|David Adams at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, for the 2012 Olympic Games soccer tournament.|
When SoundCloud was first founded in 2007,
sound designer Alexander Ljung and musician
Eric Wahlforss aimed to create a tool that
key players in the music industry could use
to share tracks. But within a few months, it
was giving MySpace a run for its money as the
premier online social audio platform.
Based in Berlin, London, and San Francisco,
the company’s 100-plus employees uphold
SoundCloud’s mission to “unmute the web.” By
allowing its 15 million registered users to create,
record, promote, and share their sounds easily,
SoundCloud connects producers, artists, and
fans in unprecedented ways.
London-based Music Relations Content
Manager (and musician) David Adams
knows the ins and outs of SoundCloud as
a tool for producers and artists. Here, he
relays some creative tips to unleash the
potential of the platform.
How can SoundCloud help musicians
and producers increase exposure and
opportunities in ways that other sites
SoundCloud allows sound creators to
instantly record or upload original audio
content; embed sound across blogs and social
networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and
Pinterest; share publicly and privately; receive
detailed analytics; and get feedback from the
community directly onto the waveform.
An artist’s voice is a powerful tool: Beyond
the realm of beats and lyrics, musicians can
interact with fans using audio announcements,
tour diaries, or recorded messages. To
discover other ways artists can use their voice,
this SoundCloud 101 gives some great tips
Another way musicians can increase
engagement with fans is through timed
comments. It’s not just a place for fans to
leave comments but for artists to interact
directly—they can reply to fans, leave in-depth
commentary around their music, and share a
link within the waveform for more context.
Our community building 101 has some great
tips on the subject [soundcloud.com/101/community-building].
Producers can create music on DAWs
such as Pro Tools and then post straight
to SoundCloud. What are some other
partnerships musicians will find helpful?
SoundCloud has an open API that has allowed
for numerous integrations to help artists
throughout the lifetime of their music—from
the first stage of exporting tracks directly to
SoundCloud to other integrations that help
with distribution, marketing, and analytics.
With SoundCloud baked into Pro Tools
10, audio producers from all fields can share
their sounds privately with collaborators for
feedback or share polished works with the
world. Furthermore, once a musician has his
music on the web, Flavors can help build out
a website featuring their sounds at a low cost.
Integrations with services such as TuneCore
and CD Baby give access to distribution
channels. And integrations with Webdoc and
Thinglink allow musicians, and their fans, to
share sounds in expressive ways.
There are more third-party tools appearing
all the time, such as Email Unlock, which
allows musicians a free service to collect
emails with a shareable HTML5 widget in
return for a download, using SoundCloud to
connect their sound to the service.
Is it risky for artists to share raw,
unfinished tracks with fans well before the
songs are mixed, mastered, or even fully
constructed and polished?
Sharing a regular stream of ideas shows
another element of how artists can provide
fans further access. For instance, Deadmau5’s
f*ckmylife profile [soundcloud.com/fuckmylife
] shows an artist giving fans
further insight to his creation process. There
are no limits to how an artist can interact
and collaborate with a fan from here, such
as Deadmau5 using a fan’s vocals as part of
the track “The Veldt.”
Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent have also shared
ideas and collaborated with fans. Case in point:
50 Cent tweeted out a link to a freestyle and then
asked producers to finish the track. [soundcloud.com/50_cent/for-the-producers-ghetto].
Artists can also create simultaneously
with fans. Madeon is a great example with
his 24 Hour EP project. He asked other
music creators to create a three-track EP
in 24 hours, which he shared through
Fans use SoundCloud to listen to music for
free. Does the service help artists monetize
In addition to partnerships with CDBaby and
TuneCore, SoundCloud offers customizable
“buy” links where an artist can add a call-toaction
URL to activate fans. Options for this
type of link include our integrations with:
Ganxy: soundcloud.com/apps/ganxy (Sell
through iTunes, Amazon, and direct to fans
with Ganxy, all from a single SoundCloud
(Sell or share your tunes direct to your fans
quickly, easily, and professionally)
The SoundCloud platform also offers key
stats to artists so they can know who, when,
and where their fans are listening to their
sounds. The metrics show where fans are
listening via location to help artists with
tour routing and marketing/release plans.
The stats also show where artists’ sounds
have been embedded by blogs, giving them
opportunities to follow up for further
editorial coverage. Find out more about stats
on SoundCloud with this 101 [soundcloud.
What’s a common mistake bands are
making these days that they could avoid?
I don’t believe there is one common mistake
artists make, as it’s always about learning and
understanding what works for them as a creator
and what connections best suit their fans.
My parting advice to a band is to always be
ambitious and curious when it comes to how
they use SoundCloud. A great place to learn
more about ways of utilizing SoundCloud
is the 101 section of our site [soundcloud.com/101
] or to find out more about companies
that are integrated with SoundCloud in our
app gallery [soundcloud.com/apps
Kylee Swenson Gordon is a writer, editor,
and musician based in Oakland, CA.
In addition to making music with her
indie-pop band Loquat, she’s a frequent
collaborator with EDM producers.