Let's be honest, music has changed a whole lot since the 80s.
And now Soundcloud is a little-known gem in the world of entrepreneurship and social media & music.
On Soundcloud, a website and downloadable app, different musical artists can be followed just as you follow accounts on social media networks like Twitter and Instagram.
However, rather than following their tweets or photo-upload, you follow the music that they produced.
It is because of this dual purpose, social media and music production, that Soundcloud has become a very popular platform in today’s world. And, the best bit - it’s totally free to use.
Making money on Soundcloud as an artist can be fairly difficult without the right guidance. It may have been a handy tool for building a fan base and gaining exposure, however before Soundcloud introduced an option to monetize content, artists weren’t actually earning anything for their productions.
Thankfully this isn’t the case anymore. Soundcloud’s ‘On Soundcloud’ feature allows artists to monetize their music and start earning money for their music.
This article will run through how you can start earning on Soundcloud - whether you’re a skilled producer or not.
Soundcloud’s On SoundCloud feature isn’t dissimilar to Youtube’s Partner Program, wherein artists are paid per view in ad revenue by YouTube itself.
Through Soundcloud, ads will be played between songs listened to and artists are paid money for each advertisement that is played, just as Youtubers are paid for the ads watched by their viewers.
This money is paid straight to the artists.
Unlike in the mainstream world of music, where artists must find record companies or work with brands to start earning money, through Soundcloud users can be paid straight to their bank account with no middle-company being involved.
Just as Youtube have different levels in their partner program being accessible as views increase, Soundcloud also has a tier-system.
As your listens on Soundcloud increase, you will ‘unlock’ different monetization levels that give you more opportunities to earn.
These are broken down into the following tiers:
A Soundcloud ‘partner’ hosts a free account and is allowed:
A total of 3 hours worth of songs uploaded to your account.
Viewable statistics that can help you to build a larger following.
Access to Soundcloud’s ‘Insider’ group, wherein users can receive advice & helpful tips to boost their success.
At this level, users aren’t able to monetize their content - there isn’t any money available to earn.
This is the base level of your Soundcloud career, a starting platform from which you can begin building a following and getting your music heard.
Pro (And Pro Unlimited)
The ‘Pro’ tier of On Soundcloud allows you to upload 6 hours worth of songs, rather than just 3.
As you may have guessed, Pro Unlimited allows you to upload an unlimited amount of content for an extra cost.
This tier allows you to:
‘Showcase’ your best tracks, pinning them to your Soundcloud account so that they can be seen more easily.
Statistics, again, but with the option to see where in the world people are listening to your music, as well as social stats that allow you to see which social media platforms people are finding your music through.
And, of course, this upgraded tier isn’t free anymore. On Soundcloud Pro is just under £4.00 per month, and Unlimited is £8 per month. Not extortionate, but not free either.
The premier option still includes all of these features, as well as those of Pro Unlimited, as well as some more:
Premier comes with an account manager that can help you to improve your account’s display/image and boost your follower count.
Premier also comes with features that’ll allow you to promote your music.
And, of course, this feature finally allows you to start earning money on Soundcloud through advertisements. Without Premier, you can’t earn money through Soundcloud.
Currently, the Premier option of On Soundcloud is only available upon invite - you can’t simply sign up and pay monthly, Soundcloud have to actually ask you to join.
However, soon Soundcloud will be opening the feature to everybody and thus you won’t need to wait for an invite.
How To Get Invited To The Soundcloud Premier Program
To maximise your chances of being invited, I’ve given a few of my best tips below.
Maintain a good, positive relationship with the Soundcloud community. This means engaging with your audience, being friendly to fans and also being an attractive client to work with. Ideas of what makes an ‘attractive’ client may well be subjective, but generally you should aim to build rapport with other users and fans, have a strong follower-base and displaying good communication skills.
Favourites lists are a great way to start networking on Soundcloud. Favourite lists are, well, lists of people’s favourite musical content. You should begin connecting with your fans by adding the songs you like to listen to to your public favourite list. Another tip is to let the artists whom you’ve added know that you like what they’re doing. Do this, and they may well listen to your music and perhaps add you to their favourites too.
Give constructive and friendly feedback to other users. By listening to music, you automatically form an opinion of it - maybe you really like one aspect of the song, or can’t stop thinking about another that needs work. If you can offer genuinely useful and constructive feedback to other users - perhaps those in your favourites list/music your fans produce - people will start to show an interest in your work.
Your profile needs to look good and send positive signals to other users. You should have your artist name in your profile very clearly and a representative logo to compliment this. If you don’t have a logo, create one. If you suck at Adobe Illustrator, outsource your logo and get somebody else to make something for you. Your logo and profile picture (these may well be the same thing) should be recognisable - even when it’s just a small square beneath your track. Your header should include some relevant information - perhaps details of a new track or an upcoming album. This header space should always be used to give as much information as you can, for it is likely the first thing that people will see when they visit your page.
Joining groups on Soundcloud is another great way to build a following because it is an incredibly sociable community. Joining groups that are relevant to your genre and target audience is an easy way to expand your reach and start attracting the attention of artists & fans within your niche.
Make sure you include a load of tags in your music before uploading. Just like hashtags on Instagram, tags are used on Soundcloud to help people find the type of music they’re looking for. Here, you can tag not only words that describe your own music, but you can even name-drop similar/inspired artists so that users may stumble across your music when looking for another producer in your area of expertise.
Resources For Making Money With Soundcloud
Soundcloud is a creative space for music production and an excellent chance to earn money from your craft.
Thus, below I have included some invaluable resources for earning money through music production and honing in on your skills.
Be sure to check them out to maximise your success in the production world and learn all you need to know about the field.
Winner of grammy awards, Dave Pensado hosts an online site and resource for all kinds of music producers. Pensado’s
Place offers a wealth of information in the field, including interviews with experts, technique application, shows where audiences can interact with speakers and many more resources.
Acknowledged as one of the leading educators in the field of audio, Pensado has helped mix tracks created by music powerhouses such as Michael Jackson and Elton John.
Herb Trawick also co-hosts the site, having years of experience as a successful music manager and businessman. Pensado’s place is and free resource for all music producers looking to improve their successes not only on Soundcloud but in the music industry as a whole.
‘Mixing With Your Mind’ - Michael Paul Stavrou
According to its reviews, Mixing With Your Mind is an excellent resource for audio engineers and producers to utilise to gain an insight & better understanding of the world of music production.
Although a little pricey, the book is incredibly information dense and can be referred back to for many years, never losing its educational value. It’s been described like a toolbox, an infinite resource from which information can continually be harvested throughout your music production career.
‘The book might seem pricey but it is not so, keep in mind that it gives you a lifetime of knowledge, based on world class experience covering more or less all aspects of audio engineering.’ - an Amazon review taken from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mixing-your-Mind-Closely-Engineering/dp/0646428756.