soundcloud for artists

Spotify for Artists; Apple Music for Artists; Amazon Music for Artists… and now SoundCloud for Artists. It’s fair to say there’s a template for naming your dashboard and tools for musicians in the streaming era.

For SoundCloud this is part rebrand, part streamlining of its creator tools, under the wing of its new SVP, creator Tracy Chan, formerly head of music at Twitch and  before that product director at Spotify, where his role included working on the launch of Spotify for Artists.

SoundCloud’s version brings together its monetisation, distribution, analytics and promotional tools into one dashboard, with new names for its three tiers of subscription for artists and other audio creators.

Next is the free, basic tier allowing up to three hours of uploads; Next Plus starts at $2.50 a month and bundles in distribution to other streaming services (and payouts) as well as promo tools and collaborator splits; and the $7.50-a-month Next Pro is the top tier, with unlimited uploads and more tools.

Chan announced the changes with an added dash of Big Vision Rhetoric: “We believe that what’s next isn’t determined by algorithms and gatekeepers, but that the true path toward a long and successful career is best achieved by cultivating deep fan relationships and community…”

To some extent, tidying up SoundCloud’s creator-facing brands and subscriptions is the easy part of Chan’s new job. The longer-term challenge will be to push on with new tools and services that build on SoundCloud’s culture, and set it apart from the big, global streaming services – all of whom are investing heavily in this side of their platforms too.

Becoming the first big DSP to adopt user-centric payouts – initially with DIY artists before persuading Warner Music Group to sign up – was a bold move signifying SoundCloud’s intentions to steal a march on those rivals. Repositioning itself as a distributor as well as a streaming service was another. SoundCloud must now keep up the momentum with more of those moves.

In his blog post, Chan claimed that SoundCloud has “the world’s largest community of music creators, 40M strong” – a stat surely dropped with an eye on Spotify’s claim that it had 11 million music and podcast creators combined at the end of 2021.

Such a large community (even if half of them aren’t actually being listened to, as was the case on SoundCloud in 2020 by its own admission) should give the company a firm base to take risks, and in turn make waves in the wider streaming world. But these are tough economic times for companies in the creator economy, so the challenge should not be underestimated.

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