The dynamic world of music streaming has undergone a significant transformation, with platforms like SoundCloud offering unprecedented opportunities for artists to connect with their audience. Increasing your SoundCloud plays can be a bit of a labyrinth, filled with rabbit holes, blind curves, and dead ends.
After many years of navigating this terrain, I’ve gained valuable insights and refined strategies that have boosted my music’s visibility, most of which I’ll share with you today.
In the quest to garner more SoundCloud plays, the first key is understanding what counts as a ‘play’. In SoundCloud’s universe, a ‘play’ is recorded each time a listener streams at least 30 seconds of your track. For instance, if a listener replays your 2-minute track five times, you accrue five ‘plays’. Essentially, this metric is a reflection of how engaging and interesting your music is to listeners.
SoundCloud provides an invaluable set of free tools to monitor your track’s performance. If you navigate to your track’s page, you’ll find the play count displayed beneath the waveform. This count indicates how many times your track has been played, serving as an essential metric to gauge the effectiveness of your promotional efforts.
Next, let’s talk about you:
One of the cornerstones of attracting more SoundCloud plays is to create a unique and compelling musical identity. When I decided to fuse elements of jazz and electronica in my tracks, I noticed a significant uptick in my plays.
By offering your listeners something distinctive that resonates with their musical tastes, you can foster a deeper connection and encourage more plays.
There are also a couple of ways to do this visually on Soundcloud:
Album art is more than just a visual accompaniment to your music. It’s the visual hook that draws listeners in, serving as the first impression of your music.
Make something that will grab them:
As far as the specs, it’s advisable to use images that are at least 800 x 800 pixels and in the JPEG or PNG format to ensure the best quality. Over the years, I’ve collaborated with artists from different mediums such as graffiti artists and digital illustrators to create striking album art that resonates with my music’s vibe.
In addition to your album art, your SoundCloud banner is another key aspect of your visual representation on the platform.
The optimal size for your banner is 2480 x 520 pixels, and the image should ideally be in JPEG or PNG format.
Consider an image that best embodies your musical identity and aesthetic.
Check out Claptone’s banner:
Not only does this banner nail the brand of the masked man, but it’s seriously colorful and eye-catching.
Note: Maintaining a consistent background for the banner and profile picture greatly contributes to giving SoundCloud visual profiles a polished and professional appearance.
Leveraging SoundCloud’s promotional tools, like Spotlight and Pro Unlimited, can significantly boost your music’s visibility.
Spotlight, which costs $6/month or $55/year, allows you to pin your best tracks or playlists to the top of your profile, enhancing their visibility and, consequently, the plays.
On the other hand, Pro Unlimited, priced at $12/month or $99/year, offers a range of benefits, including unlimited uploads, advanced stats, and the ability to schedule releases.
Properly tagging your music and crafting engaging descriptions can dramatically increase your music’s discoverability. Adding tags like ‘#synth-pop’ and ‘#80sVibe’ to my synth-pop-inspired tracks has made them more discoverable among synth-pop enthusiasts.
Descriptions are also important because they give listeners more context about the track or playlist they’re listening to. Make sure you write a clear and concise description that accurately describes what listeners can expect from your playlist or track. Include any details that may be helpful such as the type of instruments used, the inspiration behind it, or any collaborations involved.
With optimized tags and descriptions, you can increase visibility for your SoundCloud promotion and attract more plays for your tracks.
I’ve found adding a “Buy” link to my tracks to be an effective strategy. This approach gives listeners an opportunity to support your music directly and access high-quality downloads, which, in turn, improves your overall SoundCloud plays.
A quick look at the Waveform reveals the number of people engaged in conversation.
The Waveform is not just a visual representation of your track; it’s a unique storytelling tool. By uploading a track with dynamic highs and lows in the waveform, you can create a narrative that generates curiosity among potential listeners and leads to increased plays.
Fans will also take notice, as their ability to discern the latest and upcoming music increases, making them more inclined to return and engage with you and your tracks
Repost chains, where SoundCloud users repost each other’s tracks, can significantly amplify your music’s reach. This strategy helped my experimental folk music find an audience among electronic music lovers, thus broadening my listener base and boosting my plays.
A “good” SoundCloud repost chain is characterized by several key features:
I make it a priority to respond to comments on my tracks and actively engage with my followers. This approach builds a deeper bond with my audience and encourages them to continue engaging with my music.
Creating playlists with my tracks and those of other artists I admire, and sharing these playlists has been immensely beneficial. This not only showcases my music but also strengthens relationships within the SoundCloud community.
Collaborating with other artists has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my SoundCloud journey. By reposting each other’s tracks, we’ve managed to introduce our music to new listeners and substantially increase our plays.
