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How To Get More Plays on SoundCloud: 5 Legit Strategies …
As an artist, you are responsible for promoting your own music. So how do you promote yourself to get more plays on SoundCloud?
Here are 5 rock-solid SoundCloud promotion strategies that are relevant for the music industry in 2021. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll learn:
The truth about SoundCloud and promotionOne thing you need to get right before you start promoting yourselfHow to leverage existing audiences to maximize your plays
By following these strategies, you can increase the number of plays you’ll get on SoundCloud, as well as followers and likes. Let’s go!
Check out our FREE eBook – 10 Tips For Promoting Your Music on a Budget. Nail your social media strategy Give your music the best chance of success Find your ideal audience online
A Brief Note
SoundCloud has made changes within the last few years where the home page is no longer your stream. This means that people who follow you aren’t always going to be finding your music when it comes out.
Spotify is a much more popular option these days for listening to music, and it allows you to reach a wider audience.
Including key services like Spotify and Apple Music in 2021 is crucial in unlocking the full power of promotion and marketing.
Apart from that, here are 5 strategies that will get you more plays on Soundcloud:
Make great music firstLeverage existing audiences on the platformUse email for networking and promotionGet into repost chainsMake your music discoverable
Strategy 1: Make (Actually) Great Music
While it is possible to promote crap music, it never survives the ultimate test: the opinion of the audience.
No matter how much PR or marketing you give a track, if it’s really average, then nobody wants to listen, and you won’t get plays.
Never forget this golden rule of music promotion – your music is the marketing. You don’t just market music, it’s inherently linked to the promotion process.
One of my earlier tracks, ‘Carpark Anxiety’, has only gotten 900 plays in 3 years, even though I sent it to a lot of people. Why? Nobody wanted to share it, because it’s very average.
People don’t buy a vacuum cleaner if they don’t want one, so people won’t listen to music if they don’t like it. This is especially true on Soundcloud, where the barrier of entry is so low that a lot of horrible music gets uploaded, meaning listeners have more to sift through.
I’ve found over time that artists and producers (especially those who want a career) tend to overestimate the quality of their music. I did in the early days, and you can go and listen to my really old music and hear the improvement over time.
One of my newer drum & bass tracks, a bootleg of Porter Robinson’s Get Your Wish, got a lot of plays and was shared a lot more, because this track is much higher quality than my old stuff.
But this begs the question – should I upload my music if it’s not 100% there yet? This is arguable, but on a platform like SoundCloud, the stakes are much lower, with removing tracks being just a click away.
Plus, you’re likely to get valuable feedback from the public if you ask for it, allowing you to gauge what will and won’t work.
So while promoting music online is important, getting feedback and taking that into the studio will prove to be a much more valuable use of time.
So how do I make my music ‘better’? That’s another topic entirely, and that’s also why we have courses like EDM Foundations and Songwriting for Producers.
But a few pointers:
Make sure your core musical ideas are solid – production, mixing and mastering won’t matter otherwiseGet feedback from listeners, tastemakers and other artistsBe patient and keep making a large volume of music
Strategy 2: Leverage Existing Audiences
This might be confusing to say, but it’s true.
There are people who are always going to be better at marketing music than you. So don’t reinvent the wheel, use these people to your advantage.
People dedicate their lives to finding and sharing music to audiences that love it, so you.
Find channels on Soundcloud that can share your music to larger numbers of people than you ever could. This could come in the form of
Repost channelsOther artists with bigger followingsPromotional channelsLabels/collectivesPlaylisters
Don’t ignore offsite audiences as well. Just because they don’t have larger audiences on SoundCloud, doesn’t mean a blog or YouTube channel can’t send lots of plays your way.
Make sure to utilize:
BlogsHype MachineYouTube ChannelsSpotify PlaylistsInfluencers (e. g. vloggers, Instagram accounts)Radio stations (some play directly off SoundCloud! )
The key here is to find channels that are a good fit for your music. Don’t go messaging someone just because they have a lot of followers. They are already looking for very specific kinds of music for their tastes.
So play a few of their previous uploads/shares and make a decision. Don’t be too scared if your music isn’t exactly the same as what’s already there, but if it’s too different, it’ll likely get a pass.
Once you know who to send music to, then you need to figure out how.
Strategy 3: Email is still King
How do you send a message:
that you know the recipient will getthat goes to a place they check very oftenthat is simple and clearusing something everyone hasthat doesn’t rely on a platform that could be gone soon
The answer? Email. It’s old, but it’s still the best. How does this relate back to SoundCloud you might ask?
Email for Networking
Everyone has an email. Artists. Labels. Promo channels. Repost channels. Avid music fans. And you can communicate with them through this channel, no matter if they have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or not.
I got my biggest play numbers out of email networking, including a top placement on one of Majestic Casual’s weekly playlists on Soundcloud. In this case, it was a form that sends them an email, but the point still stands.
