The music industry has a dirty secret. The promise of the music streaming business model is that as an artist, you can get your music to the world and build a fanbase. And with that fanbase, you can make money selling your fans tickets, merch, and music and make a comfortable living from your art.
But here’s the thing…that promise is empty. Streaming isn’t working for the vast majority of artists. Why? Because streaming services won’t tell you who your fans are. Instead, they run business models built on selling you access to your fans. And the streaming services aren’t alone – ticketing and merch platforms won’t tell you who your fans are, either.
The dirty secret of the music industry is that these platforms expect you to give them content and sales to fuel their bottom lines, but they refuse to tell you who is listening to your songs (or buying your tickets and merch). Promises made, promises broken.
At SoundCloud, we believe that artists should have direct access to their fans. Our company was founded and built on helping artists share and connect through music. And, let's face it: building a fanbase (and being able to activate those fans when you need to) is the only real way to make music your livelihood.
That’s why we’re launching a new product we’re calling 'Fans' (currently in beta) on SoundCloud for Artists. The Fans product helps artists discover their most valuable fans on SoundCloud, tapping into a combination of proprietary data from Fan Powered Royalties, engagement data, and user reach. You’ll even be able to sort your most engaged fans based on indicators like comments, listening behavior, sharing habits and more.
Just knowing who your fans are isn’t always enough. That’s why we’re also allowing you to message those fans easily and directly. Say thanks, share previews of upcoming releases, sell tickets and merch, or just open up the opportunity to chat. Regardless of where you are in your career, you can bring your fans in on the journey – and let them help you succeed.
Starting today, we’ll be expanding Fans beta availability to more than 50K Next Pro artists. We’re still building and this is just the start, so stay tuned for future updates. In the meantime, we’ve been piloting Fans with a handful of artists, and the response has been awesome:
- Armani White and his team used the Fans product to DM his most engaged fans with a personal invite to a special ‘Game Night' listening party at the LA SoundCloud office for his new EP, ‘Road to Casablanco’. Armani interacted with his top fans from beginning to end: taking pictures, talking to them, dancing with them, and performing some new tracks to build some momentum before his album drops later this year.
“It’s taking all this digital data…all these numbers are humans and it’s turning them back into humans again...where SoundCloud always wins as opposed to any other streaming platform is the community,” said Armani.
- Dot Cromwell, a hip hop artist from Philly, has been using Fans to message his superfans: thanking them for their support, sharing private links to unreleased tracks, and getting to know them. In return, these superfans are streaming and commenting on his songs more, which means more money in his pocket since he’s on our Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) model.
“I've noticed that simply engaging in a conversation with [fans] led to restreaming of their favorite songs and engagement on new songs. One listener streamed 58 times since we spoke,” said Dot.
- Kinneret, an alternative indie artist from New York, used Fans to set up in-person meet and greets with her biggest fans. She knows how important they are, and how much they support her.
- Jordan Hawkins, an R&B/Soul artist from LA, has been using the 1:1 messaging tool in Fans to promote shows, build relationships, and drop new music to fans directly. For Jordan, being able to easily connect with individual fans 1:1 changed the game.
“People drop snippets on IG and Twitter all the time, but the ability to have this personalization makes a big difference,” said Jordan.
- LIL WEST, a hip-hop/rap artist from Delaware, uses Fans to see which artists were in his fans list. He DM’d with 100 gecs and nothing,nowhere., which led to collaborative track releases.
With Fans, you don’t need to wait for a lucky break to find your fanbase. When you have the ability to identify and reach your biggest fans from day one, the possibilities are limitless…and we can’t wait to see what you do with Fans next.