Creating a SoundCloud Growth System
1. Constantly release good music
Juggle your tracks by releasing on the tail
You cannot expect to release a track every few months and see the growth you would like. These tactics all work better with the more music you release. This system works exponentially better each time that you release music. The more music that you release, the more chances people have to repost and follow you. The more people repost you, the more people your music gets exposed to. The more people who follow you, the more people can repost the next song you release.
Aside from the numbers, releasing rapidly will make it appear like you’re blowing up. Think of artists like Luca Lush, San Holo, and Marshmello, who sprinted their way to the top by relentlessly sharing music. Make people believe that you are everywhere.
While it may sound like you should release a track every day, you shouldn’t. When you want to build momentum and growth, you must wait to upload a track after the last one starts to die. Budi Voogt mentioned this method in The SoundCloud Bible, and I like to call it releasing on the tail. The tail is the long curve downwards after your track has reached its peak. By releasing on the tail, you throw a ball up in the air while the other is coming down.
To know when to release the next tune, check your SoundCloud Play stats for Daily Plays. If your daily plays have been decreasing steadily for the past three days, upload a new track immediately. Repeat this process.
When you release on the tail, each track gets full attention. Also, the next track gets bigger than the one before. If timed right, you will still have the attention of the listeners of your last track for when you release the next one.
2. Make it for free
Don’t try selling something people will not pay for
When you are starting off, it is better to have lots of people who have downloaded your music versus a few people who buy your music. Dedicated fans aside, nobody wants to buy music. Even if a song is for sale, most people will find a way to download it for free. Some people even give up on a song if they don’t want to buy it and can’t find it for free. As an artist, you want to be able to control where people download your music and benefit from it. By posting free music, you can easily get your music into anyone’s hands. People who don’t believe in buying music can have your music. People who are on budgets and can’t afford to buy music can now have your music.
[Update 2/13/2016] I’ve worked for record labels where artists with less than 1k on their socials could barely sell any tracks or even get anyone to stream on Spotify. Do not confuse releasing with labels, being on Beatport, Spotify etc. as a sure way to success. Hold out for selling tracks until you have people who want to buy.”
3. Install a download gate
Just because your music is free, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for something
Installing a download gate is the way to benefit off of releasing free music. A download gate will connect to a fan’s SoundCloud or social media platforms and require them to interact—follow, like, tweet, post, etc—in order to receive the track. We personally use Hive.co because it offers the widest range of social interactions (Toneden & Click also have their benefits. Pick which is best for you.)We recommend setting up these interactions for every download: Follow SoundCloud, Repost song on SoundCloud, Like Facebook, Follow Spotify/Instagram/Snapchat (optional).
The first 2 are absolutely vital. By having fans follow you to download, they will get the next song into their feed. By requiring a repost, fans who download are organically spreading your music to their friends’ feeds. Economists call this self-serving model an economy of scale, the building block of monopolies.
The non-SoundCloud actions are a little subject to your personal style. A good portion of artists dislike Facebook because it doesn’t allow them to promote their music as far as they would like. However, it can serve a different purpose. We recommend building artists’ Facebook fans because it’s often what promoters look at to judge an artist’s reach and popularity. If streaming is the future of music, it’s wise to grow your streaming following. Plus, Spotify allows you to request for verification with only 250 followers. Instagram and Snapchat are good options if you feel you are particularly strong on either platform. Choose what you are good at, and don’t overwhelm your fans with a 7-network list of requirements to download your music.
Want a better download button for your SoundCloud? Check out our Sniply SoundCloud hack.
4. Make some friends
Team up with friends to share each other’s audiences
Teaming up with other producers, in a collective or just as homies, brings great SoundCloud growth. Talk to your producer friends about reposting each other’s releases. This will bring your audience to their music, their audience to your music, and, if you two are similar in sound and talent, will be beneficial for the both of you. If you are formally in a collective, this factor multiplies by 100. Not only can all collective member repost each other, but you can release compilation albums as a collective. You can put a download gate on these compilation albums, requiring users to follow everyone in the collective in exchange for the album.
Need help starting an artist collective? Get started with our quick guide.
5. If you remix, be careful
Avoid remixing & copyright mistakes
Remixing can be a great way to get attention to your brand by borrowing someone else’s. It is also frowned upon in many cases.
SoundCloud is notorious for deleting remixes and banning accounts for copyright infringement. When releasing an unofficial remix, many producers choose to release on a separate SoundCloud “Remix/Bootleg” account. This way, their official account will avoid copyright strikes for uploading remixes. Plus, blogs will be able to repost the song without risking copyright violation on their accounts.
Mid-level electronic artists are generally more okay with remixes and less likely to file copyright violations than Top-40 or big label artists. Some producers, when releasing an unofficial remix, will choose to create a unique name other than the original track. For example, BLU J’s remix of Rihanna – Umbrella is titled UMBRLA. Labels and distributors have a harder time filing a strike against a remix that is named something other than the original title.
[Update 2/13/2016] Recently, Top 40 remixes using cover vocals instead of the original have gained massive popularity. If both the original cover and the remix featuring the cover vocals are free, it is unlikely for a major label to file a copyright strike, and nearly impossible for SoundCloud’s copyright detection algorithm to flag the track. This may be a fair way to participate in the creative vision of a track without spiting the original rights holders.
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