75 Million + registered users. Over 175 Million unique visitors every month. A brand name that just about anyone in the music industry can instantly recognize. A massive $70 Million Investment by Twitter. That is Soundcloud for you. But, do all these statistics and fame add up to anything when you evaluate the impact, or the lack of impact that Soundcloud has had on the music industry?
That is exactly what this post will discuss. Towards the end of the post, we will also introduce you to some tips about promoting your music on Soundcloud, a good read if you are an artist.
A recent survey suggested that Soundcloud has reached almost 25% of mobile phones in Mainland USA. That is a phenomenal penetration rate. Only massive Internet brands like Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter can boast of numbers that surpass those kind of credentials. By being a disruptive force that eliminated middlemen in the form of publishers, Soundcloud has allowed hundreds of thousands of artists connect directly with audience thirsty for a particular brand of music.
Soundcloud’s Impact on the Music Industry
Any artist can get at least a little exposure
Artists without a network have the best chance of gaining exposure at Soundcloud. Age, background, reputation, networking skills or Facebook likes or Twitter followers will not deny an artist a chance to exhibit their music at Soundcloud. Sure, all those extra credentials help but they are not deal breakers to get exposure. The only requirement is good music. If artists create good or great music, they will get exposure at Soundcloud, better than at any other site or platform in the world.
Since Soundcloud is a very strong community, good music will get you not just exposure but loyal exposure. People will follow an artist’s Soundcloud page if they see potential for good music. Artists can also give themselves the initial momentum to gain exposure at Soundcloud by buying a few Soundcloud followers and plays. Though buying followers and plays sounds a little nefarious, it is a very common and very accepted practice that budding artists use to get their presence on Soundcloud a rolling start. Of course, it matters who the artists buy such Soundcloud follows or plays from. For example, an artist can gain fantastic momentum if they buy Soundcloud plays or followers from a reputed service like BuySCPlays. Buying followers or plays from a provider like BuySCPlays gives users real listeners and real followers as opposed to bot generated plays and follows from inferior service providers that run by the night, only to disappear a few days later.
Artists don’t have to commit to Record Labels
Before, record labels were a rampant force. Because they primarily controlled who the world listened to, it is was almost impossible for thousands of artists to ever get their music out in the public. If an artist couldn’t find at least one record label that will showcase their music, it often meant that their musical career was at the end of the road.
Record labels were also known for favoritism and heavy politics. Even if an artists did make it through with a record label, they were burdened by bonded contracts that were heavily biased in favor of the record label.
Soundcloud’s elimination of the record label phenomenon also meant that artists could collaborate at will, without having to worry about breaking exclusive contracts. The correlation between the rise of collaborative music work and the growth of Soundcloud is simply unmistakable.
Artists directly connect with fans
Before Soundcloud, fans were just numbers or metrics. If an artist was successful, he or she would only know how many records they sold or how many times their songs were downloaded. But, with Soundcloud, artists are able to check out who their actual fans are. This in turn allows them to truly understand their fan base.
There have been many great Soundcloud success stories where artists have actively sought feedback from their fan base, to then create new music. In fact, there have even been some artists who have collaborated with their fans who are budding musicians of their own.
The possibilities are just endless when artists know who exactly their target audience is.
Artists can actively seek feedback and criticism
Go to any popular track or artist page at Soundcloud and you will see a hive of comment activity below every Soundcloud play. If an artist’s music is awesome, comments will say so. If the artist’s music is awful, comments will say so. This genuine and uncensored feedback allows artists to either make more of great music or stop making music that nobody likes.
Soundcloud that way is a mutually benefitting relationship for both artists and their audience. Also, like YouTube comments with time placeholders, Soundcloud allows commenters to link out to specific points in a music track, to let others know exactly what they are referring to when they are commenting on a certain section of a soundtrack.
Artists can get recognized by Labels that scout Soundcloud for talent
Though record label companies are not as powerful a force as before, they still have a significant impact on the music industry. Since record label companies need fresh talent to grow or even just survive, they are constantly scouting for great artists.
Guess what their favorite hunting ground is for all that scouting? Soundcloud, of course! Though Soundcloud is a competitor, record labels spend enormous amounts of time listening to Soundcloud music, to find the next big artist. When they do find one they are interested in, they usually offer very lucrative exclusive deals so those select artists can make substantial gains, without having to make music for free anymore.
Listeners have an immense amount of choice when it comes to free music
Unlike Spotify that is paid (unless you only listen to shuffle play) and YouTube that requires you to stay on their site with the videos running, Soundcloud is a massive database for completely free music, as long as you can put up with the occasional ad. Otherwise, there are no strings attached here for the listener.
This explains why Soundcloud is such a thriving community for both listeners and artists. When there is no need to pay for a subscription service or per song download price, listeners spend a lot more time listening to music, while trying to find the track that will go on to become their next “jam”!
Now that you know how Soundcloud has had an impact on the music industry, you might be interested is how it helps you showcase your music as an artist.
