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SoundCloud unveils new direct-to-fan messaging tool

By | Published on Tuesday 9 May 2023


SoundCloud has unveiled a new direct-to-fan tool within its SoundCloud For Artists platform that will allow music-makers to directly message their most engaged fans about upcoming releases, shows, merchandise or other activity.

The new tool seeks to address a key issue in the streaming domain, which is that new artists use streaming services to build a fanbase, but then can’t really identify who those fans are or access them in any meaningful way via said streaming services.

That’s mainly because the mainstream streaming platforms want to tightly control access to their subscribers. Partly for the obvious commercial reasons. But also partly because they don’t want to annoy subscribers with a flood of messages from artists that those subscribers may not really be that interested in, despite listening to some of their tracks.

Previewing the new direct-to-fan communication tool – which is simply called Fans – in a blog post yesterday, SoundCloud’s SVP Creator Tracy Chan writes: “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”, he goes on, “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”, he reckons, “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”.

But SoundCloud is different, Chan would like you to all note. “That’s why we’re launching a new product we’re calling ‘Fans'”, he says, which will help “artists discover their most valuable fans on SoundCloud”. Chan then tells artists that, by crunching data from across the SoundCloud platform, the new tool will “[allow you] to sort your most engaged fans based on indicators like comments, listening behaviour, sharing habits and more”.

Though “just knowing who your fans are isn’t always enough”, he adds. “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”.

Chan adds that SoundCloud has been piloting the new tool with various artists and will now extend the beta to more than 50,000 creators who are signed up to the company’s Next Pro service. “We’re still building and this is just the start”, he concludes, “so stay tuned for future updates”. That we will.