SoundCloud’s CEO recently revealed that out of 25 million creators, 13 million don’t get a single play each month – let’s talk about how to remedy it.
Getting listeners is hard, trust me – we know all about it at RouteNote. But we also know just how possible it is to build a fanbase, gain listeners and even make a whole career out of your music online. With a bit of dedication and some careful attention you don’t need to be part of the SoundCloud 52%.
Here are some tips from what we’ve learned over the years seeing artists make and break their music online.
One of the single most important things to earning a dedicated fanbase online is having a formidable online presence. I’m talking social media pages, biographies explaining you as an artist, making sure your music is available however people want to hear it.
The more you exist online the more likely it is that people will find you. And, once they’ve found you then they can stick around to follow your releases and movements.
When someone hears a song they like and tries to find more on the artist; if they find little to nothing they’ll lose interest, but if they find a Facebook page they can like, a SoundCloud profile they can follow, a YouTube channel they can subscribe to, etc. then they will have an immediate point of entry to find out more and stick around for the future.
Make sure you aren’t just there, but that you care. Connect through platforms with your fans. Provide regular updates to boost engagement and keep people aware of you. Make sure that your profiles represent you in image and writing so people know what you’re all about.
This may seem obvious, but upload your music. I imagine many of the SoundCloud profiles not seeing any life haven’t uploaded in a long time. Unfortunately people lose interest quickly, you want to be making and releasing music if you want people to keep listening to you and discovering you.
Now, I’m not saying that you should rush your art or create for the sake of it, nor am I saying that you should upload just anything you make. But too many artists release a single and then go quiet for a year and immediately lose any trajectory they had.
It can be hard to find time to create and polish tracks, inspiration doesn’t always find us, and we’re not always completely happy with something to go live. But pushing yourself as much as you can to create and release music you’re proud of into the world is vital to making it as an artist and building a fanbase.
There are plenty of ways to promote your music. Of course there are paid options like advertisements but they aren’t necessarily connecting with people, just putting your music in front of them.
Getting creative with promoting can do so much for you. Connect with existing fans by doing things like leaking snippets of new tracks, showing a production diary following you through the creation, share, share, share, share!
Find new fans through promotions on social media – for example, ‘Share this post to be in with a chance of winning a T-Shirt’. It may seem cheesy but it’s a great way for existing fans to take part in something they enjoy and puts your music in front of all of their friends who could become new fans.
Send your music to playlist influencers and your local radio DJs. Talk to labels and see if they’d be interested in promoting your music. Put yourself out there to find places where your music can be put in front of brand new audiences who are the perfect fit for what you’re making.
Get creative and personal with it. Think about unique ways you can promote and share your music. The more interesting and different your approach the more likely people are going to have their attention caught by it.
I’ve mentioned connecting a few times through this article but that’s because it really is important. Connecting through your music but also through yourself as a person is the number one thing you can do for many reasons.
Connecting with your fans or potential listeners in different ways creates a genuine relationship which solidifies a value between the two of you. When an audience feels valued and recognised they are far more likely to stick with you.
Connect with other artists, whether it’s online or in your area. A lot of music is based in community and finding artists in the realm of whatever you’re doing is great not only because it inspires you but it opens up opportunities. You can promote each other to your similar fanbases, make new connections, go on tours together. Your peers are important, especially if they are your friends.
Connect with everyone! Labels, influencers, services, gig promoters, venue owners, artists, listeners, DJs – you never know who will help you take your music to another level. The only way people are going to listen to your music is if they’re aware of it and each person in your community multiplies your chances of being heard.