Soundcloud’s new Upload service and how it can help you as an artist
If you are an artist worried about uploading your music to Soundcloud because of their financial troubles, you are not alone. Despite its enormous user base, Soundcloud has essentially struggled as a business. In July of 2017, Soundcloud suddenly laid off 40% of its staff in one shocking move. There were rumors that even such drastic measures will only give Soundcloud cash ready to keep it afloat for about three or four months, or just into the next quarter.
It seems as though Soundcloud’s founders and management themselves are all over the place when it comes to making Soundcloud work as a business model.
But, there just might be a shining beacon amidst all the darkness that surrounds Soundcloud’s financial darkness. Soundcloud recently released a new feature called Upload. Though Soundcloud made it look like an exclusive and very unique service, one can’t help but notice that it is essentially a duplication of Spotify’s user playlists. Upload essentially allows you to find music recommendations based on music that you already like, which is essentially what Spotify does as a website.
Upload at Soundcloud is however very different from Spotify in the sense that the suggestions are of tracks that are freshly being circulated on Soundcloud. This raises the chance of a listener finding music that they like, but music that they haven’t heard before.
Soundcloud might be onto something with the Upload service. Since the vast majority of Soundcloud’s tracks haven’t been listened to more than once or twice, Upload has the power to give almost every user at Soundcloud hours and hours of “new” music that they will love, assuming that the algorithm does its job perfectly well.
If you are a new artist or even an existing artist on Soundcloud who doesn’t get a lot of plays, now is the time to keep an eye on how your not so popular tracks are slowly accumulating new plays. Reviews of Upload seems to suggest that the song suggestions the algorithm makes is benefitting both listeners as well as artists.
Listeners are introduced to new songs that they have never heard before and artists are getting great exposure to tracks that were otherwise just catching dust on their Soundcloud profile pages.
How you can get more exposure to your tracks at Soundcloud?
Though Soundcloud’s new Upload feature will undoubtedly get you more exposure to your tracks, you can do other things as an artist to help your exposure levels and to get your tracks played more often.
First, please understand that existing Soundcloud follows and plays dramatically improve your chances of gaining massive exposure. Soundcloud uses a complex algorithm to keep track of how “viral” your music is. If it notices that your music is accumulating followers and plays at a gradually increasing pace, it will exponentially increase your exposure levels for at least a few hours.
With 175+ million users, all it takes is a few minutes for your tracks to go from a few hundred plays to hundreds of thousands or even millions of plays.
But, you as an artist are probably daunted by the initial momentum exposure problem. You put out great music but what good is it if it only listened to by your 47 or whatever low number of followers that you have? This is where you can beat the system by buying Soundcloud plays or followers. As mentioned before, legitimate services like BuySCPlays can give you hundreds or several thousand of new plays and followers, very quickly, with a very reasonable budget. Such buying of plays or followers don’t pose any risk to your Soundcloud profile either.
BuySCPlays has been around for several years and has allowed countless number of budding artists go from being brand spanking new at Soundcloud to now established and well followed artists at Soundcloud, all because of that initial momentum that snowballed into massive success.
What is really fantastic about buying plays and followers is that you will only have to do it once. If you have just decent music, the initial plays and follows will trigger Soundcloud’s algorithm and put it out there in front of thousands or millions of listeners. If Soundcloud users organically like your music, only the sky is the limit when it comes to how popular your music can eventually become.
Besides buying Soundcloud plays and follows, you must also actively engage with the Soundcloud listening community to increase your chances of exposure. Make it a point to respond to your fans and their comments, even if they criticize your music. Ask them for feedback on what they like, what they don’t like and so on.
Another simple thing you can do is just update your profile page every day. You don’t have to post music every day. In fact, that is not recommended at all as not even the most talented musician can post great new music every day. Instead, use status updates, pictures from your life as a musician as messages on your feed. These updates will keep your fans interested, always remembering your handle on Soundcloud. Then, when you do post new and good music, there is a very high chance that your engaged fans will actually listen to your music. More ears listening to your music means more reposts, more followers and more plays, as Soundcloud’s algorithm does its work.
Collaborating with other bands and artists at Soundcloud is another great way to promote yourself. Not all artists and bands will want to work with you. But, when you do find a willing partner, your music gets out to different follower groups. Since you will return the favor to the artist you collaborate with, it is usually a win-win situation that benefits both parties.
A more advanced tip to help promote yourself at Soundcloud is to approach tastemakers or influencers. These are people who are experts in the genre of music that you make. They suggest new music to millions of listeners as a living. As you can imagine, getting noticed by them gives you tremendous exposure that you just cannot even fathom accomplishing on your own.
Always also remember that getting recognized on Soundcloud takes time and perseverance. You can’t hope to get famous with just a single track. Sure, one in a million do just that. But, for the others, good music, good promotional tactics and good participation in the Soundcloud community will slowly but surely fetch great results.