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Soundcloud Marketing and Promotion – Crash Course

Why SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is one of the most popular and well used social media platforms for publishing independent and new music. Many have built successful careers as professional and recreational producers and deejays, utilizing SoundCloud as their main network for promoting new music. However, SoundCloud is much more than that…

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Its secondary function as a social network provides endless possibilities for collaborating and sharing ideas with other musicians. SoundCloud makes it easy for you to distribute your music to an extensive audience of music lovers – for FREE. From all the big players, such as iTunes and Spotify, SoundCloud is the only network that provides you with most of its functionality for free. If you are already an active SoundCloud user, you probably have noticed how much the network has to offer for independent artists, and how much potential it has for you to start building an audience and even a career. However, all the benefits that SoundCloud has to offer will not come in handy if nobody knows about your profile. Let`s see what we can do to enhance your SoundCloud experience.

  1. Plan Ahead – Maintain a routine ;

If you have, say, ten songs that you just can`t wait to release, try holding out a while.
Drip-feeding your audience is a much more professional way to go about promoting your work. By creating a ‘content calendar’ for uploading your mixes, you can keep your listeners always wanting more. Posting ten new tracks or DJ mixes in a day is a sure-fire way to confuse your listeners or worse, it could seem like spam! Instead, stagger those updates over 10 days or 10 weeks. Try to post at the same time for every update – establishing a routine helps others to plan their activities around you.

  1. Be Organized ;

When you don`t present your info accurately and relevantly to each and every upload, it leads to an entire lot of hard work amounting to nothing. When somebody shares one of your tracks on their feed, it permits other users to listen to your track and clearly see the title of the track – but they then have to look at a tiny reference to find out who carried out the track.

The format you must use for all your tracks – to make it simpler for people to find who you are once it has been shared – is: ‘Artist/Band Name – Track Title’

  1. Take a hint from the popular artists and get a cool name for yourself;

A simple yet interesting name can convey the message of your music appropriately, and makes it easier for your fans to remember your profile. Try to avoid a complex artist name. Most importantly you`ll need a great logo for your artist name

  1. Let your Profile Picture speak a thousand words;

This could be achieved by using simple symbols, typography, or candid photography. If you are experienced in graphic design, try designing it yourself, but avoid an unprofessional looking profile image. The internet is full of free images that you can use for in private and commercial projects.

  1. Quality matters!

The potential of your promotion depends largely on the quality of your music you post on SoundCloud. Thus, you must come up with a pulling piece, especially if it’s your maiden launch over the popular music sharing platform. First impression are the strongest and you must not ever release any kind of unfinished track.

  1. Get help from your friends;

Build your network of friends & connections. How will this help you? Once you have real friends among SoundCloud users, they`ll help you promote your music in lots of different ways (that I’ll get into in a minute).The key to developing real relationships is to show genuine interest and offer real value to others, instead of always thinking about what`s in it for you.

  1. Make New Friends;

Find people whose music you like. Like, repost, comment on their songs.
Find them on Facebook and like their Facebook page, then comment on their Facebook page. After a couple of weeks, send them a message on SoundCloud – ask them how they made this sound or that snare, and let them know that you`ve shared their music with your followers on SoundCloud, Facebook etc.

  1. Freebies Rock!

Everybody loves free downloads and for long this has been used as a very common promotional strategy. You can take to it for your SoundCloud promotion as well. Your followers will really appreciate if you allow them to download one of your best tracks for free- which would in turn result in great community attention. A free download will encourage the fans to repost as well as share it among their buddies as well- leading to a viral marketing effect for your stuff.

  1. Let cover arts add more meaning to your tracks

If you’re releasing a single officially, have cover art locked and loaded to make you and your song more memorable. You should do the same with your album art.

  1. Be generous with the descriptions

Always include a short description of your sound, contact information, links to your website and social networks, and buy links to iTunes or Amazon if you have them.

  1. Be frequent

One of the best things you can do for your SoundCloud followers is to keep them updated with the music you release. If you’re an upcoming artists, you shouldn’t let more than two months pass between uploads.

