SoundCloud joins the TikTok discovery feed bandwagon and begins testing a vertical feed for discovering music.
As more streaming services vie for attention in the wake of TikTok’s astronomic popularity, an AI-powered vertical feed to help users discover new content is increasingly becoming the standard. SoundCloud has become the latest platform to test out such a feature.
The company is testing a vertical feed discovery feature with select users on both iOS and Android apps. SoundCloud users in the test will see a new “Discover” page and a “Following” page beneath the Feed tab. Previously, this tab only showed new tracks from artists you were following and reposts from friends.
SoundCloud says the Discover page will show songs based on the user’s listening history and musical taste, with a line explaining why a particular track shows up in a user’s recommendations. Additionally, 30-second song previews will become available across both Discover and Following pages, with artists able to select their own clip to highlight or rely on SoundCloud’s AI tech, Musiio, which the company acquired last year.
Users can “like” song previews and listen to the full version by tapping the play button, which provides additional information about the track on a new page. This page redesign also makes commenting on the song or adding it to a playlist easier.
As TikTok’s short video format has played an increasing role in uncovering new artists, many platforms are taking inspiration from the ByteDance-owned app and experimenting with their own take on the vertical feed.
Spotify has long been testing such a feature but has yet to roll it out entirely. Resso, another ByteDance-owned app that operates in Brazil, India, and Indonesia, also utilizes a vertical feed but does not include the ability to listen to short clips of songs. Niche music discovery apps like Smores and HotDrop have relied on short clips and AI-based recommendations to help users find new content.
SoundCloud hopes to be the first music platform to combine these elements to fuel user discovery. Still, like many tech companies, SoundCloud slashed 20% of its workforce last August amid “significant company transformation and the challenging economic and financial environment.”
Notably, SoundCloud has introduced programs for fan-powered royalties in the last few years, allowing smaller artists to earn money from user subscriptions or ad revenue based on artists to whom users listened. This model alleviates the issue of established artists getting paid more due to more total streams.