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The Best SoundCloud Fan Gate: Top 3 Platforms to Hack SoundCloud Downloads

I went out on a quest to find the best SoundCloud fan gate (also called SoundCloud download gate) for the electronic producer. After thoroughly testing nine different fan gates, I’m happy to share my results.

A Bit About Fan Gates

The concept of a fan gate is simple. With a fan gate, artists offer downloads in exchange for a social media follow or share from the downloader. This way, releasing free music is a direct advantage to artists.

I dive into finding the best social actions for you SoundCloud Growth Hack, but I’ll mention it briefly. No matter if you are an artist, label, blog, collective, anything, Follow AND Repost on SoundCloud are the most important social actions to grow your SoundCloud Account. Follow on Spotify is useful for musicians, as Spotify verified applications start at 250 followers. If you run a YouTube music promo channel, the Subscribe on YouTube action is a way to build your YouTube audience through another social media platform. Pretty neat, huh.

Without further ado, here is the list of best fan gates.

The Best SoundCloud Fan Gate

#1. The Artist Union

(Pros: Best free stats. Second-best selection of social network actions. Email subscribe + donation options. Cons: light stats compared to Hive. No SnapChat support.)

I found the Artist Union to be the best SoundCloud fan gate for the self-marketed musician. The Artist Union is geared for independent musicians to publish and market music. Artist Union is a breeze to use with its clean interface, plethora of free features, and easy to understand analytics system.

The Artist Union is geared specifically towards electronic music. It offers charts for trending tracks and sample packs posted on its service. It has this cool feature called “Powerscore”, where it calculates your SoundCloud profile’s influence. It’s basically grading your SoundCloud profile like a teacher and a history essay. Awesome.

The Artist Union varies from its competitor Hive in its social options. The Artist Union covers the major bases, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, YouTube. Unlike Hive, it offers a way for fans to pay artists and subscribe to their email lists.

The Artist Union’s Social Actions

SoundCloud: Follow on SoundCloud. Repost, Favorite, Comment SoundCloud track.
Facebook: Like Facebook Page. Share post on Facebook.
Spotify: Follow on Spotify.
YouTube: Subscribe to channel.
Instagram: Follow on Instagram.
Email: Opt-in to mailing list.
Donation: “Name your price” payment.

#2. Hive

(Pros: Best stats platform, wide range of social media actions. Cons: Paid subscription required.) 

(Update 8/15/2016: is now a paid service only. It’s still powerful, but use at your own discretion and budget.)

No questions, Hive is the most powerful download gate and music fan platform out there. It’s incredible to a business-person like myself, but overkill for the independent artist. While Hive is geared towards brands and large artists, it offers good free features to anyone big or small.

In addition to download gates, Hive users can also create contests where fans can sign up (like a giveaway) or submit a file (like a remix competition). These contests allow email capture. Lastly, Hive allows artists to collect and send email newsletters. While Hive has sign up forms to collect emails, it does not have the option to collect emails for downloads like The Artist Union does.

Hive has the most in-depth stats dashboard of all the fan gates I have encountered. Hive’s stats focus more around identifying the demographics of fans to find influencers, plan tours, and make big decisions. Hive also allows data imports if you have preexisting customer data. It is definitely a tool for an artist manager or record label, not a DIY artist. If The Artist Union is a pickup truck, Hive is a fleet of semis.

Hives’s Social Actions

SoundCloud: Follow on SoundCloud. Repost on SoundCloud.
Facebook: Like Facebook Page. Share post on Facebook.
Twitter: Follow Twitter account. Post tweet to Twitter.
Spotify: Follow on Spotify.
Instagram: Follow on Instagram.
YouTube: Subscribe to channel. Watch video
Add on SnapChat

#3. Toneden

(Pros: Interactive community. Shortlinking & retargeting abilities. Cons: Limited selection of social actions.)

ToneDen has a special place in electronic music producers’ hearts. ToneDen was the first platform to introduce follow-to-download tactics. I found that newcomers The Artist Union and Hive have an edge Toneden in fan gate flexibility, but ToneDen has its own hidden weapon–Fan Links.

The Fan Links feature in ToneDen is a shortlink service much like a or ToneDen separates itself by giving free users access to retargeting pixels in their link. Ever visited a website, and then had it stalk you around the internet for the next week? You experienced a retargeting pixel.

Here’s a scenario where Fan Links with retargeting pixels would be appropriate. Say you’re releasing a track on iTunes, Beatport, etc. A few weeks before the release, post up a preview on SoundCloud. Share the preview on social media using ToneDen Fan Links with a retargeting pixel. Once the track is for sale, go back to the retargeting pixel and create an ad saying, “Remember this track?”. You already have your foot in the door–the ad is only showing to people who have already listened to the track.

ToneDen’s Social Actions

SoundCloud: Follow on SoundCloud. Optional: Repost on SoundCloud.
Spotify: Follow on Spotify.
YouTube: Subscribe to YouTube channel.
Twitter: Tweet to download.


Please share this article, and contact me at sky@pariahreign if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts.

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