Top 3 SoundCloud Tips

Before I discovered SoundCloud I used to email an mp3 of my latest song around to a group of friends I’d deemed my “critics’ circle” – it was a nice way to take my creations to a small audience who’d expressed an interest in what I was doing. Then I discovered SoundCloud and it was easier to simply send them a link. Then the lure of getting my music to a wider audience started to take hold…

I’m not really sure why I want to expand my audience – I don’t have any aspirations for a musical career off the back of what I’m doing: I’d still be doing it even if I was the only one who ever heard my tracks. But then you realize that having a complete stranger listen to something you’ve created is incredibly satisfying (if they like it!) and validates your own limited confidence in your ability to create music. I think this second point is really valuable. The old “I’m not good enough to have people listen to me”/”I’ve got a terrible voice”/”I can’t play” excuses lie within all of us, but services like SoundCloud help you realize that you CAN put yourself out there, and even show that there are people worse than you doing it!! It reminds me of when I first decided to run a marathon. I’d trained and trained but never bitten the bullet and entered a race – then I went and watched the Sydney Marathon in 2000. It was the pre-Olympic test event and would have been an awesome race to do, finishing in the Olympic stadium and all. As I watched people with a fraction of the fitness (and indeed twice my weight) trundling past me I was embarrassed that I’d so readily found an excuse not to run, when I clearly would have been fine and had a great time.

So now that I’ve crossed the first hurdle and become comfortable putting myself “out there” I’ve been developing an interest in expanding my audience even further.  At this point my tracks have still only been played a little over 250 times on SoundCloud and I’ve only got a small group of “followers”. So I’ve done the obvious: Google “how do I get my tracks listened to on Soundcloud?”

The answers are pretty obvious and there’s a common thread running through all of the posts that people have put up – and here are the three key ones. Sure there are lots more, especially for people who are really trying to become professional, but for you’ve average amateur muso it’s as simple as this.

1. Listen to other people; follow them; make comments

It’s pretty obvious in the “do unto others…” kind of approach. And just as you’d appreciated considered comments, don’t just randomly follow anyone – actually spend the time to discover music you like. I’ve been amazed at some of the great tracks and artists I’ve started finding. The second part of this is to make sure you reply to any comments you receive – this is meant to be social after all. There’s also a school of thought that says you should automatically follow someone who follows you – I’m still considering this as it feels a bit like social networking at it’s worst (where it becomes a numbers game rather than genuine connections), but I’ll probably follow suit unless the person following me feels like a spammer.

2. Join groups

Again, find groups that fit your music (you’ll have to listen to a few tracks to get a good feel, but you’ll probably discover some cool stuff along the way). Apparently moderated groups make this process a lot better and help you avoid spam like connections and loosely themed groups.

3. Use the tools available to identify yourself and your music

Make sure you have a clear and detailed profile; use a nice avatar; have good images with your tracks; share your tracks outside of SoundCloud; use extensive tagging on your tracks to aid discovery. All this seems obvious, but the number of people who don’t do these basics is amazing. At least present a professional approach!

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