SoundCloud Is Now Giving Artists One-On-One Access to Their Biggest Fans
SoundCloud is bringing music creators even closer to their biggest fans with a new product that gives artists access to granular user data and facilitates direct, one-on-one interaction with their most loyal listeners.
Dubbed simply “Fans” and now available on SoundCloud for Artists, the tool allows artists to tap into the platform’s proprietary data and sort their most engaged listeners based on factors like comments, listening behavior, sharing habits and location — and even identify who among their listeners are fellow artists. Using SoundCloud’s pre-existing messaging feature, they can also directly message individual fans to share previews of upcoming releases via private links; sell tickets and merch; and/or just say thanks. (SoundCloud notes there’s an opt-out option for users who don’t wish to be contacted by artists.)
Tracy Chan, svp of creator at SoundCloud, says there’s a special power in fans receiving direct acknowledgment from their favorite artists that can unlock “real revenue opportunities” for creators.
“[It’s] one thing to blast out, ‘Hey, come attend my concert or my show,’ but actually asking specific people, like, ‘Hey, I know you’re a super fan, will you come to my show?’ is a very kind of different way to ask,” Chan says. “You can imagine the possibilities of commerce that open up between artists and fans once the communication lines are open.”
Prior to Monday’s announcement, SoundCloud had been running a six-week test of the tool, which is currently in beta, with roughly 10,000 artists. Starting now, the platform is opening up the product to an additional 50,000 artists who are part of its premium Next Pro tier.
Chan describes the tool as “the next step” in SoundCloud’s fan-powered royalties payment system first unveiled in March 2021, which has since been opted into by both Warner Music Group and Merlin. Unlike the traditional pro-rata model, under which streaming services collect all subscriber revenue and then pay out earnings based on each rightsholder’s share of total streams, fan-powered royalties direct a portion of every listener’s subscription or advertising revenue to the rightsholders for the specific tracks they listen to. Some of the user data SoundCloud artists now have access to under the new tool derives from that fan-powered royalties system.
As part of the unveiling, SoundCloud noted several successful individual use cases among the 10,000 artists included in the previous phase of the tool’s beta period. These include Lil West, a hip-hop artist from Delaware who used the artist filtering tool on Fans to connect with fellow artists 100 gecs and nothing,nowhere., leading to collaborative track releases. After gaining access to the tool, Def Jam artist Armani White worked with SoundCloud and his label to set up a listening party/meet-and-greet with his top fans at SoundCloud’s Los Angeles office on Thursday.
Fans is the latest effort by SoundCloud to differentiate itself as a more artist-friendly alternative to rival streaming services. Chan frames the tool in opposition to the limited functionality offered by other major streamers along with ticketing and merch platforms, which don’t allow artists to identify their individual fans or connect with them one-on-one.
“When artists are like, ‘Cool, I want to go connect with my fans’ [on other streaming services] … they see lots of charts and graphs describing their audiences, but the platforms will not tell artists who their fans are…so that means you can’t market to them,” he says.
According to data provided by SoundCloud, the platform currently boasts more than 320 million tracks from over 40 million creators and operates in 193 countries.
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