Author Archives: Jane

Jane Creators talking shop: indie in the digital age

POP ETC

Photo credit: Alex Welsh

Chris Chu, Jonathan Chu and Julian Harmon originally formed indie rock band POP ETC as The Morning Benders in Berkeley, CA in 2005. They’re now based in Brooklyn.

We asked Chris Chu, lead singer of the band, about the evolution of their musicianship over the 10 years and how tools like SoundCloud have enabled them to continue growing fan base.

 

 

How does SoundCloud let you to share your music with old fans who knew you as The Morning Benders and today, as POP ETC?

It’s the easiest and quickest way to get music to people directly. It’s really important to us to have as close a relationship with our fans as possible, and it helps us cultivate that.

 

How has SoundCloud allowed you to change and grow, both from a business perspective and an creative one?

It’s given us a lot of freedom to just make more music. We frequently put up alternate versions of songs on SoundCloud because it’s a fast moving platform that allows for that, and people go to it seeking that.  

 

How does your fan base support your releases on SoundCloud?

The feedback is really great. People really like the site and as a result they like to share songs from it, which helps bands like us a lot.

 

Has your sound changed over the years? If so, how? As you all grow as individuals, how do you process the changes that come about when creating together?

Yes, it’s changed a lot! It’s pretty important for us to always try something new. Listening to our music over the years, I think that’s pretty easy to hear. We’re always changing and trying new things as individuals and as a band. If we aren’t doing something that is exciting to all three of us, I think people will be able to hear and feel that. We never want that to happen.

 

How do you think the way people consume music is changing compared to how maybe you’ve grown up with it?

It seems people listen to more artists, but for less time. I grew up buying vinyl and CDs and listening to full albums. People listen more to single songs now. We’ll see that reflected in our SoundCloud numbers, people will replay a song hundreds of times… which is AWESOME.

 

What changes do you predict for the future of the music business?

Oh I have no idea anymore. As long as there is good music out there, and there always will be, people will be buying music, in some shape or form, and supporting artists.

 

How has SoundCloud played a role in your career?

It’s hard to quantify, but I know that A LOT of people have heard us through SoundCloud. Its definitely had a big impact.

 

What are your next goals and steps that we should look forward to in the coming months?

We have our new album Souvenir coming out on the 29th. We’ll be touring a bunch around the release and into this year, and we’ll definitely continue making new music.

 

Any tips for creators just getting started?

Just make whatever you want. If it’s heartfelt, people will gravitate towards what you are doing.

 

Jane Creators talking shop: name change

In an era where instant communication is the norm, the Internet has enabled creators to easily share their work and build an audience. It has also enabled creators to widely share the moves and milestones they make in their careers, even more personal ones.

Throughout music history, artists from Prince to Puff Daddy have changed the names they use to create and publish new music, but have had limited ability to announce these changes to a global audience. Today, artists have greater ability to broadcast these personal moments in their careers through the Internet, allowing fans to easily adapt and continue their support.

That’s exactly what Mark Redito did, “premiering” his new name through the release of a new song on SoundCloud.

Mark Redito, formerly known as Spazzkid, is a long-time SoundCloud creator who joined the platform more than six years ago. Mark is also part of our On SoundCloud Premier program.

With SoundCloud being Mark’s primary home to release music and connect with fans, it was important for him to ensure that his fans could still easily find his profile and his music, even if his name changed. SoundCloud’s Community team was able to help make the swap of his profile URL easily so all of his content, from tracks to stats, stayed intact. Learn more about changing a name on SoundCloud here.

We chatted directly with Mark about why he changed his name and how SoundCloud continues to be part of his story of growth below.

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Why did you decide to change your artist name?

I felt uncomfortable using the word “spaz” in my artist name once I found out that it has derogatory meanings. I don’t want my music and my art to be represented by a hurtful word. Also, I have been using the name “Spazzkid” for close to 10 years now. I’ve grown so much as an artist in the past two years and I’ve felt disconnected from the moniker.

 

Why now?

I wanted it sooner but the logistics of going through a name change as an emerging artist is huge. We knew we wanted to change the name a year back, so we got the ball rolling as soon as we decided. With the upcoming single releases, we thought, “it’s going to be a great opportunity to change my name together with new releases.” The new song(s) have such a different sound; still sounds like me but hopefully much more mature.

 

How did you communicate the name change?

I have been talking about the name change within my close circles and they saw that coming. I sent a letter to all my friends who are music writers and journalists regarding the name change a few days before announcing it through my social media. I am very active in social media and it makes sense that I make the announcement there.

 

How has the reaction been from your fans?

It was such an outpour of support and love! I’m very grateful for such loving fans and supporters!

 

Will the music or sound you have change accordingly as well?

Regardless of the name change, I am somebody who always wants to pursue new sounds and aesthetics. Hopefully the upcoming music would still be relatable and also feel like a progression from my old material.

