SoundCloud Inks Artist-Discovery Deal With Solid Foundation Management

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Lil Baby performing live. Photo Credit: Frank Schwichtenberg

SoundCloud has unveiled a “joint venture” with QC Media Holdings’ Solid Foundation Management, under which the involved parties will work “to discover new talent and revolutionize artist partnerships.”

SoundCloud, which says that its library contains north of 275 million tracks from some 30 million creators, announced the pact with Solid Foundation today. Both Solid Foundation and QC Media are owned and operated by Kevin Lee and Pierre Thomas.

Within QC Media, nine-year-old Quality Control Music is headquartered in Atlanta, and the hip-hop label’s roster includes Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, Migos, City Girls, and 20-year-old Lakeyah. Solid Foundation also debuted in 2013 and manages many Quality Control acts.

Bearing these details in mind, QC Media invested in SoundCloud – the stake’s value hasn’t been publicly revealed – and Solid Foundation “will work collaboratively with the company to identify, invest in, and foster the careers of artists featured on the platform,” according to the entities’ announcement message.

“Collectively, this ground-breaking deal will apply a combination of deep industry experience, proprietary data & insights and resources to create custom A&R programs for selected artists inclusive of development, distribution and marketing and artist services,” SoundCloud’s formal release elaborates.

And in a statement, Lee emphasized the large number of emerging artists whose music is available on Berlin-based SoundCloud, which adopted a “fan-powered” royalty model in 2021 and released a music-heavy feature film in January.

“There is nothing more important to our process than discovering new artists, so partnering with SoundCloud, one of the most important hotbeds of talent, is incredibly exciting to us,” said Lee. “Their data merging with our time-tested way of cultivating and building artists will be a blend to be reckoned with!”

In a testament to younger acts’ prominence on SoundCloud, the service previously revealed that NBA YoungBoy (age 22) was the “top artist” of 2021, with “Rapstar” by Polo G (age 23) garnering the most on-platform plays of any track last year.

Meanwhile, “Antisocial 2” by BabySantana (age 15) was dubbed the “hardest independent hit” because it boasted “the most fan engagement of all independent drops in its first 24 hours.” Plus, SoFaygo (age 20) was SoundCloud’s “top independent artist” of 2021.

Of course, the likes of Billie Eilish, Bryson Tiller, and Post Malone also started their careers on SoundCloud, and it’ll be interesting to see which artists Solid Foundation signs from the platform moving forward. In a broader sense, it’s worth reiterating that catalog releases, referring to tracks that debuted at least 18 months back, now account for almost 75 percent of U.S. music consumption.