What is SoundCloud’s ‘Buzzing Playlists’? — Meet SoundCloud’s Answer to Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’

soundcloud buzzing playlists
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soundcloud buzzing playlists
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Photo Credit: Rachit Tank

SoundCloud launches a new ‘Buzzing Playlists’ feature to showcase up-and-coming tracks based on a combination of machine learning and genuine fan engagement — and maybe compete with Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists too.

SoundCloud is taking on Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” with its own set of curated playlists “based on genuine fan engagement,” showcasing up-and-coming tracks, including pop, hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music.

Featuring tracks from artists who are part of SoundCoud’s Next Pro paid subscription program and who have opted in to having their tracks analyzed by SoundCloud’s First Fans program, Buzzing Playlists are curated and updated every week using signals like repeat plays, playlist adds, likes, comments, and reposts.

This works by SoundCloud Next Pro artists uploading a track and opting in to having it analyzed by First Fans, the platform’s AI recommendation algorithm launched last year. SoundCloud says it has analyzed over 3.5 million tracks since launching First Fans last summer, and that Next Pro artists have already seen a 400% increase in the number of listeners due to this feature.

First Fans will then recommend the analyzed tracks to up to 100 “real listeners, not bots.” These are users who are deemed the most likely to love the track based on their past listening behavior. Top tracks are then recommended to a wider net of up to 1,000 listeners. The highest performing tracks (those with the most listener engagement), will then earn a spot on the genre-appropriate Buzzing Playlist.

The company says that tracks featured in Buzzing Playlists have a chance of being further highlighted in SoundCloud charts or in editorial playlists based on their performance.

While Buzzing Playlists feels much like Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists, on which it is clearly inspired, it’s notable that Spotify’s feature is customized per user, suggesting music that you may enjoy but not have heard before based on your listening history.

That difference makes sense; SoundCloud’s Buzzing Playlists feel more true to the platform’s mission of helping buoy up-and-coming artists, increasing their reach based on user engagement.