The following comes from Thomas van Wijk, founder and CEO of Songflow, who outlines three key reasons why Soundcloud won’t help your music career. Thomas’ startup, Songflow, is focused on building solutions to solve these (and other) problems for the independent artist.
Don’t get me wrong. I like SoundCloud a lot. They provide some powerful tools for sharing music online and connecting with listeners. It’s no wonder 180 million people actively use the platform. However, for artists seeking to boost their career in music Soundcloud’s strength is also it’s biggest downfall.
We live in a world where attention is everything. It’s the most sought after and scarce value driver for any online media/entertainment business. Yes, that includes you: the musician, band member, producer or artist manager.
SoundCloud is so broadly accepted that it should play a significant role in the discovery of upcoming artists. Yet I’ve never heard of a success story from SoundCloud as we did in the days of MySpace.
Thinking about this problem I finally came up with three reasons why relying on Soundcloud isn’t helping your music career and what you can do about it today:
1. Too much music
It’s said that users upload 10 hours of audio to SoundCloud every minute. Almost all the artists I ask use the service. Now, think about your prospective fans.
Are they exclusively listening to new artists on SoundCloud?
Do they magically discover your songs while surfing the platform?
Sharing your tracks on SoundCloud might be convenient, but it’s hardly a unique selling point if millions are doing the same thing every day.
2. Where’s the money?
SoundCloud doesn’t provide a way for artists to get paid for the use of their recordings. Services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Rdio account for every stream. So, in addition to being valuable to listeners they also provide an income for content providers.
I don’t mean this to attack SoundCloud in any way, but music streaming is the fastest growing market in digital music sales. It has already taken over downloads as the dominant type of music service in some European countries and will continue to take over the world in the coming years. Artists who take their career seriously and want to be discovered should try to create maximum value around their content and fan base.
So if that means shifting your sharing activities to more commercial social music services, then go for it!
3. Reach out to streaming subscribers
Who do you want to have as fans? The answer is premium subscribers to streaming services: loyal active music lovers who pay ten bucks each month to have unlimited access to the world’s greatest music.
For example: I use Spotify. I pay for it. Think about the work I have to do to come to your SoundCloud page and listen to your tracks. My phone is already filled with offline playlists.
Remember: attention is everything in today’s online music market. Make it easy for me and the 20+ million other subscribers by distributing your content to a service I actively enjoy and use, not just one you find easy and is free to work with.
I know it’s not easy to deal with the technical, legal and financial issues of a full-blown digital release. It might even be a bit scary to reach out beyond your own social circle. I often meet artists who dream of “making it” in music, but with no clue on how to get there.
I founded Songflow to help those artists with a simple solution. I hope you’ll experience it for yourself at songflow.com.
Thomas van Wijk
Founder and CEO, Songflow