With a community of over 175 million listeners and passionate artists, SoundCloud needs no introduction.
Whether you’re trying to get noticed or connect with other musicians, this platform is one of the best ways to grow your audience.
Here, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of how to promote your music on SoundCloud. Get your account set up, get new listeners and build your network using this guide.
Get your SoundCloud account set up
Choose your account type
There are two types of SoundCloud accounts: Basic and Pro Unlimited. All three allow you to listen to unlimited music for free. Where they differ is in the number of tracks you can upload, the SoundCloud promotion service features, and the analytics you have access to.
With a Basic account, you can upload up to 3 hours of music for free. You’ll also have access to basic stats, including the number of plays, likes, comments, shares, and downloads, and access to one of two basic embed player styles.
On the other hand, a Pro Unlimited account allows you to upload unlimited tracks. There are also a ton of additional features, like the ability to schedule releases and upload an updated track without losing stats.
If you want to learn more about your fans, Pro Unlimited provides access to detailed analytics, including your listeners’ location and which website they played your music from. With these insights, you can figure out where your fans are based and which blogs or social media channels are working best to help promote your tracks.
There’s no downside to starting out with a Basic account to test the waters before diving in. However, if you’re serious about your goal to promote music on SoundCloud, it’s definitely worth investing the US$12 a month for a Pro Unlimited account.
Make a great first impression with your profile
Your profile represents you as an artist, so it’s worth it to take the time to get this right. Luckily, you don’t need to be a tech whiz to create a standout profile. You just need to get your profile pic, header image, and social media links right.
Unless the Sia or deadmau5 look is part of your artist persona, use an actual shot of you as your profile pic. This puts a face to your artist name, and listeners will start to recognize you over time.
Ideally, your SoundCloud profile pic should be the same one you use on other promotional platforms (like your Instagram or Spotify artist profile). This way, fans can quickly recognize you, no matter where they find your music.
If you’re dying to showcase your creativity, don’t worry. You can do this with your header image. Upload a shot of your new album cover art to promote your latest tracks, or simply pick an image that represents you as an artist.
Lastly, make sure your social media links are up to date. SoundCloud lets you add profile links to whatever your heart desires, so use this to direct listeners to your website, merch page, or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube profiles.
Looking to get on Spotify the right way? Check out our free ultimate guide.
Organic SoundCloud promotion 101
There are plenty of ways to get discovered and engage with fans on SoundCloud, from tagging your tracks so they come up in searches to using your waveform to tell a story about your music.
Keep in mind that there’s no SoundCloud paid promotion service, and the platform considers services of this kind as unauthorized advertising. In other words, when it comes to how to promote your music on SoundCloud, it’s all about organic SoundCloud promotion.
Here are some tips to help you get heard:
Album art matters
When you or a listener share music or embed a player onto another website, SoundCloud automatically attaches your album cover art, like this Tumblr example:
This means in a lot of cases, your cover art is the first thing a new listener sees. It quickly becomes associated with your music, and who you are as an artist.
If you have a standout piece of cover art, it might pique your listeners’ interest. They might click on your cover art to learn more about your music, winning you new followers in the process.
Because of this, it’s important to take the time to nail your album cover. At the very least, your art should fit SoundCloud’s minimum image dimensions: It should be a JPG/PNG format measuring at least 800px by 800px.
While you can go at it alone, this could be the perfect time to invest in some professional help to create some cover art that stands out. We’ll have an article soon on designing your own album cover, so make sure to subscribe to our mailing list for updates.
Use your waveform to tell a story
Whether it’s a new riff you’re experimenting with or a particularly poignant lyric, there’s always a story behind your music. SoundCloud allows you to share that story by commenting on your track’s waveform.
This is the perfect opportunity to let listeners know a little bit more about the song. Did you sample parts of a different song? Who inspired your lyrics? Drop a note with more information into your waveform. Waveform comments give your music a personal touch and helps your listeners feel more connected with you.
Another opportunity to engage with your fans is by directly asking for their feedback. Like you, listeners also have the ability to comment on your track, and they love to give their opinion. If you’re not sure about a part of the melody or want some feedback on a draft, pop that question to listeners on your waveform.
Tag your tracks for organic SoundCloud promotion
Music fans love discovering new music on SoundCloud. The best way to acquire new listeners is to make sure you’re there when they’re searching for your type of music.
SoundCloud’s search works using keywords, like “rock”, “indie”, “summer”, “running” or “155bpm”. If you tag your music right, you have a better chance of your tracks showing up in a SoundCloud search.
It’s tempting to throw in as many tags as possible, but the key here is to be strategic and consistent. Stick to one or two genres that best describe your music, and add in extra keywords like the vibe of your track (i.e. #summerfeels), your artist location (i.e. #atlantadj), and more. It’s one of the best methods when it comes to how to promote your music on SoundCloud.
