SoundCloud debuts a fan engagement tool for artists

Music streaming platform SoundCloud is today launching a new tool to let artists engage with their fans better. The new product, conveniently called Fans, lets artists direct message their followers and sort their listeners through different engagement measures.

SoundCloud said the Fans product was available to 10,000 artists and now with this beta release it will be open to more than 50,000 artists who subscribe to the platform's Next Pro product.

The company said that some artists who have been testing the product used it to send links to unreleased tracks to fans and set up meet-and-greet events.

In 2021, SoundCloud introduced a fan-powered royalties model, which distributed subscription and ad money based on who users listened to rather than using just the number of overall streams across the service as a factor. The company is now using the data from that product to power some of the metrics for the Fans tools.

Artists can sort their fans with parameters like comments, listening behavior, sharing habits and country. Additionally, they can sort their listeners to understand who could be their potential collaborators. These metrics give artists an idea about what kind of tracks are getting better engagement.

The company said that users can choose to opt out of the artist messages feature if they want by disabling the "Receive messages from anyone" toggle. However, the artists they follow will be able to message them. Additionally, users can report abusive messages and block the sender.

"At SoundCloud, we believe that artists should have direct access to their fans. Our company was founded and built on helping artists share and connect through music. And, let's face it: building a fanbase (and being able to activate those fans when you need to) is the only real way to make music your livelihood," Tracy Chan, SVP of Creator said in a statement.

In March, Spotify launched new tools for artists that allow them to promote songs with paid recommendations, change the priority of songs for discovery algorithms and market their events. In comparison to SoundCloud's newest features that concentrate on personal engagement with fans, the Sweden-based company's functions focus more on reaching more listeners.

Last week, SoundCloud announced a deal with Merlin — including its member companies like Mad Decent, Domino Recording Company, Beggars Group and Sub Pop Records — for artists signed with the label to participate in the fan-powered royalties program.

In March, the company announced a new TikTok-like feed that lets users find unheard tracks by scrolling vertically through the Discover feed.