Are you curious about the history of SoundCloud, one of the largest music streaming platforms in the world?
Look no further!
From its humble beginnings in 2008 in Berlin, Germany, to becoming a platform for independent and emerging artists to share and promote their work, SoundCloud has come a long way.
Learn about the early adopters of the platform, the resurgence of rap music in the 2010s and how Soundcloud evolved into a community-driven platform with features such as groups, reposting, and commenting.
Let's dive into the rich history of SoundCloud and discover how it has shaped the music industry today.
Table of Contents:
1. What is SoundCloud & how did it begin?
SoundCloud is a music and podcast streaming platform that allows users to upload, share, and promote their audio content. SoundCloud launched in 2008 in Berlin, Germany by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, two musicians and music enthusiasts who saw a need for a simple and easy-to-use platform for sharing and discovering music.
They launched the first version of SoundCloud in October 2008 and since then it has grown to become one of the largest music streaming platforms in the world with over 76 million registered users and 175 million monthly active users.
Why did SoundCloud succeed?
One of the unique features of SoundCloud is its focus on independent and emerging artists. The platform allows users to upload and share their music and podcasts for free, which has made it popular with musicians, producers, and podcasters who are looking to build a fanbase and gain exposure for their work. Many independent artists have used SoundCloud to gain recognition and build a following before signing with a record label or other music industry professional.
SoundCloud also offers a paid subscription service called SoundCloud Go+, which includes additional features such as offline listening and access to a larger catalog of music. The service also allows users to upload an unlimited amount of tracks, which is not possible on the free version.
This allows artists to upload their entire catalogs, and reach a larger audience. Additionally, SoundCloud Go+ provides more insights and analytics, which can help artists to understand their audience and track their progress on the platform.
2. The early adopters of Soundcloud
The early adopters of SoundCloud were mostly independent and emerging artists, DJs and producers, who were looking for a platform to share and promote their music. They found in SoundCloud a simple and easy-to-use platform where they could upload their music and share it with a large audience without needing to go through the traditional process. This has helped many independent artists to gain recognition and build a following before signing with a record label or other music industry professional.
Furthermore, early adopters were able to connect with other musicians, producers, and DJs and collaborate on new projects, which helped to establish SoundCloud as a destination for music creation and discovery.
An Example: SoundCloud Rap in the mid-2010s
The 2010s saw a large resurgence of rap music on SoundCloud, which is often referred to as the golden era of SoundCloud rap. What made this time period so special was that it was a platform for upcoming and unknown rappers to showcase their skill in a unique way - where other music streaming sites weren't as accessible.
There was no shortage of exciting, fresh music making its way onto the web and quickly becoming massively popular. Fans were exposed to and loved songs that they'd never heard before, giving rising stars an opportunity to earn recognition while establishing themselves in a saturated market of hip-hop.
For example, musicians such as Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, and Lil Skies broke onto the scene thanks in large part to the SoundCloud platform. This new wave of musicians in the 2010s not only shaped the sound of popular rap, but also paved the way for future artists to reach larger audiences. Thanks SoundCloud!
3. How Soundcloud evolved into a community-driven platform (with features like groups, reposting, and commenting)
SoundCloud has evolved over time, adding new features and functionality to the platform. One of the most important features that has been added is the ability for users to interact with each other by commenting, reposting, and promoting other users' tracks. This has helped to create a strong community of music enthusiasts and has emphasized the social aspect of the platform. Additionally, SoundCloud's supportive attitude towards remixes and mashups has helped to foster a culture of creativity and experimentation among its users.
Furthermore, SoundCloud added the feature of groups and communities, which allowed users to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss music and audio content. This helped to create a sense of community and belonging among SoundCloud's users, and allowed them to discover new music and connect with artists they love. Additionally, reposting and promotion feature helped to spread the word about new music and helped to grow the fanbase of independent and emerging artists.
SoundCloud has also been a great tool for music discovery. The platform's community-based approach allows users to discover new music and connect with the artists they love. This has created an environment where musicians and producers can share their work, get feedback and improve their skills, which in turn helps emerging artist to gain recognition and build a following before signing with a record label or other music industry professional.
Not Like the Rest
SoundCloud is a unique player in its own right. Unlike a typical subscription streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music, SoundCloud provides DIY musicians with the tools to upload their own songs and builds a community of fans.
