Welcome to part two of our Musicians Guide to SoundCloud. In this section, we delve into the pivotal aspect of securing placements on SoundCloud playlists, which can have a huge impact on your music’s visibility and fan reach. Being featured on curated playlists within the SoundCloud ecosystem can be a game-changer for independent artists. Let’s get straight to it and explore what you need to consider when submitting your music to playlists or influential SoundCloud accounts for potential reposts and discover how this can be a turning point in your musical journey.
While there are countless factors that determine whether or not you are featured, there are three major ones that you should be aware of:
3) Play Count
Perhaps the most important factor on this entire list, but surprisingly the most often overlooked. While there is plenty of phenomenal music out there, the bottom line is that you have to fit a SoundCloud page’s taste to make it on one; it’s a lot like getting on a blog. You may be an incredible country artist, but no electronic playlist worth their salt is going to post you because they will lose followers.
While there are always exceptions to the rule (a trap remix of a pop song might be posted on an EDM playlist), the majority of the time you will be turned down. It may even offend some curators, who will write you off for wasting their time in the first place.
Don’t be “that guy.” Do your research and respect people’s personal tastes.
As for how to find genre-appropriate playlists start by exploring SoundCloud’s search and discovery features. Use keywords related to your music genre, such as “indie rock,” “hip-hop,” or “electronic,” and narrow down your search to tracks and playlists. This will help you discover accounts that regularly curate content in your specific genre. Additionally, delve into SoundCloud groups and communities dedicated to your genre, where you can connect with other artists in similar genres and find accounts that specialize in your niche. Don’t forget to follow and engage with these accounts on social media platforms, as well as SoundCloud, to establish a relationship and increase your chances of getting noticed when you’re ready to submit your tracks. Building a network within your genre community can be instrumental in getting your music in front of the right ears.
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For musicians, branding is not just about having a recognizable logo or a catchy stage name; it’s a vital element that can shape your entire career. Your brand is your musical identity, reflecting your style, personality, and values and thus, attracting fans who share those same things. It’s what sets you apart in a crowded industry and leaves a lasting impression on your audience. Effective branding helps you connect with your target audience on a deeper level, establishing trust and loyalty. It guides you aesthetically, from album artwork to social media presence, creating a cohesive and memorable experience for fans. Moreover, a well-defined brand can attract industry professionals, collaborations, and sponsorship opportunities.
In other words, it’s pretty important, and it’s something you’ll want to bring with you to your SoundCloud page.
Let’s look at an example. Take Run the Trap‘s page. Notice anything? Very few artists in their genre are actually featured on the cover art. It’s mostly graphics and a lot of severe color schemes.
While branding admittedly is not a “make or break” factor in determining placement, it’s the first thing people see, and that leaves a lasting impression. Meanwhile, for Tash and her genre, she has a very similar aestehtic—the color scheme, hazy feel, and feature of herself in the art is consistent:
Quality not quantity! This is especially important if you’re just starting out and expecting to get placed somewhere huge from the start. This is not always realistic and can deter you from making connections with smaller or growing playlists and accounts that are actually a perfect fit for you. It’s helpful to keep in mind that this entire industry is built on baby steps are often part of the journey. Take a look at other things posted when submitting – do all tracks miraculously have over 100,000 plays each, while you’re stuck at 50? If so, you probably aren’t ready for that account. Rally your fans to help grow your engagement, or get some key press placements to help.
There are also a TON of mid-tier SoundCloud playlists run by individuals who just like good music, and will be more than happy to help you out. Slow and steady often wins the race, and there’s no shame in that.
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