My Perception of Soundcloud has changed. Did Yours? Should Yours?
Disclaimer: I love Soundcloud. For the love of music, I hope Soundcloud survives.
Bad news and rumours spread like wildfire. One day it was Soundcloud laying off 173 of its employee population. The next one, TechCrunch was publishing bad news about the financial situation in Soundcloud. The news went all over the place. For a bedroom producer like You & Me, it was a nightmare in the making. Soundcloud was, for most of producers like You & Me, the only channel to create and nurture a fanbase — because of the fact, that it was the only place on the web where indie audio mattered. On the other hand, those news gave me the final kick to start thinking about my music marketing strategy in a much bigger picture. I want to share everything of what I learn with artists like You & Me. And want to start the Series with my story…
Panic kicked in hard.
Shows. Track sales. 2000+ followers on my artist profile. 4000+ followers on the profile of the record label I run. That everything was tied to Soundcloud. If those rumours I just read would turn out to be true, I'd be starting from zero. Almost.
There were the facts. Soundcloud laid off 150+ people and closed 2 offices. The story brought by TechCrunch checked out with what Vojta — the guy, from my city and who was hired — but never started, was saying. All job listings on Soundcloud disappeared. The immediate statement from Alex wasn't really that much comforting, the overall tone sounded more like damage control to me, since it really didn't present any new facts. Blogposts started appearing — with the most scary mention of "pivot to focus more on creators". This would normally be a good thing. But in these circumstances I started to speculate, that subscriptions for listeners probably aren't working that well… Oh, and perhaps, will Chance the Rapper save something that's here to stay? Suddenly, a lot of things started to make sense — and point out the fact that guys are in trouble…
At this point, let me restate despite my bleak sentiment, that I love Soundcloud and hope it doesn't just stay around — but gets even better.
I did the best think I could: I started asking myself "What if…?" questions. What if SC is no longer around? What if I lose all my uploaded stuff? My fans? Stay & pray wasn't a viable option. The situation required two things: a change of perspective, and a plan. So I cancelled what might be a lovely evening with my significant other, and did my second most favourite thing in the world after working on music— stick post-its to a big piece of paper.
The night probably opened more questions, than answered (but that's ok!). Should you stay on Soundcloud? Absolutely! Is Soundcloud going to stick around? Maybe. Is it worth focusing marketing (only) on Soundcloud? Definitely no. My change of perspective mentioned in the title wasn't really about Soundcloud — but it was all the trouble around it that exposed a problem lots of musicians might have within their marketing strategy. Whether Soundcloud is here to stay or not, if you're not going wider, you are missing out as an artist…
So, the ultimate strategy question is: Where to go?
I don't really know the answer yet, but I have a plan. See, I'm documenting the process as I go. I need to test assumptions and approaches. I'm looking forward to the journey and hope to find & share advice from you guys as well.
How did you embrace the news about Soundcloud?