How to get more plays on SoundCloud
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. Besides SoundCloud key services like Spotify and Apple Music in 2021 is crucial in unlocking the full power of promotion and marketing.
By following the below strategies, you can increase the number of plays you’ll get on SoundCloud, as well as followers and likes.
Make 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.
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 shift through.
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.
Leverage existing audiences
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 channels
- Other artists with bigger followings
- Promotional channels
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:
- Hype Machine
- YouTube Channels
- Spotify Playlist
- Influencers (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.
Email is still king
How do you send a message:
- that you know the recipient will get
- that goes to a place they check very often
- that is simple and clear
- using something everyone has
- that 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? 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.
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. In essence, a repost chain is simply a group of people who automatically repost a track, each at a timed interval, to maximise exposure. 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 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.
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 tags
- Relevant track tags
- Name your track appropriately
- Utilize the description
- Get other engagement (likes, comments etc.)
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.
Lastly, marketing and promoting your music should go beyond SoundCloud.