Artists and fans alike have historically flocked to free streaming services such as Datpiff, YouTube, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud, as ways of hosting and finding new music. In the early 2010’s Soundcloud not only began to outcompete other free streaming services, but paid platforms as well. Between 2014 and 2017, Soundcloud saw hundreds of respected acts emerge each month, with many going on to receive international success, including Denzel Curry, Bones, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, and many more, all whose careers were fueled by organic growth on Soundcloud. Yet, only a few years later, many modern artists have turned their back on Soundcloud to focus on Spotify and Apple Music. In this article, we’ll cover important tips on metadata and social sharing to accelerate your organic Soundcloud growth and place on editorial playlists in 2020.
Increasing Reach with Optimized Metadata
Similar to many hosting platforms including Audiomack, Vimeo, and YouTube, metadata is an incredibly key part to organic growth. Soundcloud allows every upload to select a genre, via hashtag, as well as insert 30 tags. These tags should include genre, subgenre, related genre, and related artists. These tags should not focus on branded terms (i.e. your artist name, label name, etc.) as those would already be pulled via your account and other song data. For genre, you should always pick from the list generated by Soundcloud, as this is the only way to appear on the Top Tracks list for genres. All subgenres, or other genres not listed by Soundcloud, should be included in the tags.
Keep in mind these tags should relate to what you want people to search to find your song, and will determine your audience and reach, outside of those finding your profile through referrals and direct traffic. Focus on subgenres, descriptive terms for your music (i.e. upbeat pop, sad chill music, sad rap). You can use tools such as VIDIQ and SEMRush to conduct keyword research; however, this should only be done by marketers who already understand the ins and outs of search. Tagging artists that you have collaborated with, are ‘Related Artists’ to on your Soundcloud, or are inspirations to you can also be included.
Importance of Hashtags for Editorial Playlisting
While Spotify allows artists to submit their tracks directly to the editorial team for playlisting consideration, the only way to definitively end up on editorial playlists by the Soundcloud team is to use the #SCFIRST hashtag on all releases. This will place your song up for consideration on a plethora of Soundcloud editorial playlists, including Fresh Pressed, First on Soundcloud, and others found on the homepage. Other playlist hashtags to use include #getmoreplays, #drippin, #hustle, #RAW, #tears, #thepeak, #ontheup, #tunnel, and #circuitz.
In addition to being the method in which Soundcloud editors find new songs, other artists and fans searching for similar music will use those hashtags, so even if your music is not playlisted, they are great tags to use across genres.
Increasing your organic presence on Soundcloud will require some work outside of Soundcloud. You should always share your music posted on Soundcloud on streaming platforms, as fans will be able to listen to the entire song embedded on social media platforms or applications without a paywall occurring with services like Spotify and Apple music. Additionally, this will help convert shares, comments, and likes from the social media platform to shares, comments, and likes, on Soundcloud.
In addition to increased reach caused by shares, these engagements improve ranking of the song within Soundcloud’s algorithms, meaning it will more likely appear on Soundcloud Weekly, Related Tracks, and Stations, in addition to ranking higher in search.
Soundcloud is far from a dead platform, and by following the above tips, you can accelerate your organic growth on the streaming platform significantly. Want to read more about how to market yourself as an independent artist? Check out our free artist resources or request a free career report from our team.
Are you interested in working with a dedicated marketing team to help you fuel organic growth across Soundcloud and other streaming platforms? Learn more about our offerings or reach out to a team member.