SoundCloud: Why I no longer subscribe
Firstly, this is not an “I hate SoundCloud” rant. I think SoundCloud provides a way for people to listen to artists, who choose to make their music available on-line.
If I had a big audience on SoundCloud, perhaps I would care more? But, I think I have few listeners despite SoundCloud.
I signed-up for a free ‘Lite’ account in 2012, and by October 2013 I had upgraded to a 12-month ‘Pro’ plan which costs around £26 per year because a paid subscription gives a subscriber: –
- Increased hosting space;
- Distribution of tracks to “more user groups”;
- Thoroughly tracks the statistics of each track.
- So, with this in mind, what do you actually get for your money?
- ‘Quiet’ Mode: only visible to you and no one else, unless you share the URL;
- ‘Spotlight’: Your best five songs in a playlist at the top of your track upload listing;
- The Spotlight feature; Highlights your best tracks first;
- Share tracks: to more user groups;
- Who is playing your sounds, and where (which country) they’re from;
- Extra statistics: could be interesting?
- A ‘star’ icon also appears next to your name.
What more could you want?
Soundcloud: “Track the stats”
Here are my statistics for twelve months between October 1st, 2013 and September 30th, 2014.
1,400 plays of my eight uploaded tracks. I can tell you’re impressed! I had a free ‘Lite’ account the year before, and I gained 1,000 plays, which is not significantly different.
A synthpop track I produced called ‘The Way I Feel (about you)‘ has 541 plays in the period or 1-2 plays per day on average.
There are individual tracks on ‘SoundCloud’ which have 10,000 and sometimes 100,000+ plays!
What counts as a play? and how much of the track do you have to get through for it to count?
I did some tests as a not-logged-into-SoundCloud user and found if you press the “play” button, and let it play for less than 5-seconds and press stop, this counts as a “play”.
But how many of my 541/221/190 are “real” plays?
How many start playing, hate it and stop? I can’t tell. I am going to bet on “a large number” of them.
The main reasons for not renewing my Soundcloud subscription
- Most of the tracks returned towards the top of the global ‘Search’ results lists were posted two or three years ago. The artists were not subscribers and had not posted any newer material since.
- Any account not accessed within 12-months should be restricted or closed.
- I don’t like the way ‘SoundCloud’ curates audio content using an internal algorithm called ‘DiscoRank’. Subscribers should be ranked alongside artists with record label or mass media support.
- Almost all of the big selling artists, who host their tracks on ‘SoundCloud’, do not pay for a ‘Pro’ subscription. It’s easy to tell because most of them do not have a ‘Pro’ Star icon on their profile.
- The statistics about how long tracks are ‘Played’ are not detailed enough. It would be better if the analysis was split into blocks; for example, 30-seconds; 1 to 2 minutes; 2 to 3 minutes or longer.
SoundCloud: What is “Discorank”?
SoundCloud says It’s all about creating a Buzz!
“Think of DiscoRank as the equivalent of a supporting act at a gig. The opening band gets more attention by performing alongside a more popular band.
For example, a less well-known artist’s visibility and DiscoRank on SoundCloud are both boosted when a popular creator on SoundCloud shows support by: –
- Making a track their ‘favorite’;
- Re-posting a track;
- Following the lesser known artist.
The key is promotion;
- Internally: through your own website (with embed ‘SoundCloud’ widgets).
- Externally: Soundcloud factors in hype; ‘DiscoRank’ uses linking and keyword content elements used by Google’s Page Rank.
- Also, re-posting, favourites, follows, and inbound links from social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr is equally important.
Soundcloud: Optimize your metadata
Here are three tips if you want your latest tracks to be searchable in Explore: –
- Always tag your tracks consistently and provide genre and sub-genre information, because if you don’t, your track will not appear in Explore.
- Spell check your metadata, because If your track’s title differs slightly or completely from the one on your album or website, people searching for it will not be able to find it.
- Promote your track straightaway and not several days or weeks later, because only recent ‘trending’ tracks make it to Explore.
SoundCloud advise, “If you build up your on-line community patiently, share and re-post others’ tracks and mixes, then you’ll build up kudos”.
The last word
Meanwhile, your on-line identity as a musician isn’t just about one or two bases (e.g. Facebook page or a website).
Maximise reach by building a social media following: –
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Bandcamp.
A Facebook page is easy to set up, but don’t think you don’t need your own website because it offers greater control over the way you present your music.
Secondly, make sure you link back your social media profiles to your own website and vice versa.
Finally, good luck with your music! and it’s promotion.
InfinityBass.com | by Simon Edward | October 28th, 2014.