Here’s an example of me emailing my track to someone for a YouTube upload, and look at the difference in response time.
The first email I sent.
The response time.
I got a response in less than 24 hours!
Granted, this won’t usually be the case for huge names in the industry, but email networking works.
Not to say that you can’t use avenues like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those channels are great but always try email first. And use the Hubspot extension to track email opens, you’ll thank me later.
To make this easier, you’ll want to be making a list of emails of relevant people you can send your music to. Just use Google Sheets or Excel.
I personally use a software called Notion (has database functionality) to track YouTube channels, Soundcloud pages, labels and more. I’ve blanked out the emails for privacy.
A few tips & tricks about sending emails:
Be concise – the recipient is likely already time-poor, so get to the them a SoundCloud link – it’s the easiest to listen to, and you can make it conversational – don’t just send a link, actually treat the person on the other end like a human, and you’ll get treated like one rsonalise messages – CC’ing a large list never works, and it often annoys people, especially if people ‘Reply All’. Send one message at a time and once again, treat them like a up – not everybody is in a position to do something the first time around. Follow up in a week or two (depending on the person) if they haven’t replied.
If you want more promo email etiquette tips, check out this list from an industry professional.
Building a List
With the decline of plays on SoundCloud (due to the lower visibility of the ‘Stream’), it’s important your core audience still gets to hear your music when it’s released, and what better way to this than email marketing?
ToneDen offers free download gates that you can use to gather emails.
If you’re familiar with download gates like ToneDen and The Artist Union, perhaps start using them to gather people’s email addresses. If you’re a Bandcamp user, you can grab email addresses on checkout too. That way, you can build a list to send your music to next time you have something to release!
Once you’ve got a list, you need to find a email marketing service. Symphonic Distribution compiled a list of the best email marketing platforms for musicians, so make sure to give that a read.
Strategy 4: Repost Chains
This is one of the most useful tools on SoundCloud and is an effective way to garner the force of multiple accounts in a simple, automated way.
You can tell when the repost chain kicked in on my latest track.
In essence, a repost chain is simply a group of people who automatically repost a track, each at a timed interval, to maximise exposure. A service like SCPlanner allows you to do this effortlessly.
Just get a few music buddies in a chain and one person submits new tracks to the chain. As each of you gains followers, you multiply the reach each time.
There are a few ways you can join or create a repost chain:
Producer friends – get your inner circle together and signup to a repost chain. That way you get a guaranteed baseline of exposure every time you upload a chains – a lot of people on Facebook groups etc. are looking for accounts to join repost chains, because the bigger it gets, the more valuable. The only caveat is usually you need at least a certain number of followers to join these (e. 5000+ followers only)Random chains – if you just need exposure, try Googling ‘repost chain’ and you’ll see a bunch of results for submissions to certain chains. Some of these require payment, be wary. Also, these aren’t necessarily an effective way to gain promotion, as you could get a lot of plays that don’t mean much. So be selective.
Sounds good, right? Hold up, there are a few things to consider before joining a chain.
Firstly, make sure you’re okay with reposting the music in that chain. Does it fit with your brand, or will it annoy your followers? Even though the numbers can be appealing, hold off if you think it’ll damage your brand.
Also, some people have a problem with repost chains because it ‘abuses the repost feature’, so have a think if this works for you or not. Personally, I think it’s fine as long as you repost music you like.
Strategy 5: Make Your Music Discoverable
Now that the ‘Discover’ tab exists on Soundcloud, the aim is to get your music featured on this new avenue of discovery.
The best way to do that is metadata. Tell Soundcloud what your music is, and give it the best chance on the platform.
There are a few key ways to do this:
Correct Genre tagsRelevant track tagsName your track appropriatelyUtilize the descriptionGet other engagement (likes, comments etc. )
You might be wondering why I’ve bolded ‘Correct Genre tags’, and that’s because it’s probably one of the most important factors in SoundCloud deciding where your music will be placed.
You can see one of San Holo’s latest tracks is tagged as ‘Electronic’, which is one of the default options when creating your track. Soundcloud likes this because it knows who to show the track to.
Beyond that, the more metadata SoundCloud has, the more opportunities it can give that track on the platform, not only with ‘Discover’ but also with the ‘Charts’ feature, especially when it gets more plays.
Relevant metadata goes beyond the platform into other services like Google, meaning your music will come up in search results too.
Because Google reads text, not your mind, and if it can see who you are and what your music’s called, it’ll help your chances of showing up. Pretty neat.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Buy Plays
Everyone wants to take the easy road, right? But oftentimes it’s simply not worth it.
I had to mention this here because it’s often something people consider when they’re looking to up their Soundcloud game. The same can be said for likes and followers, and other platforms too. These stats are fake and don’t provide organic growth.
The Bigger Picture
Like I already said, marketing and promoting your music should go beyond SoundCloud.
