Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash
Distributing music is easier now than it’s ever been, quicker too. But, with this ease and speed, competition increases, and the music industry essentially becomes saturated. Listeners in every genre have so many choices, so how can you stand out? How can you get them to notice you? The first could be to upload your music to SoundCloud.
Incumbent on your views, Soundcloud can either be a musician’s dream or nightmare. But, in this age where music is rapidly evolving and makes self-releasing artists not only have to compete with industry bigwigs but also independent bigwigs. Therefore, having a SoundCloud strategy can help you even the playing field.
Why A SoundCloud Strategy Is Essential For A Self-Releasing Artist
As an unknown artist, you need a platform that will help you gain traction. As possibly a struggling artist, it wouldn’t hurt if that service was free. Do you know how much it costs to upload music to SoundCloud? Nothing. The process is straightforward. You also gain access to 76 unique monthly visitors who could be searching for music like yours: traction.
This brings me to my first benefit of uploading music on SoundCloud.
Uploading your music to SoundCloud should never be “above” you. Because the platform’s best benefit is discoverability. This is something every musician needs if they eventually want to make real money from their music.
Additionally, SoundCloud has a non-existent barrier to entry, so it won’t take too long or too much from you to start uploading music to SoundCloud.
When you upload music to SoundCloud, you conduct market research on your music. Because you have access to SoundCloud insights, you can determine who likes your music, what parts of the song and what lyrics they engage with, what sound they prefer, etc. All this information can help you decisively define your musical direction and who you want to target with your music. Effectively, SoundCloud is the perfect sample size, a control group that’s going to reveal core insights about your music before you release music through a premium service like TuneCore.
Increase Your Knowledge
If you’ve never had any experience in the music industry, the behind the scenes, technicalities, and legalities can be shocking.
The music industry is notorious for being unscrupulous. But plenty of that unscrupulous behavior is furthered because aspiring artists don’t know the industry. Although uploading music to SoundCloud isn’t going to teach you about developmental contracts, royalties, publishing, it can teach you about copyright, distribution, and advertising. And hopefully, you’ll have the initiative to learn about other aspects of self-releasing music.
Improve Your Skills
Your music skills are going to ensure your music is ear-catching. The more you improve your skills, the more fans and even infrequent listeners will enjoy your music.
When you’re paying money to have your music distributed through a service like Distrokid, your album needs to be at a level where each song is bringing in the plays. This ensures your subscription pays for itself.
The skills you’ll be forced to learn when first upload your music to SoundCloud will be mixing and mastering a track. Your first release on SoundCloud will not be your best, but by releasing music on SoundCloud you’re able to assess where you need to improve and gain valuable on-the-job experience.
Besides technical skills, you can also learn about the process of developing a brand and persona that’s appealing.
Even if you are an experienced musician with extensive knowledge of the industry and the skills to create standout music, SoundCloud enables you to develop a fanbase.
Build A Fanbase
Lastly, just like your discoverability increases when you upload your music to SoundCloud, you also have the opportunity to build a fanbase.
On streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, even Amazon, most listeners will want to listen to premium sounds because they’re paying to use a service. Without a fanbase, your music can quickly get drowned out by other self-releasing artists that have a loyal fanbase, but also popular independent artists.
There’s a reason the term SoundCloud rapper is synonymous with this new era of hip-hop music, and that’s because plenty of these SoundCloud rappers used SoundCloud to gain an audience and develop their personas. When they made it to the “big leagues” it was only natural that their fans would follow them there.
You can tap into that notoriety by releasing your music to SoundCloud before you decide to use a more premium service like Distrokid.
If you’re still wondering if you should upload music to SoundCloud, the short answer is yes. Listeners are more likely to be introduced to your music, share it with friends, and begin “fangirling” or “stanning.” Therefore, when you distribute your music later through a service like Tunecore or Distrokid, people will know your music. Even if they don’t know you, you will have developed a greater understanding of the formula to success.