  1. Upgrade to SoundCloud Pro

The upgrade to a pro account is not necessary for your success on SoundCloud, though for $4.00 a month you will get some extra features to improve your growth. This includes extended statistics, a spotlight functionality for your music, and of course the star icon for your profile. The spotlight functionality and the star are rather useless for relatively new profiles, but could help you to boost your growth after you have already reached your first few hundred followers.

  1. Tags & Metadata;

The song metadata is where you will put all your song information. This info will be crawled by SoundCloud in order to make it appear on the SoundCloud search result pages, which is a necessary feature for your music to be discovered on SoundCloud.

  1. Use all platforms to share

If you’re already an avid Facebook fan, you’re probably already a member of some of the groups on there.

Once you start making use of Facebook groups and Google Plus communities, you’ll see a real surge in the number of people listening to your music.

  1. Get in the spotlight;

The Spotlight feature enables you to present your five best or most interesting songs on the top of your artist page. This area will be viewed first by most of your visitors and is ta great feature for promoting your latest tracks or displaying snippets of future releases. If your profile has a large amount of music you can make it easy for your visitors to preselect what you want them to hear the most.

  1. Interact with other users

Comments, reposts, playlists and likes: The possibilities of engagement on SoundCloud are endless. It is primarily lesser known artists who engage extensively on SoundCloud and value decent feedback.

  1. Mix and Remix
Mix tapes and remixes are a great way to boost your reach on SoundCloud. This is achieved by making use of the original artist`s fan-base, which is most likely already established.
  1. Tag along;

Tagging is the most important feature of SoundCloud distribution (other than the music itself) especially in order for your music to be found by other SoundCloud users.

  1. Interact with the groups;

Most SoundCloud users within groups will help you to improve your music with their feedback. Furthermore, groups can provide you with additional reach depending on the size and frequency of posts in that specific group. Finding the right group for posting music though is not always as easy as it might seem. You will also have to make sure not to solely post music yourself, but also give feedback to others. Finding the right group for that is an important step to consider.

  1. Get “linked”;

If you get featured on a popular music blog, chances are high that it will result in a positive snowball-effect, and you will likely see new followers popping up in your SoundCloud notifications.

  1. Customize like a boss;

SoundCloud offers a handful of great opportunities to promote your music on other websites, blogs or social media. The best thing about SoundCloud may be that you can customize your external posts. An Individual player is a great opportunity to use your CI across all platforms and networks consistently.

  1. Exclusive Content;

As an independent artist on SoundCloud you can benefit from the reach of already established music networks. Ifyou have an upcoming release look for a popular SoundCloud profile that might post the track for you. In this way, your music will receive more attention and will not get lost in the vast network of SoundCloud as quickly as it is released.

  1. Advertise;

You can always advertise your tracks with SoundCloud to expand your reach. SoundCloud Ads, also known as Promoted Tracks, which can be purchased by artists, include a mixture of a radio-style audio ads, display advertising on mobile, and native advertising. Thousands of artist have used this method of promoting their tracks with a lot of success.

  1. Quality over Quantity

When people visit your SoundCloud profile, they will press play on the first track; if they really enjoy it, there’s a high chance you got yourself a new follower. If they don’t like it, they will hopefully give you another chance and check out the second one.

  1. Preview, not Work in Progress

When you upload a new tune, make sure that it’s finished and final. Uploading work in progress isn’t of much help; the people following you are more interested in the finished product, and it’s worth giving yourself time to finish it before showing it to them.

If you want to tease/create excitement for an important release, uploading a short preview or snippet should do the job. This works especially well if the main release channel is other than SoundCloud.

  1. Spamming is a big NO NO

Not only does spamming annoy people around you, it also against SoundCloud’s policy. Spamming stains your image, making you look bad and massively lowering your chances of success.

Give genuine feedback and constructive criticism (when you feel it’s needed), respond to all your followers’ comments if you can, don’t use spam bots and don’t buy fake views/followers/likes.

  1. Go Live!

Get on Stageit.com and connect directly with your fans. This platform will allow you to broadcast a live streaming show directly from your laptop to your fans all over the world.

Every Stageit concert is a one time event that is never archived (unless you save and share it), so you’re fans won`t want to miss the chance to watch. Not only watch, but also interact. Fans are encouraged to ask the artist questions, request songs, and even chat with other fans during the show. You can monetize it, too, by setting the ticket price and leaving your virtual “tip jar” open for anybody who is so inspired by your music that they feel the urge to drop some extra cash in your pocket.

  1. Build an e-mail list

Give your fans a chance to keep up with your concert dates, new releases on SoundCloud, and other events by subscribing to your newsletter. Email is the best way to stay directly connected to your fans and there are several good tools that can help you do this such as AWeber.

To capture their emails in the first place, offer some bonus content in exchange for their email address, such as a live audio recording of one of your most popular songs. Here’s are helpful advice on building your email list.

  1. Keep in touch with Forums and Communities;

Be active in online communities and forums such as Reddit, Quora or the ones specific to music only such as Harmony Central or MusicDiscussion.

Your goal here would be to offer your opinions and valuable advice for other up and coming artists. Be seen as a solid resource of quality information and people will follow you—and hopefully your music, too.

  1. Add Youtube Videos

Everybody knows that YouTube is the most popular site for music videos on the web. If you don’t have the budget for a high-quality music video, be creative (you’re a musician, after all) and make a video of yourself backstage before a show. You can even just use your smart phone or digital camera.

Other types of videos could be studio sessions, a trip to the music store to try out a new guitar, or a casual chat with other musicians. Fans love this type of “behind the scenes” look at the life of their favorite musicians.

  1. “Collabs” will take you far!

Here’s the beauty of doing a collaboration: You do half the work and get extra exposure to all of their fan base as well as your own. You also help your friend by letting him or her get exposure to all of your fan base!

Collabing also helps you to discover new techniques and approaches to making music by seeing in depth how another person does it. This will help you grow your skills.

  1. Give wings to the News

To get more listeners, you need to spread the word about your SoundCloud profile. The easiest way to do this is to post links to your profile on relevant forums and subreddits. There are tons of forums and subreddits out there dedicated solely to music, and many music lovers utilize these as resources to find new artists. Do some research to find the most relevant forums and subreddits in your niche, and start posting!

  1. Use Sponsored Tweets / Mentions

It is always advantageous to tweet links to your SoundCloud tracks in order to attract new listeners. However, that only limits you to your current fan base. You can gain even further exposure for your music by using sponsored mentions. With sponsored mentions, also known as sponsored tweets, popular influencers get paid to tweet and recommend your music to their massive, loyal following.

This will attract a huge amount of targeted attention and listeners quickly and organically. Prices for sponsored mention campaign range from $40 to several thousand, depending on the size and scale.

  1. Keep Promoting

Yes, you’re going to have to spend some time on social media to directly promote your music, as well as just connecting with fans, other musicians, and anybody in the music industry. It’s called “social” media for a reason, so join in the conversations to get your name around.

Twitter is particularly well suited for this, as it is a very “chatty” medium, and just as importantly, it provides a way to seamlessly embed your SoundCloud music tracks into your tweets. Once people start sharing these, the potential to go viral is as near as your next tweet.

  1. Get an unique logo

A big part of getting recognition for your music is in your branding. Think about it – if you have a consistent logo image that people see around the web in forums, social media sites (including SoundCloud), over time they will become more familiar with you.

You have two options here:

  1. A. Get good at using Photoshop or
  2. B. Get a graphic designer to make it for you

Now, if you don`t have any graphic designer friends who can make it for free, you can pay as little as $5 to get your logo made on Fiverr.com

Be sure to use your logo in your profiles in forums and all social media sites that you use. This will reinforce your brand and make people more familiar with you over time.

  1. Join SoundCloud groups

Just like using G+ and Facebook communities, another thing you can do is use SoundCloud groups to share your music and get more ears on it.

Just search for groups by genre and other related keywords, join them and start sharing your music in them. I recommend you to join around 100 groups. Why? Because you are able to share each song with up to 75 groups, even with a free SoundCloud account!

Focus on groups that have a large number of members and are closely related to your styles of music. The bigger the group, the more people will hear your music.

  1. Not adding value in your comments.

When you comment on people their tracks (which you should actively do by the way… interact with the stuff and artists you truly appreciate), make sure to add value. A simple ‘Nice’ or ‘Great drop’ works, but doesn’t hold as much value as actually giving some intricate feedback. Don’t be hesitant to be critical either. Usually, the more honest and critical feedback is more likely to get a dialogue started.

