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
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
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
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.