SoundCloud is the most exciting opportunity for musicians to increase their exposure, find new fans, and even get discovered. Getting more SoundCloud plays is not, however, as simple as uploading some tracks and letting the magic happen. You have to work for them, and you have to have a good plan to get more SoundCloud plays.
This article will start off by looking at the things you can do to start getting more SoundCloud plays. They’ll be obvious once you have them done, but you can’t skip them! We’ll then look at what you should not do if getting more SoundCloud plays is your goal!
As is the tradition here on the Devumi blog, my favorite current track on SoundCloud will be at the bottom. Read all the way through to get there!
Getting more SoundCloud plays – 5 Dos
Getting your SoundCloud profile looking right
The first step in getting more SoundCloud plays doesn’t have anything to do with the music – it has to do with your look. Your SoundCloud profile needs to have a great looking profile that instantly says to people “Hello, this is our band and we’re ready to melt your hearts/faces off/preconceived ideas of modern living.”
Here are the ‘looks’ that you’ll want to look into to start getting more SoundCloud plays:
- An ideally sized profile image will be 300 x 300 pixels – SoundCloud will scale it down to 200 x 200. Resize your best image so it fits this without being stretched. Try to make the image something that people will recognize instantly – faces of band members, or the recent album cover – so you start building recognition.
- Upgrade to a Pro or Unlimited plan so that you can add a header image. You can be a bit more playful with this image if you have a good profile image already, artists frequently use this to talk more about their recent album, and this links to the iTunes. Keep the text near the center as this image adjusts to screen size and can cut off the right edges of the image on small screens.
- Your username and URL is another ‘look’ that needs to be right. If people look at your username or URL and think you’re someone else, you’re not looking right at all. These two can be changed separately later on from the settings page, but you should plan to get them right from the beginning. Try to match your username from Twitter or other social platforms so that things look like they lining up.
Take the time to set all three of these up before you even start uploading tracks. Your look is important when you want to start getting more SoundCloud plays!
Go into the Advanced Settings tab and start adding links to your:
This helps you in your goal of getting more SoundCloud plays by capturing potential new fans in as many ways as possible. Maybe they don’t want to follow you on SoundCloud, but if they dig your tracks they will follow you on one of the above social platforms and they will come back and listen to you again.
Don’t forget a link to your label and personal website as well. These don’t do so much for getting more SoundCloud plays as they help increase people’s understanding of where you fit into the music world.
Use Spotlight to shine a spotlight on your new track
You followed my advice above and upgraded your account, right? Good, I love being listened to as much as your band loves being listened too. *Insert canned laughter*
When you have a Pro or Unlimited account with SoundCloud you’re able to get more SoundCloud plays due to how your newest tracks appear at the top of your profile. No one wants to come by and see the same old stale tracks over and over – especially when they know you’ve had something new cooking!
Start getting social
No, I’m not talking about being the obnoxious guy who goes onto other people’s tracks and says half-hearted “this song is great, it sounds like ours so follow us!” because no one likes that guy.
You’ll start getting more SoundCloud plays when you follow other artists, genuinely engage with them (collabo time, anyone?), follow your label and chime in when they mention your band a tour you’re involved with, and connect with your fans.
This last point, about talking with your fans, is an essential when you first start on SoundCloud. When you get BIG, they’ll understand if you don’t write back to every comment. But they’ll never forget when you wrote to them back when you were still struggling.
Start your account off quickly with a SoundCloud plays service
It may be a controversial topic, but buying a few SoundCloud plays from us to start your account is a more common practice then you may know. Don’t think of it as buying fans, think of it as a way to get over the awkward hump of your brand new account having no plays, and this big fat ZERO scaring people away.
The truth is, the major labels are doing this in a HUGE way on music video channels, this is your small step to level the playing field slightly. The major labels are paying for plays on MTV, but there’s nothing illegal at all about buying a few plays to get your account moving.
Getting more SoundCloud plays – 5 Don’ts
Don’t: Forget the music!
Seem obvious? It isn’t. Too many bands upload their scratch tracks, B-sides, and lazy demos to SoundCloud and think that they’ve done enough to get plays on SoundCloud. Wrong. Your fans can find your actual music in any number of ways, wouldn’t you rather control that by having some, but not all, of your best music getting you more SoundCloud plays?
Don’t: Forget to add a bio and contact details
If your bio is blank you’re leaving out the people who want to know more about you. Remember sitting around reading the stories of how your favorite bands met and formed? Nothing has changed, fans still want that information, but they look for it in your SoundCloud profile now – not on the album sleeve.
Many fans enter general keywords in their searches to find bands. They’ll enter “Hop Hop” and browse until something catches their ear/eye. This also relates to the ‘Explore’ section of SoundCloud. You’ll start getting more SoundCloud play when you show up in the right genre section. People are going here to find music they want to LOVE – let them find you by giving your band the correct genre labels.
Don’t: Neglect those URLs
Your fans can find you on many different channels, neglecting to include them on SoundCloud, and those other social channels, can seriously hamper your goal of getting more SoundCloud plays. Include linking URLs to your SoundCloud from your website, blogs, in your artist bio for interviews, and anywhere else a link fits.
Don’t: Set it up and walk away
SoundCloud is not a radio station, it is a social media platform with music. A page that is regularly engaged with attracts more attention, and creates a community. Fans no longer have to feel connected to you through your lyrics, they can now literally connect with you!
There are over 250 million SoundCloud users, don’t ignore them by setting up a great account that you don’t pay attention to. You don’t have to log in every single day, once a week should be enough.
And now, as promised, here’s my current favorite track on SoundCloud: