Almost every active, relevant musician is using Soundcloud today. If you are not, you should be. The platform is a great way to cultivate a community, receiving feedback on your tracks as well as finding other people and musicians that are interested in similar styles of music. It’s straightforward, and very cheap to use (they have a reasonable free service and the most expensive membership option they offer is at a modest £8 p/m). It shouldn’t be overlooked by any musician expecting to make a name for himself.
That said, there are a number of mistakes that are frequently made by artists who use the site fervently. Simple as well as more complicated mistakes will be mentioned to help you avoid making them too, ensuring that you can use Soundcloud to its full potential.
Before we get into the mistakes, it is firstly important to remember those first impressions always last. You want to make sure that everyone visiting your Soundcloud profile is impressed immediately. It is crucial therefore that your page looks well-presented, professional and that any biographical information is coherent.
- Inconsistent URL Compared with Other Platforms:
The extension that your profile has on Soundcloud should be identical to the ones you have on other social media platforms. For example, if you’re using the URL www.facebook.com/mastermindpromotion, then the same /mastermindpromotion extension should be used on the Soundcloud account. This can be edited in your account settings, under “Basic Profile”.
- Absent Social Media Links:
The new generation has encouraged the rise of social media profiles. The majority of people, particularly the demographic of 15-25-year-olds, tend to look towards social media profiles when investigating an artist they have just discovered. It’s likely that you’ve come across a band or artist that you liked on Facebook, yet failed to find any links to other social media profiles in their “about” section. It is incredibly frustrating and negligent, yet the solution is so straightforward.
Soundcloud has integrated a function to add social media links to your profile, and even adds the correct thumbnail images to the links of larger sites. These can be personally edited. Sometimes less is more - people might be more encouraged to check out your links if you use 3 or 4 sites, rather than an excessive 10 - choose wisely.
- Basic Bio and Contact Information is Missing:
A common mistake that artists often make on Soundcloud is their failure to include basic biographical and contact information on their profile. The bio should be short [100-300 words] and to the point - written in the 3rd person often sounds most professional. Include information concerning who you are, what you do, labels you’re associated with and some achievements. Contact information should be clear and coherent.
- The Best, Most Representative Work isn’t Clearly Accessible or Labelled:
It is important that your SoundCloud profile clearly displays the best work most prominently. This is a simple issue of understanding how the formatting side of the website works. Time should be devoted to understanding how the website layout works, ensuring that the best work is what listeners come across first.
- Don’t Upload Everything:
It is widely understood that as a band or an artist, you have a couple of shots at impressing a potential listener. They’ll give two or three tracks a chance before making their decision and moving on. It’s essential that not everything is placed on your Soundcloud. The people that do move on won’t listen to all of it, and the people that like it have all of your music free to listen to! This is a disincentive for listeners to buy your music!
- Uploading half-baked, ‘work in progress’ tracks:
This depends on the genre you operate in. In the underground electronic scene, listeners are actually receptive of unfinished tracks as they appreciate the ‘rawness’ of certain sounds. However they are in a distinct minority. Outside of this niche world, the majority of consumers are only interested in polished, finished tracks. Therefore you need to be presenting potential listeners with the best tracks you have in order to give the best first impressions.
- Simple mislabeling:
Soundcloud provides the option of searching in a number of ways - by genre, by title, by artist. It is important that you utilise these features to their full effectiveness to ensure that people can easily find your music. Even YouTube doesn’t offer such a comprehensive way to find tracks, and therefore when using Soundcloud it is important to tag your music as accurately as possible. List the track name, artist name, and most accurate genre in every possible place.
- Not Using Your Account:
This is a common mistake. The majority of artists use the platform daily, but don’t bother to log into their own account, failing to interact with the material they like themselves. An engaged and lively account is much more likely to foster a community, and will also force you to get a true feel of the intricacies of the platform. Every time you use it, log in and “like” the tracks you enjoy to keep your profile buzzing.
- Don’t Spam:
The whole idea behind the comment system and the waveform players is that people would be able to leave precise and constructive feedback on their music. It’s supposed to add value, helping artists improve their music and to allow fans to praise what they are enjoying. There’s a community of people that use the platform who make comments along these lines:
“Great track! If you like this, I just made a new EP. Check it out!” This is not what the platform was designed for and the community is aware of this! Soundcloud users see this as spam, and it will be to your detriment if you use the platform in this way.
- Not Replying to All Comments:
This is one of the most overlooked, yet one of the most powerful ways to harness the community aspect of Soundcloud. If you reply to people’s feedback they are more likely to return to your profile as it displays genuine interest. Thus they will engage with your music more in the future. This is how you create superfans.
- Replying as a Bot Would:
Whilst replying to comments is important, it is also important to personalize your interaction. People are able to tell when you’re automating your replies or at least putting no effort or thought into the responses. This is better than not interacting at all, but if you personalize them, you will again be more likely to convert listeners into superfans due to the direct communication between artist and listener.