Elaborate and constructive comments can be conversation starters, and will also lead people to check out your profile. And if you do it this way, it’ll actually be genuine, and not from screaming for attention.

Always tag your tracks consistently, providing genre and sub-genre information: if you use genre tags that are not in Explore then your track will not make it to Explore.

 

  1. Spell check your track`s metadata:

If your track’s title differs slightly or completely from the one on your album or website, people searching for it will not find it.

  1. Promote it soon

Make sure you promote your track when it gets posted and not several weeks or days later.

 

  1. Look the Part

Appearance is so important when it comes to building an audience. People aren’t just concerned with what your music sounds like; you’ll need to look the part too. Start by uploading professional-looking images to accompany each track and ensure that your profile picture really stands out from the crowd.

  1. Branding;

Having a strong and unique ‘brand’ is part and parcel of becoming successful on SoundCloud. Not only is your brand the images you choose to represent your work, as mentioned above, but the words you choose play a huge part too.

  1. Follow the Leader

Try to have a focused and coherent strategy when it comes to who you follow. Start by following the artists that you really love – the ones who have inspired you or you aspire to be like.

  1. Look for DJs or artists that are similar to you in style

After all, there`s little point in following a jazz pianist if you`re promoting a minimal techno crew! Be selective in your following habits so that you get only the very best quality traffic. Spamming may get your page noticed initially but few of those visitors will stay to appreciate you longer than a few seconds.

  1. Regularly use your account!

This is the most common mistake I see artists make on SoundCloud. The majority of them use the platform daily, but don’t bother to log into their own account, and like and interact with the stuff they like.An engaged and lively account is much more likely to foster a community, and will also force you to get a true feel of the intricacies of the platform.So, every time you use it, log in, like the tracks you love, and keep it buzzing.

  1. Keep your Audience Up to date–

If you’re consistently gigging, then a service like Gigatools may be worth looking into. Gigatools helps you out by automatically updating all of your social media pages, including SoundCloud, with your updated live show information. Using their one interface, it can help you keep things consistent and organized. Keep your audience informed of your live shows.

 

  1. Use a Favorites List

Want to know a surefire way to not gain any followers on SoundCloud? Show absolutely no interest whatsoever in what other people are doing. SoundCloud’s interface makes it easy to stream mixes at the click of a mouse without having to wait for them to download. Use the dashboard to see what the people you follow have uploaded, and go out of your way to save the ones you like to your favorites list. Using favorites is a great bookmarking tool

  1. Play it nice

Always keep your comments on other users` tracks constructive and non-spammy. Resist the urge to plug your SoundCloud in timed comments on other people`s tracks. It may get you one or two additional plays but it’s sure to make you look bad.

  1. Encourage Interactions

Consider leaving a call to action in your track description. If you’re looking for comments or constructive criticism, simply ask for that in the description. This not only helps you to get better but also encourages others to interact with your track, which will make a bigger impression on them. Remember that any comments you receive, it’s always a good idea reply to them. They could help you build relationships and develop further collaborations.

  1. Use a Call to action

Use a call to action in your track description to encourage interaction. It could either ask them to download the track, share it or simple express their ideas about your creation.

  1. Offer your own tracks for remixing

by making it obvious in the title of your track that you are offering the track for remixing, you might get some unexpected and pleasing results. If people are remixing your tracks and sharing their remixes with their fans, that will in turn help to get your name out there

Conclusion

You might argue that some famous artists don`t do all these things on SoundCloud: maybe they don`t even write descriptions or use tags. The thing is that they already have an established fan base that follows them everywhere on the internet.

Remember to keep it personal, professional and always think about the people who listen to your music. Make it easy for them to discover and listen to your stuff. Keep making music and you will improve over time, gaining more and more success on SoundCloud.

I hope you learned something new from this article that will help you in your SoundCloud marketing efforts. If not, and you’re already a pro at it, pass it on to someone who you think might need it. Sharing is caring.

I’d be happy to hear if these SoundCloud tips inspired or motivated any of you, let me know in the comments or on social networks. Feedback is greatly appreciated.