Remember to throw in tags like #newmusic and #newartist, and cross-promote your tracks by tagging other collaborators or musicians that inspired you. If you’re stuck, take a look at similar artists for inspiration and see how they’re tagging their tracks.
Add a ‘buy now’ link
It’s one thing to rack up new followers, but that doesn’t pay the bills. Luckily, there’s a SoundCloud promotion service where you can link your track to platforms where you do sell it.
Simply hop on to the Metadata tab on your track via the edit page (just click on that little pencil below your waveform). You’ll see an option to add a “Buy link” to your iTunes, Beatport or Bandcamp, like so:
If you’d rather direct listeners somewhere else, that’s possible as well. Simply change the name of your Buy link title.
For example, you could link to your Spotify account and change the link’s title to “Stream” to get more streams and increase your royalty earnings. Alternatively, change the link title to “donate” and direct fans to your Patreon or Indiegogo.
Share your music on social media
Hyping your music via social media is a must if you’re looking to promote your music on SoundCloud.
The platform makes this easy for you and your followers to post your music directly to social media, such as Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. Once you’ve posted these, you could even sponsor the post as a form of SoundCloud paid promotion, reaching more listeners in the process.
Don’t forget to add extra hashtags onto your social media posts so your music reaches more people on these platforms, and @any bloggers who may be interested in your tracks.
SoundCloud also has a nifty feature called timestamping, where you can set a track to start playing from a specific part of the song. Use this to engage with your followers: share your favorite part of the track, or ask for feedback on a specific part.
Unfortunately, SoundCloud doesn’t allow you to post tracks directly to Instagram. However, simply include a link on your profile to your SoundCloud account so listeners know where to go, and ask others to do the same if they’re featuring you or you’re doing a SoundCloud repost promotion.
Building your SoundCloud network
Getting involved in SoundCloud’s thriving community is a must if you’re looking to appear on the radar of well-known musicians, and gather feedback to improve as a musician.
Take advantage of SoundCloud’s extensive features to build your network and connect with artists from around the world.
Follow other musicians
Give, and you shall receive. The best way to get on the radar of other musicians is to follow them, and actively demonstrate a genuine interest in their music.
Spend some time following musicians you love and respect on SoundCloud. Don’t just stick to people you already know. Look around for other local artists from your area, or up and coming indie musicians who create music similar to yours.
Once you’ve hit the “follow” button, start engaging with your fellow artists. Comment on their waveforms with feedback and share any tracks you’re digging on social media. Remember to keep an eye on their replies, as well as comments on your own tracks or inbox, and respond to any messages you receive.
On top of commenting and sharing their music, this is also an opportunity to raise your profile on SoundCloud through collaborations. If you gel with a particular artist, invite them to work together on a track and cross-promote it to get more listeners.
Share tracks privately
Want to get feedback on music, or drum up some PR in the lead up to a new launch? SoundCloud’s private link sharing function is a great way to do it.
SoundCloud allows you to set a track to private and share the link with a select few, without having to publish it to the world. This means that only those who have the link will be able to access the track.
Sharing a private track in the platform is easy. When you upload your track, simply set the track to private and use the private sharing link SoundCloud gives you.
Take advantage of this feature to reach out to radio stations and labels with a demo in the hopes of getting an exclusive play.
You can also give bloggers and music sites access to an album before it drops, so their review is ready to go live on your launch day.
The greatest thing about private link sharing is that you can make it time-sensitive. All you need to do is reset the link, and your previous private link won’t work anymore.
Host (or get involved in) competitions
SoundCloud competitions are a fun way to engage with your current followers and get discovered by a whole new audience.
There are two ways to go about remix competitions: hosting and entering.
Host a remix competition and ask other artists to remix your latest track for the chance to win a prize. (It can be something simple, like a gift certificate or a piece of your merchandise.) Entrants are likely to do a SoundCloud repost promotion of their remix with their community on social media to drum up more listens in the hopes of winning. In the process, this gets your music out there to new ears.
Similarly, keep an eye out for any competitions that you could get involved in. Artists such as Hans Zimmer and Bloc Party, radio stations, and record labels have been known to run songwriting and remix competitions to find hot new talent. Winning one of these can instantly lift your profile and, in the best case, land you with a record deal.
Wrapping up on how to promote your music on SoundCloud
SoundCloud is unlike any other music streaming platform out there. It’s a community for you to reach new listeners to promote your tracks. However, it’s so much more: SoundCloud connects you to other like-minded artists, and helps you grow as a musician.
By understanding how to promote your music on SoundCloud, taking advantage of all the platform’s great features and using social media to spread the word, you can lift your music career up to the clouds.