To heighten engagement, I’ve hosted giveaways and contests, like remix competitions for my tracks. This initiative not only drives engagement but also encourages listeners to share your music, helping to attract new listeners.
Before launching a track publicly, I often share it privately with my close network of fellow artists and avid listeners. This strategy aids in gathering constructive feedback for last-minute tweaks and also builds anticipation around the upcoming release.
In 2020, Megan Thee Stallion released her album “Fever” on all streaming services, but she also released a special version of the album on SoundCloud. This version of the album included bonus tracks and exclusive content.
This was a great way to give fans a more complete experience of the album.
Creating exclusive remixes or live versions of my tracks specifically for my SoundCloud followers has proven successful in boosting engagement and fostering loyalty among my audience, leading to more plays.
Sharing my tracks on social media platforms, YouTube channels, radio stations, and online forums has significantly extended my audience reach. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help you effectively manage, schedule, and track your social media marketing efforts.
Regularly sending updates about my music, including new releases and behind-the-scenes production tips, through email has not only kept my most dedicated fans engaged but also helped increase my SoundCloud plays.
With SoundCloud’s integration of email marketing tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, it’s never been easier to grow your email list. By offering exclusive content such as free downloads or early access to new music in exchange for an email address, you can incentivize your fans to join your mailing list.
Once you have their contact information, make sure to regularly send out newsletters with engaging content that keeps them interested and invested in your music. You can also use the emails to promote any upcoming shows or events you may be performing at.
Don’t forget to personalize each email as much as possible by using their name and mentioning specific songs they’ve shown interest in before. Building a strong relationship with your email subscribers will not only increase engagement but also help increase SoundCloud plays through word-of-mouth recommendations from loyal fans who are excited about what you’re creating.
Investing in SoundCloud’s advertising services can amplify your reach significantly. Their Promote tool allows you to target specific audiences, improving your visibility among listeners who are likely to enjoy your music. The cost for this service is pretty high, starting at $20 for 1,000 plays, but I’ve seen a marked boost in my plays after using this feature.
Building connections with influencers and industry professionals has helped me gain exposure on popular Instagram accounts and YouTube channels, contributing to a rise in my SoundCloud plays. Platforms like LinkedIn and Reddit are teeming with professionals in the music industry and groups dedicated to music production, and they can be powerful resources for networking.
Despite the controversy, buying SoundCloud plays from trustworthy sources can provide a significant boost in visibility, especially for new artists. Prices vary across different providers, typically ranging from $1 to $3 per 1000 plays. While this strategy does not replace the need for quality music and genuine engagement, it can enhance your promotional efforts, especially when you’re starting out. Just make sure you buy real plays that stick.
Increasing your SoundCloud plays involves a holistic approach that includes creating high-quality music, defining your unique musical identity, engaging with the SoundCloud community, and leveraging effective promotional strategies. Remember, it’s about creating a unique musical journey for your listeners, and in return, the plays will indeed follow. Stay curious, stay engaged, and keep creating.
Interestingly, an enormous SoundCloud following doesn’t necessarily translate into increased plays. You might think the more followers, the better, but that’s not always the case.
Engagement and high-quality content are the driving forces behind improving your play counts. That’s to say, rather than just chasing more followers, concentrate on nurturing your existing fan base, collaborating with other musicians, and consistently delivering top-notch tracks.
By emphasizing these elements, you’ll see not only a rise in plays but also the growth of a dedicated audience who’ll stick around to support your musical journey.
Standing out on SoundCloud hinges on crafting high-quality content that appeals to your intended audience. This involves refining your sound and production techniques and staying in tune with the music industry’s current trends.
In addition, cementing a solid brand identity through steady branding and marketing initiatives can help set you apart in the crowded SoundCloud landscape.
By investing in yourself and your craft, you’ll attract more listeners and nurture a faithful following that will boost your career in the long run.
Your music is stellar, but it’s getting lost amidst countless other tracks. But, there are ways to spotlight your tunes.
Optimizing your SoundCloud tracks’ tags and descriptions is critical. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, empathizing with your listener can guide you toward relevant and attention-grabbing tags that characterize your genre and style.
Also, use your descriptions creatively – inject some humor or intriguing phrases to attract potential listeners.
With some strategic tagging and enticing descriptions, you’ll soon see a surge in plays.
Thinking of forging connections in the music industry via SoundCloud?
Begin by ensuring your profile stands out with professional quality tracks and a coherent brand identity. Engage with other users by leaving insightful comments on their tracks, reposting songs from artists you respect, and participating in genre-related groups.
While it may feel daunting, don’t hesitate to directly reach out to professionals or influencers, keeping your messages respectful and succinct.
Remember, successful networking is a gradual process of relationship-building, so stay patient and consistent in your efforts.
With perseverance and dedication, you can leverage SoundCloud to network with industry insiders and advance your career.
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