SoundCloud for Musicians: Grow Your Audience Guide 2016

3-minute read. Last update: December, 5th, 2016.

Use this guide to learn all you need to know about the value of SoundCloud for musicians. Is it the right platform for you? How can you get more followers? 

Many musicians agree that SoundCloud is a great tool for showing your music to people. Especially, the platform works well with some exclusive material, unofficial releases, and demos. Others think it has lost its potential as a promotion tool. In this article, you’ll find all the up-to-date info about SoundCloud to decide whether you can continue using it or not.

1. The Basics
2. How to use SoundCloud for musicians?
3. What else do you need to know about SoundCloud for musicians?

1. The Basics

SoundCloud for  Musicians – How does it work?
Screenshot of SoundCloud for musicians on Nov. 11th, 2016

What is SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is a global online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, Germany, that enables its users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds.” – Wikipedia

How many people are listening to SoundCloud?

According to the latest numbers, there are 40 million registered users on SoundCloud. The platform reaches up to 200 million listeners per month, though – because many don’t bother registering.

How do users get to hear new music on SoundCloud?

Users can follow artists directly and add favorite songs to playlists. This is useful for you if you already have a stable fan base.

Apart from then, users get to see the Top 50 songs on the start page. It’s possible to see the top 50 for each of the genres. Those include Alternative Rock, Classical, Drum & Bass, Folk & Singer-Songwriter, Hip-hop & Rap, Indie, Metal, Rock, Soundtrack and more.

Furthermore, SoundCloud lets you see the New & hot Top 50 – among all genres or for each of them. These are freshly uploaded tracks with many plays. You might end up here if you tag your songs well.

2. How to use SoundCloud for musicians?

How to use SoundCloud for musicians? Find out more in this guide. Photo: Los Porongas by Natan Peres.

SoundnCloud for musicians – Join the online jam sessions at sofasession
Join 10k musicians here.

Why should you put your music on SoundCloud?

Because it’s an easy way for your fans to listen to your music. And because there are 200 million potential listeners monthly. Convinced? Now it’s just about the right way to reach out to them all.

Is SoundCloud a good way to get noticed?

There are plenty of different platforms you can promote your music on like SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine. So for which purposes is SoundCloud helpful?

  • It’s a social network which puts it focus on music only. No need for deep thoughts or impressive visual skills.
  • It’s a good way to promote your music to fans. They can listen to your songs, create playlists and follow your music for free. If your fans want to listen to SoundCloud on a mobile devide, they’ll have to download the app.
  • With a help of som extra tools, consistent promotion, and intensive networking you can expand your audience here.
  • SoundCloud works especially well with electronic music, hip hop, modern singer-songwriters.

How can you start a music career? 5 first steps.

How to use Soundcloud for musicians? Find out more in this guide. Photo: Los Porongas by Natan Peres.

How do I get more followers on SoundCloud?

Lately, there have been 135 million tracks on SoundCloud. In order to stand out and attract listeners to your music you can do the following things:

  1. Offer high-quality content
  2. Act like a professional business person
  3. Connect with other artists
  4. Use additional services by SoundCloud for musicians
  5. Be active on other platforms as well

1. Offer high-quality content

  • Artwork: Create an attractive artwork which works well as a small avatar. This is the picture all followers will see. And it will appear as artwork if you embed the track elsewhere. Choose a picture with at least 800 x 800 pixels. Here are some tips for band photos and a collection of great examples.
  • Music: Put some great sounding tracks online. Choose wisely as you only have one first impression. You can also post a draft and ask for people’s opinion – some experts say it’s the wrong approach, though.

2. Act like a professional business person

  • Be consistent: Post a new track once or twice per week.
  • Tags: Use tags of your track name (especially great if you cover popular songs), your artist name and genre (stick with one or two for all your songs).
  • Storytelling: Tell a story about yourself and your music in your profile and track description. Your story makes you stand out more. Build on your personality and music strengths.

How to find you own music sound? Read more here.

3. Connect with other artists

  • Find like-minded artists and give them honest feedback.
  • Comment other tracks you liked or which are somehow related to your music. Quality goes over quantity.
  • Re-share songs by other artists you are excited about. Build some strong relationships with other artists this way. They might just do the same for you.
  • Watch out for other musicians in your area and try to make a live gig with them.

4. Use additional services by SoundCloud for musicians

  • SoundCloud Pro. It gives you some extended stats and unlimited upload time. You can share private tracks. And re-upload songs without losing the plays, likes, and comments.
  • Use Soundcloud Ads – works only in USA, Canada, UK, France Australia and New Zealand so far.

5. Be active on other platforms as well

  • Share the link to your SoundCloud profile on your other social networks.
  • Embed the links to SoundCloud on your website or blog. You can even change the color of your player to match your site better.
  • Post a link to your profile on forums and subreddits.
  • Use sponsored Tweets or Facebook Ads to draw people to your SoundCloud page & to make them listen to your music.
  • Create a music video and link to your SoundCloud profile.
  • Focus on getting the attention of club DJ’s, radio hosts, event managers. They are the people you need, as they have access to bigger audiences.
  • To go very deep check these additional tools to increase SoundCloud plays.

Read more on music marketing for independent artists. What are the lessons on Social Media we can learn from music stars?

3. What else do you need to know about SoundCloud for Musicians?

What you need to know to use SoundCloud for musicians
No need to despair – there is a way to master SoundCloud for musicians. Photo: Miriashikin, Concrete/Lotus: K&A

Can you sell your music on SoundCloud?

As SoundCloud says, it’s not possible to sell your music through SoundCloud directly. You can link to another service or online shop with a “buy” button. If you use a Pro account, you can change the button text to “donate” or something else.

Do artists make money on SoundCloud?

After years of not paying the artists SoundCloud’s CTO andCo-Founder Eric Wahlforss stated the platform would pay their most popular artists. If you’re just starting out, it might not be a relevant option for you.

How do you create your own music on SoundCloud?

You can either upload a ready track or record directly on the site. Click the “Upload” button (top right corner). Press “Start a new recording” and allow the access to your microphone. It will record a single track – so all sounds will be recorded together.

Find some deeper information about recording music at home here.

What is not possible on SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is no community

It is a streaming platform. Be aware not to find and build a strong community here.

You’ll have to try something unique

There are many musicians on SoundCloud who’ll probably doing similar things as you: Have great music online, tag, reach out to fans and other musicians. Be aware of this and experiment with new approaches. Try something unique and new – which you will definitely not find in online articles.

You won’t be able to contact many at once

Write more than 10 private messages per day. If you want to connect with musicians, make sure not to contact everybody on the same day. SoundCloud is very strict with spamming – make sure your networking is not seen as such.

You cannot record multi-track

You can record a single track but not multi-track. This is possible on DAW programs like Logic Pro, Cubase or Garage Band. Or with online resources such as sofasession.

You cannot collaborate

On SoundCloud, you can find musicians with a style you like. You cannot directly collaborate with them, though. Meet them on sofasession in a free online jam-session to explore your creativity together.

Use SoundCloud for musicians and jam together for free, online, in real time on sofasession

Sources: SoundCloud Help Center, DimiHub, LandrBlog, Digital Music News

Photo source: Paul Hudson