Late last year Soundcloud finally made their “Next” iteration live for all. Among the various feature improvements was a more Twitter-like following setup, wherein it was made much easier to follow artists on there. Something else I really liked was the Repost function, akin to retweeting, where you could repost someone else’s track or set to your own followers. For labels, this is a godsend: it means you can post a track to the artist’s account, but repost it to your own followers. Similarly global licensees can do the same.
What I’ve really noticed though is just how much Next Soundcloud has led to a surge in follower numbers – and in some cases how drastic those numbers are when compared to other social networks. Don’t believe me? Check out the rate at which SBTRKT gained new fans when the new version of Soundcloud went live (click for larger version of the image – graphs taken from MusicMetric):
Now look at how SBTRKT’s total fan numbers have grown in just the last month – Soundcloud has come out of nowhere and if it continues at this pace will soon beat Facebook:
Its worth noting too that SBTRKT is relatively out of cycle in terms of releases at present. The last track posted to his Soundcloud account was 3 months ago. This therefore is a growth happening without masses of promo occurring elsewhere (that I’m aware of anyway). [UPDATE: I’ve since been informed his new live album is out this week, so there has been a fair amount of promo activity – but not using Soundcloud]
Now admittedly, SBTRKT is more the exception than the rule here. Certainly among the artists I look after, none have quite matched this level of consistent growth. However most saw a hefty leap in early December (around 40% of their total fan count), with numbers easing off over Christmas and into January.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that in a very short space of time, a lot of artists have now picked up a huge number of followers to whom they can directly push new music. At a time when reaching your entire Facebook fanbase requires promoting your post, this is a powerful new means to reach more fans – and free beer to most of us as our artists already had accounts on Soundcloud to begin with.
Of course, there’s no metrics yet on the visibility of your track when posted to your feed but one would assume it to be more akin to Twitter, where the chances of your post being seen relate directly to the number of people a fan is following. Even factoring in a low visibility score though, the fact remains that posting a track on Soundcloud now will result in it reaching a LOT more people than it did before. In SBTRKT’s case, approx. 117k – not a number to be sniffed at.