 

How has SoundCloud helped you grow as an artist, especially in this time period of transition for you?

It is a reliable platform to share my music! It’s also such a great platform to connect with fans, peers and collaborators. Sharing my music through SoundCloud has led to so many opportunities to further my career as a musician. The process of transition has been very smooth. The tech support was really swift in assisting in the changeover.

 

What is the weirdest or most interesting that’s happened to you on SoundCloud?

Not really weird but it’s funny that three out of five messages I get everyday on SoundCloud are from beauty vloggers asking permission for music usage on their videos.

 

Any notable stats you’d like to share with us?

I am ecstatic that I am now reaching 43k! I remember two years ago when I was happy with having 1k followers! This is such a huge thing for me and I’m very grateful! I’m also very excited that all these people who I look up to are now following me on SoundCloud: Giraffage, Daedelus, Djemba Djemba, Starslinger, among others.

 

Are you a creator who has also changed your artist name? Share your experience or thoughts with us in the comments below.

Jane Three music career tips we learned at the SoundCloud Artist Forum

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Last Thursday in Los Angeles, we hosted our first SoundCloud Artist Forum.

So, what’s an artist forum? And why have one?

Our main goal was to bring members of the SoundCloud team, local creators, managers and others in the industry together in one space to connect with and learn from each other. In addition to sharing our story, we heard direct feedback from artists and managers about their experiences of and ideas for the future of SoundCloud.

We also got the opportunity to learn a few valuable tips for jumpstarting and building a career on SoundCloud from some of the creators and industry insiders who use our platform most:

 

1. Build and grow:

Use SoundCloud to establish your creative identity and have authentic interactions with fans.

“Not being pigeonholed or typecast means that you can grow as an artist.” – Asher Roth

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While SoundCloud’s main purpose is to make it easy for you to share all your work in one place, it’s also an opportunity to build your identity with your followers. When creating the product, we think a lot about allowing you to fully express who you are. Hip hop artist Asher Roth recommends you make use of that aspect of the platform.

In his Q&A session, we asked how he evolved and rebranded himself after moving from a major label to an independent artist. He focused on using SoundCloud as a tool to express true creativity.

“Using SoundCloud allows you to introduce yourself as a person through your music rather than as a product…SoundCloud brings people from all walks of life connected by a tune. SoundCloud allows you to have authentic conversations with your fans. You can watch people find their voice on SoundCloud. Not being pigeonholed or typecast means that you can grow as an artist.

SoundCloud helps you stay relevant – you can have a genuine connection with your fan base and see their immediate reactions to your work. It doesn’t rush things, means you can organically cultivate yourself and your expression as an artist.”

 

2. Give and take:

Ask for feedback and return the favor.

“I found a majority of my producers through SoundCloud.” – King avriel

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We learned so much from sharing more about our vision and growth with the artists and managers who were present at the Forum. Hearing direct feedback was a reminder that we need to continue to keep our channels open so we can grow together. Your ideas help us build a better product and, in turn, a greater community.

Having active conversations within our usual communities is important, but it’s also important to have broader conversations with each other. SoundCloud enables artists to share work and receive and provide meaningful feedback from their immediate circles and beyond. There is a mutual benefit when feedback is given and received.

R&B singer King avriel noted that communicating with a wider network on SoundCloud helps to spark new opportunities.

“I found a majority of my producers through SoundCloud. They were mostly obscure producers that people would point me in the direction to. They told me, ‘Even if they had 50 or 100 followers, you should check them out.’ I did, liked their work, it was easy to communicate with them, and next thing I knew, I was flying across the country to do a session with them.”

 

3. Stats and crafts:

Sure, track your progress, but most importantly, hone your skills.

Numbers aren’t everything; continuing to reach new potential fans is.” – Brice Omesher

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At the Forum, we shared some compelling numbers about our growth as a global platform (for example, SoundCloud now has more than 100M tracks available and 175 million unique users on a monthly basis). As a company, we check our stats a lot. Creators building new audiences and new careers should too. After all, the stats functionality on SoundCloud is here to help you grow your career.

That said, artist manager Brice Omesher, who manages artists like Sweater Beats and Falcons, said that while he believes stats are important, staying focused on improving your craft and connecting with new fans is truly the key.

“Numbers aren’t everything; continuing to reach new potential fans is. Asher Roth has sold hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of records over his career. However, having done the mainstream and major label route, SoundCloud has offered him a new avenue to reach fans that may have never been interested in the previous channels. For some this may not be the end goal, but it is an important area for any and all artists looking to maintain growth and SoundCloud enables this.”

The opportunity to come together in one place for Artist Forums allows us to share and hear how you all fit into the vision of SoundCloud. The artist community is an integral part of our vision and the future, despite the challenges we face to get to where we want to go.  

We hope to do more of these forums in the future in different locations. Have ideas about where we should hold the next Artist Forum and what it should cover? Let us know.