As the music industry’s largest online community, SoundCloud provides independent songwriters a significant platform for reaching new and old fans. The only problem is it’s crowded with millions of other artists.
Here are some important steps to keep in mind while using SoundCloud to make sure your work stands out and finds the receptive audience you want.
Tag Your Music
Tagging your music makes it more discoverable by listeners, so it’s important to put some thought into what those tags should be. If your music has a drum & bass track, set the main genre to drum & bass. Is there a mood that seems to fit? Make that a tag, too. Adding your location can help local fans discover you, too.
However, don’t overdo it in the hopes something sticks. Make sure your tags are targeted and concise, and your audience will eventually find you.
Think About Your Song Titles
While you may think it looks cool to plug a bunch of asterisks into your title or use creative spelling, little complications make it harder for potential listeners to find your song. Don’t add track numbers or other information, either, as that’s simply duplicating information a listener can find elsewhere.
Just list the title and that’s it. Also, when uploading your tracks to an editorial or label account, use the format “Artist Name – Track Title” to make sure the track is identified as yours and isn’t attributed to the SoundCloud account.
Add a Buy Link
All the likes in the world won’t pay the bills, but SoundCloud has a solution. Add a buy link to your track by clicking on the metadata tab while you’re uploading. Remember to add the most appropriate link, whether it’s to Beatport, Juno, Bandcamp, or any other site you use to sell music online. If you have a pro account, you can also change the button text to anything you want. For example, change it to “Stream on Spotify” to get more streams, or simply write “Donate” and link to Patreon or PayPal. This gives fans a chance to support your music and can make a noticeable difference in your bottom line.
Build a Discography
Make it easier for listeners to find your music by building a discography. Playlists marked as an album, EP, single, or compilation will all be displayed in the albums section of your profile in order of release date. If you want to upload some tracks from your archives, don’t worry about them overshadowing newer content. They will be displayed in your discography, but not in a way that detracts from new content you want people to discover.
Comment on Your Waveforms
Since waveforms have comment sections, fans can express their opinions – but so can you. Use the comment section as a way to ask for feedback, explain how you made the song, or simply share information your fans will appreciate about the song.
Think About Your Art
While it’s important to make sure the image you include with your music is a JPG or PNG file that’s at least 800 x 800 pixels, size isn’t the only thing to consider. Make sure the image you choose represents your music and will intrigue new fans. Have fun choosing your image, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to create a strong visual message for your brand.
It's important to note that, unlike some other streaming services, whether or not you earn royalties from SoundCloud is conditional. When a user uploads their content to SoundCloud directly through SoundCloud's free service (versus their Premier program), royalties are not generated and cannot be collected.
Also remember it’s not enough to simply finish a song and distribute it to streaming platforms. You’ve got to be your own advocate and marketing department to get the word out about your songs. Treat your streaming account like a business and do whatever you can to boost your streams. The more streams, the more royalties you can earn.
Make sure you’ve covered all your bases with publishing, too. If you haven’t, register for a Songtrust account today to make sure you’re collecting all your mechanical and performance royalties globally and not leaving any potential earnings on the table.