Plays aren’t the only thing to consider either.
Yet it’s hard to promote your music well without a lot of money.
That’s why we made our guide about promoting your music on a budget. You can grab it free below:
If you have questions about marketing and promoting your music, let me know at [email protected] – I’d be happy to answer.
Want more promotion and marketing tips? Check out 15 more here.
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How to get noticed: 5 tips from SoundCloud’s Global Head of Music
SoundCloud Global Head of Music Lisa Ellis, Lil Tecca, and Monte Lipman, CEO, Republic Records
We’re committed to being the platform where you can break through and build your career, and we have a multitude of opportunities for your hustle to get the boost it deserves. We’ve gotten a lot of questions on how you can be considered for our playlists, marketing opps or festival showcases – and today, we’re giving you some answers, straight from the source.
We sat down with Lisa Ellis, the Global Head of Music, Artist Relations, and Label Services at SoundCloud to answer this pressing question: How does an artist get noticed on SoundCloud? With a legendary eye for talent, she knows a thing or two…or five, about what it takes to stand out. Here are her tips:
1. Make great music
Seems obvious, but nothing demands attention like something we haven’t heard before. So, the best first step is to study your craft inside and out. If you rap then write often. If you sing then push your voice to its limits. If you’re a producer then strive to constantly improve your musical, technical and creative processes.
Hone your sound until it’s completely fresh and uniquely you. For artists who consistently release quality beats, just follow 2-5 and you’ll be on your way to our radars. Need proof? Lil Tecca is a prime example of how putting the music first can help turn heads.
2. Be a trendsetter
When you’re the one setting the trends, people can’t help but notice. Baby Rose’s unique voice, style and sound captivated us from the moment we first heard her music. Her individuality has been converting listeners to fans ever since. If you’re trying to replicate her success, then you need to focus on creating your own lane. Take artistic risks, be yourself, and step up by standing out.
3. Take initiative
Before you look for outside opportunities, make the most with what you already have. Joining SoundCloud Premier, distributing your music and using Promote on SoundCloud are easy ways to build your audience without even leaving your house. Keep your profile engaging and learn to use new tools as they come out. Not only will we take note, you’ll be helping yourself get ahead on your own terms.
4. Be engaged
If there’s one thing every featured artist has in common, it’s that they’re all heavily engaged in the SoundCloud community. Prior to being a Grammy-nominated hitmaker, Goldlink was an enthusiastic rapper on SoundCloud who began reaching out to producers like Ta-Ku, Kaytranada and Lakim before releasing his first track. These connections helped him net his first shows and were crucial in making him the artist he is today. So, don’t just upload your songs and hope for the best. Stay engaged by leaving comments, seeking out potential collaborators and reposting other artists’ work. Because these real interactions are what lead to long-term success.
5. Make waves everywhere
There are plenty of steps you can take elsewhere to boost your success. First off, make sure your social media accounts are updated and linked to your SoundCloud account so new fans have a direct line to your music. From there, you can play shows in at your local coffee shops or venues, turn online connections into real friendships, and let your life experiences shape your approach to creativity. Any waves you make offline will be amplified by your efforts on SoundCloud. Don’t just take our word for it, look to Na-Kel Smith, a rapper and skateboarder who has his feet firmly planted in both realms.
So to summarize Lisa’s wise words: If you make quality music that’s uniquely yours, you use SoundCloud’s tools to promote yourself, and you’re working tirelessly to find your fans and build your brand – it’s just a matter of time before you’re getting noticed.
SoundCloud Global Head of Music Lisa Ellis, Chance The Rapper, and SoundCloud President Mike Weissman
Want more tips on standing out on SoundCloud and beyond? Stay tuned for content from last week’s SoundCloud Creator Forum at Art Basel that was all about “Building Your Brand. ”
How to Grow Your SoundCloud and Promote Your Music – Gleam
Ahron is a Growth Marketer at Gleam. Shoot him a Tweet if you got something out of this post ☺
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Frequently Asked Questions about how to get more plays on soundcloud
How do I get my song noticed on SoundCloud?
Take initiative Joining SoundCloud Premier, distributing your music and using Promote on SoundCloud are easy ways to build your audience without even leaving your house. Keep your profile engaging and learn to use new tools as they come out.Dec 12, 2019
How do you get more engagement on SoundCloud?
Offsite PromotionAdd SoundCloud Links To Your Other Social Media Accounts. … Share Tracks On Other Social Media Platforms. … Share Your Music With Instagram Stories. … Use Other Social Media Accounts to Make Announcements. … Use Your Email List for Promotion. … Embed Tracks Onto Your Site.
How much does SoundCloud pay for 1000 streams?
An expected payout can range from $0.0025 to $0.004 per stream. So for every 1000 plays, you’d receive between $2.50–$4.00.Apr 2, 2020