This is important to mention, because essentially there is no need for a digital distributor or any middle man in the equation, so SoundCloud simplifies the release process for musicians.
Major Music Labels
Surprise, surprise... major record labels like Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment also use SoundCloud as a way to promote and distribute their artists' music.
Although the platform is geared to independent musicians, major music labels have adjusted with the times and are sure to cover ground on the platform as well with their artists' licensed music.
Often times, record labels use SoundCloud's paid advertising options to reach a larger audience and boost their visibility on the platform. Additionally, sometimes they may "leak" an upcoming release on SoundCloud to see how fans engage with the song, and determine if said song is worth a large marketing budget and official release. Smart, amirite?
Unique nature of commenting on music on SoundCloud
Before moving on, let's also touch on the importance that comments have on the SoundCloud ecosystem. SoundCloud is unique in that it allows users to comment on specific parts of a track, which allows for more in-depth discussions about the music.
This can include specific parts of a song, such as a guitar solo or a vocal delivery, and allows for a more detailed level of feedback and critique. This feature is not available on other music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. The only other time you can find an engaged group of listeners and fans is on YouTube, for a music video or lyric video.
This commenting feature has made SoundCloud a valuable tool for music producers and creators, as they can receive feedback on specific parts of their standard or premium music tracks, and make adjustments accordingly.
It also allows for a more in-depth and meaningful conversation about the music between fans, as opposed to just a general like or dislike. This feature has helped to foster a culture of collaboration and critique among SoundCloud's users, and has helped to establish it as a destination for music creation and discovery.
In addition to this, the commenting feature has also helped to create a sense of community among SoundCloud's users. It allows them to connect with other music enthusiasts and share their thoughts and opinions on different tracks. This helps to build a sense of belonging among users, and allows them to discover new music and connect with artists they love.
4. Why brands should consider using Soundcloud to reach new audiences
SoundCloud has a large and engaged user base which makes it a great platform for brands to reach new audiences. The platform's community-based approach allows brands to connect with consumers in a unique way, and its emphasis on independent and emerging artists makes it a great platform for brands targeting a younger demographic.
Additionally, SoundCloud's user-friendly interface and ability to upload and share audio content easily, makes it easy for brands to create campaigns and collaborations that resonate with the community.
Brands can also use SoundCloud's analytics to track their performance and understand their audience. This allows them to create content that resonates with their target market and to track their progress. Additionally, brands can use SoundCloud's paid advertising options to reach a larger audience and boost their visibility on the platform.
5 Tips for using Soundcloud to grow your brand or business
If you're looking to use SoundCloud to grow your brand or business, here are five tips to help you get started:
1. Post Regularly
Create a consistent and engaging presence on the platform by regularly uploading and sharing content. This will help to establish your brand and build a loyal following.
2. Engage with Others
Engage with others on SoundCloud by commenting, reposting, and promoting other tracks. If you like a song, don't be afraid to express that opinion. This will help to build relationships and grow your following.
3. Join Groups
Utilize SoundCloud's groups and communities feature to connect with like-minded users and build relationships. This will help you to establish your brand within a specific niche or community.
4. SoundCloud Go+
Consider using SoundCloud Go+ to access additional features and reach a larger audience. This will allow you to upload an unlimited number of tracks and gain access to advanced analytics and insights.
Use SoundCloud's analytics to track your progress and adjust your strategy accordingly. This will help you to understand your audience and tailor your content to their preferences.
Overall, SoundCloud is a powerful platform that can help brands to reach new audiences and build relationships with customers. By following these tips and utilizing the platform's many features, you can establish your brand and grow your business on SoundCloud.
In conclusion, the online audio distribution platform SoundCloud has come a long way since its launch in 2008. During that time the website has evolved into a community-driven platform that has helped to establish it as a destination for music discovery and creation.
Its focus on independent and emerging artists and its community-based approach have helped to create a strong community of music enthusiasts, and its supportive attitude towards remixes and mashups has helped to foster a culture of creativity and experimentation among its users.
Brands can also take advantage of SoundCloud's large user base and community-based approach to reach new audiences and connect with consumers in a unique way.
With its constantly evolving features and functionality, SoundCloud will continue to be an important platform for independent and emerging artists, music enthusiasts, and brands looking to reach new audiences and grow their businesses.