SoundCloud is a fantastic tool for promoting your music, but success doesn’t happen overnight. Use these three steps to grow your SoundCloud fan base and build on your successes.
If you ask emerging music artists what the toughest part of their job is, many will say it’s gaining exposure for their music, which is why marketing yourself on SoundCloud and figuring out how to grow a SoundCloud fan base may be one of the smartest things you can do to get recognition.
According to the NY Times, SoundCloud has an average of 175 million monthly listeners, which is several million more than Spotify’s 140 million active users. One thing that really sets the two platforms apart is that SoundCloud’s user base is largely comprised of independent musicians (10 million, in fact), along with music producers, venue owners, A&R reps, and record labels – not to mention music fans who are always hungry for great new music to listen to.
Many notable artists have been discovered simply by uploading their tracks on SoundCloud, including electronic DJ/Producer Kygo and rappers Post Malone, Fetty Wap and Lil Uzi Vert. Likewise, self-labeled “trap soul” artist Bryson Tiller credits the music sharing platform for his rising stardom, stating in an interview on Hot New Hip Hop that “SoundCloud is definitely key to my success, for real.”
SoundCloud has been instrumental in building careers for these and many other artists, making it an essential tool for those who seek to attract important industry contacts and increase their listener base. So, how do you go about growing and nurturing a SoundCloud fan base?
Create an extensive profile
This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many artists out there fail to properly craft a great SoundCloud profile.
To start with, you should ensure that you have a killer artist bio. You can think of this as an elevator pitch with the aim of generating interest in yourself and your projects. It will often be the first impression a listener has of you, so be sure to make it good. You should talk about who you are as an artist while highlighting any achievements: notable venues or events you’ve played, record labels or groups you are associated with, prominent press or reviews you’ve received, etc.
When uploading tracks, make sure you have interesting artwork attached to each one and make them something other than your profile picture. This provides artist branding as your tracks start getting noticed, people will associate images to your particular tracks and act.
Be sure to use a comprehensive set of appropriate genre tags so that the type of people you are trying to reach can easily find your music. Moreover, don’t forget to keep all your contact info current so industry folk can contact you. And always embed a link to your SoundCloud profile in all your websites and social media outlets!
Engage, engage, engage
You could consider SoundCloud as the LinkedIn of the music world. Yes, it is a music sharing platform at its core, but it’s also an active community where like-minded people can talk about and share their passion for music. As such, in addition to consistently posting good music, the best way to make yourself known on SoundCloud is to actively engage with other users.
You can start by finding artists making similar music to yours. Check their fan base, connect with their active listeners, follow and engage with them. Joining genre-relevant groups and forums are also great places to get your music out there. Much like networking in-person, if you spend a little time each day building relationships with people, you can quickly get yourself noticed.
When reaching out to fellow artists, mix things up a bit. Instead of just dropping your tracks on people, why not ask them to send you their music first? If it’s good, repost it on your profile. Other artists will appreciate the interest and are much more likely to give you a listen and return the favor by sharing your music with their followers.
Pay for the right things
Many of you are already aware of the services out there offering guaranteed followers, listens, likes, etc. in exchange for cash. While this might seem like a quick and easy way to increase your SoundCloud presence, I don’t recommend this as a good approach for building a long-term following.
Avid SoundCloud users can easily detect when musicians have paid for their “success.” For instance, if someone visits your profile and sees a whole bunch of listens but no likes, comments, or reposts, they might sense something isn’t right.
Instead, if you have a monetary budget for getting your music out there, there are far more legitimate ways to promote yourself. Dropping a few bucks on Facebook ads is one way to really tailor your promo, since it allows you to target people by age, location, music genre, and even to those who have “liked” a certain artist.
Another proven method is to reach out to influencers relevant in your genre and pay them to share your track. This can drive real traffic to your profile and, assuming your music is great, should lead to comments, likes, and new followers.
Hart Thorson has been DJing for 13 years and producing for six. He is the U.S. Course Advisor at Point Blank Music School, a world-renowned electronic music school offering professional programs on topics such as DJing, music production, sound engineering and more.
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