Although putting music on Soundcloud is easier than ever, there are still several all-too-common mistakes that can prevent artists from getting the most out of the site, whether it’s not keeping your account consistently organized, failing to interact with other users in a constructive and meaningful way, or simply not posting regularly.
With everyone who knows how to pick up a guitar and play a C chord getting online to show off their musical ‘skills’ getting noticed on SoundCloud is becoming a challenge. Unfortunately, too many bands with real talent are doing themselves a disservice by making digital marketing mistakes.
I am going to show you some of the common, and not so obvious, music marketing mistakes that musicians are making on SoundCloud. If you can play a decent song, or rap a great verse, follow this advice and you just might get your big break sooner than you realize!
Mistakes you have to stop making on SoundCloud
Not organizing your SoundCloud account with your other accounts
SoundCloud is like anywhere else online, fakers are everywhere. Go search SoundCloud right now for a popular band and I guarantee you’ll find at least 2 fake account. Here’s what happened when I searched for Vampire Weekend:
Three different accounts all with the same name. While most fans will just go with the most popular account, social proof in action, and you’ll have a hard time defeating all of these fakes, you can help your fans figure out which one is really you with planning and organization.
The first way to do this is by always using matching URLs across your social media accounts:
Not every music fan is going to look this closely at your URLs, but someone who does pay attention will use it to figure out that your account is legit. For the Internet savvy people out there, such as myself, this is something we always check when we are 100% sure.
The other way to do this is by linking to, and from, your SoundCloud account as much as possible. Include links from:
- Your website or blog.
- All of your social media accounts.
- Your record companies website.
Every link to your SoundCloud account is another vote up for your fans knowing it’s your account. Linking out from SoundCloud to these accounts will help as well.
Not organizing your tracks
Yes, I’m still on organization. It’s not very rock’n’roll, but it will help people learn about who you are and your song names. The standard naming order for tracks is:
Artist Name – Song Title
You need to always be thinking about that person who is hearing you for the first time. Using a standard format for your band name and song title will help them learn who you are, and what your songs are called.
Stop giving your fans throwaway comments
SoundCloud songs have the unique feature of allowing listeners to comment on the track in certain sections of the playback. They can comment right at a moment in a song that they enjoy. This could be a great guitar solo, a lyric they connect with, or a question they have about what they’re hearing.
The more you give back to your fans when they take the time to do this the better off you’ll be. Take a second to think about the difference between writing “Thanks,” and “Thank you, Ernest!” Two extra words made it more personal. That takes, what, 3 seconds?
When your SoundCloud account starts to really take off you won’t have the time to reply to everything. Watch out for those in depth comments that go beyond ‘YOU GUYZ ROXXX’ as these people may be the passionate fans that can turn into great ambassadors for your music.
Don’t be a phoney on other people’s SoundCloud songs
Everyone is making the mistake of going on to another SoundCloud song and using the above mentioned comments in the wrong way. Just like your fans are going on to your account and saying how they feel about the music, you need to do the same thing.
What does that mean? It means stop going onto other songs and saying things like “My songs sound just like this. Check us out!” That is the very definition of spam in its purest form. It offers nothing constructive to the discussion.
Instead, focus on making comments that matter. You’re a musician, you should know enough about music to make real comments about it. Think that guitar solo with a slide followed by a quarter note bend and some vibrato was impressive? Make that comment so that people notice that you’re good at this and they be more apt to check you out. Don’t underestimate how important this is when you want to get SoundCloud followers that care about your music.
Taking long breaks from your SoundCloud account
I get it, you go on tour, you go on vacation, you go on a 3 month bender in Vega, and nothing goes up on your SoundCloud account. When you start ignoring your SoundCloud account ,and not giving your fans any updates, guess who else will start to ignore it? Your fans!
This doesn’t mean that you have to release a brand new song every month. You can feel free to upload audio tracks of you talking tour diary style, post b-sides, rehearsals or soundchecks, and add unreleased tracks for feedback.
Here’s a rehearsal track from SoundGarden’s official SoundCloud account:
Your band can release things like this to keep things interesting and not let your momentum on SoundCloud die.
Abusing genre keywords
Finding new bands via searching for keywords is the best part about SoundCloud. I’ve found more than a few great artists doing just this, and so are thousands of other music fans. Abusing your keywords, and tagging yourself under genres which you don’t fit, can lead to a backlash. Remember those comments I was discussing above? They can be used to voice displeasure as well. This can create a negative environment that turns off new fans, or drives old ones away.
To be fair, I know that some bands release songs that sound a little different from one another. You might have one song which sounds a bit country, and another that sounds a bit pop. Feel free to tag the individual songs differently, but don’t feel like you can now tag every single song as both country and pop if they’re not.
What are some SoundCloud mistakes that you hate to see? Let’s talk about them below. And if that isn’t a topic you want to bring up, let’s talk about the best artist you found exclusively on SoundCloud.