Music is like a Horcrux: you put a large part of your soul into it. That’s doubly true for indie artists who don’t have an agent, and they’re raw, exposed.
SoundCloud lets indie artists reach a pool of 76 million monthly users. But when you’re an indie artist, you take on many of the burdens of promotion yourself.
The internet is a fantastic platform for exposure, but the tricky part is discoverability. How can you stand out from the (literal) noise?
If we could have your attention for a moment, we’ll explain how to get more plays on SoundCloud.
Squeaky Clean Sound
To put this simply: Let fans see your art, not your workshop.
It’s easy to jump the gun as a creator and leave loose ends undone in the name of getting your song out there sooner.
But people do judge the book by the cover. If your presentation is sloppy and unprofessional, you’ll draw fewer listeners.
After you’ve done your track upload, clean up your track title names, scrub out the typos, and make sure your tracks are free of technical errors.
The book/cover situation doesn’t end there. Even when it comes to music, track artwork draws people in.
Dress your tracks up with cover art before you put them out there. It gives a personality to set them apart from the millions of blanks on SoundCloud.
“I’m an artist, not a sell-out!”
Time to drop that attitude now. Anyone you’ve ever heard of “sold out” in some fashion by marketing themselves, and it’s what artists do if they want anyone to ever experience their art.
If you don’t have marketing and self-promotion skills, now’s the time to fix that (by reading Promoly’s blog). You don’t have to go on an expert-level marketing course, but read up on the subject and how to get noticed on SoundCloud.
Most of all, shake the self-promotion embarrassment. Bigging yourself up is weird in day-to-day life, but for an artist, it’s the only way for people to discover and hear about you. If even a small pool of fans discover you, then it justifies the act of self-promotion.
Social It Up
The easiest way to get marketing is also free.
Making friends (“networking”, in fancy business-speak) is the fastest way to get heard. Forging links with the community means you can create feedback loops between you and other artists as you promo each other and reach a wider combined fanbase.
Making friends can also make you aware of exciting opportunities, like events where you can reach more fans.
How to get plays on SoundCloud? It’s all in the follows the likes and the shares.
When you take it outside SoundCloud, the same applies. Hit social platforms to drum up more fans, connections and make friends in the community. Social media is the most enormous promotional tool ever created — and it’s completely free.
If you want to go deeper, you can spend a little cash. Most social media platforms offer paid promotion through ads that they’ll show to relevant people. This can be a great way to expand your reach, but it can get costly for an indie artist.
Tag Your Tracks
Remember when we said discoverability was the root of the problem? Metadata provides part of the answer.
Take a look at Promoly’s Creative Cookbook podcast, which interviews Nick Sadler, embedded in the player below. If you click through to SoundCloud, you’ll see the tags. The interview is about music promotion and the music industry, which we have tagged appropriately.
Effective use of tags is all that separates some big names from the artists wallowing in obscurity. It’s not an instant path to success, but the artist who uses tags in the right way will beat the one who doesn’t, all else being equal.
One thing though, don’t spam tags but hit the significant features of your sound: the genre, a sub-genre, the mood it creates, instrumentation. Think about what you expect people to be looking for when they come to find your music.
Tools for the Job
What’s the best way to speed up a laborious job? Use the right tools.
It’s no different for promoting your music. There are stacks of promotion platforms and tools out there to help you automate your social media or keep your marketing organised. If there’s something about promoting your tracks you’d rather skip, there’s probably a tool out there to help you out.
Tools won’t take the hard work out of music promotion, but they can help you do more faster and squeeze extra juice from your marketing plan. Getting known will always be an uphill struggle, but climbing equipment will make it easier.
In Promoly, we have a ‘links campaigns’ tool, which generates a remarkable landing page to showcase your music.
We can automatically pull in your shop and stream links for you, which saves you a ton of work. Once the links campaign is ready, you can share your music online, over social media, or anywhere that makes sense, which over time will help grow your fan base.
Here’s a section snippet of a links campaign showcasing our podcast.
Big Data for Big Sounds
Don’t let the word “analytics” send you to sleep. Boring data might seem like the opposite of creating art, but it would amaze you to know how often they go hand in hand.
SoundCloud features its own analytics panel that you can access by signing up for SoundCloud Pro. It’ll cost you, but it’ll also give you insight into who’s listening and how your marketing efforts shape your target audience over time.
Use the analytics provided by your social media accounts for similar data. You don’t have to dive deep into the statistics, but you can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. And when it is working, do more of it!
Get Someone in Your Corner
So, you’re not making enough progress on your own, and you’re happy to pay a little more. Perhaps it’s time to work with a promo firm.
There’s a massive number of companies out there who will help you with marketing and PR for your art. This isn’t like working with a traditional label, and they won’t own the rights to your music or anything like that.
Instead, you’ll pay them a fee, and they’ll take on some of the things we’ve already discussed — and more. They’ll make it their mission to get you out there.
With a promo firm, you’ll probably achieve results you couldn’t have alone. The trade-off is the cost. You’ll need deep pockets to make the most of this kind of service.
How to Get More Plays on SoundCloud the Easy Way
If you’ve been wondering how to get more plays on SoundCloud, these tips will help bring some new ears to your music.
The best part is that this becomes easier over time. As you develop fans, they’ll become ambassadors for your music, and the whole thing will snowball.
Looking for more info on how to promote your music? Make sure to follow our blog.