Photo: Courtesy of SoundCloud
SoundCloud's "Creator-Focused" Path To Survival
Even top streaming services are struggling to find profitability. Last summer, SoundCloud's struggle for survival made it the center of attention, as Chance The Rapper promised it was "here to stay." Seen by many as the leading online home for underground and emerging artists, SoundCloud is betting its own future on the helpfulness of statistical insights it provides to up-and-coming talent. Its latest insight is stats on Plays from Recommendations.
Selling a subscription service to music artists might seem a little backward while subscriptions are being sold to consumers, and platforms and rights organizations generally offer analytic insights to members and users. But SoundCloud is a unique online community, especially focused on artists who are just getting started. Now two paid tiers for artists and SoundCloud's Pulse app leverage the service's data for newcomers' real-time benefit, per its "Creator Guide."
In today's data-driven internet platform environment, music recommendations mean the platform takes what it knows about you (a lot), and tries to guess from that what you would like to do next. Because each recommendation reflects a cutting-edge analysis of trends and personal info, for an artist to see where their popularity is gaining traction can help them know who to target in order to break through. This is especially applicable to SoundCloud's community because of its proven niche helping emerging artists break out.
What SoundCloud needs most from artists now is for more of them to use its creator-focused tools to succeed. It makes sense this would be the business strategy at the edge where up-and-comers compete to make music into their full-time livelihood. For example, CD Baby has cultivated the DIY Musician for years. How should creators expand their minds and schedules to engage with SoundCloud's valuable analytics? That one is still a work in progress.