SoundCloud has officially revealed its most popular artists and tracks of 2021, and NBA YoungBoy, whose music videos were recently removed from YouTube, secured “the most fan engagement” of any creator.
SoundCloud disclosed this and other noteworthy stats in its 2021 Playback analysis, in addition to scheduling a “Playback Awards Show” – set to begin at 4 PM PT today – to honor the most popular on-platform acts. As mentioned, NBA YoungBoy led the pack in SoundCloud fan engagement on the year.
Listeners’ continued interest in the 22-year-old’s work could prove significant in the approaching months. While the precise reason for the above-highlighted YouTube removals remains unclear, YoungBoy’s manager previously accused the Google-owned video-sharing platform of failing to “promote” the Baton Rouge-born rapper.
Notwithstanding NBA YoungBoy’s overall popularity on SoundCloud, Polo G’s “Rapstar” managed to obtain the most on-platform plays of any one track in 2021. The 22-year-old rapper likewise nabbed the top honor in the “Longest Run” and “Hardest Hit” categories.
Regarding the former, 2021 Playback relayed that “Rapstar” had topped the “SoundCloud charts for the most consecutive weeks,” besides garnering “the most fan engagement in its first 24 hours of all releases in 2021” for the latter award.
2021 Playback named 15-year-old BabySantana’s “Antisocial 2” the “Hardest Independent Hit” of the year, with the “most fan engagement” of any indie track (during the 24 hours after it was uploaded) on the service, which made headlines over the summer for rolling out a fan-powered royalty model. Meanwhile, SoundCloud deemed SoFaygo the “Top Independent Artist” of 2021 because the 20-year-old placed first in fan engagement among unsigned acts.
Touting the aforementioned fan-powered royalty system, SoundCloud said that Sweely, as the 2021 “Fan-Powered Artist,” achieved “the most growth in fan engagement.” And UK duo A1 x J1’s “Latest Trends” generated the most SoundCloud plays “of all debut releases” in 2021; the new group’s members met online and are 16 and 17 years old, respectively.
Lastly, in terms of 2021 Playback winners, 26-year-old Taeyong’s “Dark Clouds” – the NCT leader’s first SoundCloud release – scored “the most fan comments in a week.” This comment influx appears to reflect the dedication of K-pop diehards, for the overarching NCT boy group, despite receiving a smaller share of the media spotlight than the likes of Blackpink and BTS, looks to have a solid following of its own.
Considering SoundCloud’s previously noted fan-powered royalty model – along with the generally young ages of the platform’s most popular artists and Spotify’s continued embrace of paid-promotional options – it’ll be worth following the service’s market presence moving forward.
Last month, Tidal unveiled an ad-supported free tier as well as direct-to-artist payments, and SoundCloud announced a partnership with 2K, under which the involved entities are accepting music submissions for the NBA 2K22 soundtrack.