stream mp3 links in a mobile browser – they force you to download the app. Super lame!
Side note: I know you’re going to be all like “Ari! mp3s sound so crappy and wavs are the highest fidelity! I want them to hear the highest..” blah blah blah stop! No one I’ve met in the industry (and I’ve met a lot) wants to deal with gigantic wav files. If they need a wav they will request one. But oftentimes you’re sending new song ideas, unreleased stuff to your team, songs for freelance musicians to learn. Wavs take way too long to load and take up way too much data. 320kbps mp3s are more than sufficient. 256kbps is even fine. You can have a folder for wavs too – to send out ONLY WHEN REQUESTED (like when a music supervisor says “ok we’re ready to place your song, please send a wav” or to be able to access to upload for Distribution).
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Personally I’m a Box user, but many people I work with are Dropbox users. Because Box allows you to stream mp3 links in any browser (and doesn’t force you to download their app) I much prefer Box to Dropbox. Get with it Dropbox! But photographers seem to prefer Dropbox.
Some people swear by Google Drive, and I use Drive quite a bit (along with Sheets and Forms), BUT there’s no way to disable downloading – if that’s important to you. If you share an mp3 via Drive, the recipient has the ability to download it. I do love when people share videos over Drive – feels just like YouTube.
Unlike Soundcloud, Box and Dropbox files don’t show up in Google searches. So they are kept safe and sound in your accounts. You don’t need to create “private” links or anything, HOWEVER, you might want to password protect the files if if you have a rabid fanbase and you absolutely don’t want anyone outside your inner circle hearing them.
How To Create a Password Protected Song or Album Link in Box
Upload all the songs to a Folder. If order is important, I recommend labeling each song title starting with the corresponding track number. Unfortunately, in Box, there’s no way to set an order – like you can in a Soundcloud playlist. By default, it’s in order of “Updated” date. So I recommend uploading the songs in reverse order. But, you can NOT rearrange them once uploaded. Huge pain in the ass. But if you name the song titles starting with the track number, you can sort by “Name” (but when sending the link out, the recipient will see the “Updated” order by default). LAME!
If you just want to share one song, simply click Share and copy the shared link.
Click Copy and then a blue link icon will show up on that file once you refresh (see above – I already had the link enabled)
To disable downloading and/or password protect the file, click the Gear icon just above Copy then check the Require Password box. Type in a password. Then uncheck “Allow users with the shared link to download this item.” box. Copy the link and you’re set!
For the record, I never password protect my files.
For one, I’m not that famous and no one cares. And most importantly, it is a HUGE headache for anyone you are sending the link to. So I definitely recommend NOT password protecting the files (unless you’re super famous).
I also always allow downloading. Again, I’m not that famous that people will care about getting ‘leaked’ songs. And, most importantly, some people may actually, in fact, need to download it for something or another. So I leave that option available.
To share the entire folder (like an album), just click Share this Folder on the right side and click Get Shared Link. Do NOT click Invite Collaborators. This requires them to have a Box account and it’ll annoy anyone without one. Follow the normal steps if you want to password protect.
Then once you have the shared link copied, you can send that link to anyone.
I recommend creating a custom Smarturl link that you can remember so you don’t have to login to Box every time and go through all these steps to get the shared link. Like: http://smarturl.it/Together-SP (go ahead, click it)
How To Create a Password Protected Song or Album Link in Dropbox
But, from the get-go, I actually don’t recommend you use Dropbox because they don’t allow you stream the link from your phone without the app. This limits your recipient’s functionality and may not get them to actually listen.
With that being said, if you so chose…
Upload all your songs to a Folder. Then click Share -> Link settings. Then you can check the Yes for “Disable downloads for this link” and check “Only people with the password” if you want. You must have a paid plan to do this though.
Personally, I hate Dropbox because people always share folders to my email and I ran out of space long ago and I’m not going to upgrade because I already pay for Box.
Word to the wise do NOT send Dropbox folders to people through their Share -> Email setting. That forces the recipient to login to Dropbox and add it to their account and go through a bunch of steps and jump through hoops if they don’t have Dropbox.
Just get the shareable link, turn it into a Smarturl link so you can remember it, and send out that link.