Receiving barely any plays on SoundCloud or similar music sharing platforms doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel. Statistics aren’t a measure of the quality of a song. There are songs out there that receive thousands of streams each day without bringing home the gold. Most importantly, posting music on SoundCloud just isn’t enough these days. You’re not alone, but that’s actually part of the problem. Everyone is trying to make music in their basement and produce records. It’s going to take persistence and effective strategies to get your music to the ears of people who matter.
I have a fair bit of experience producing music, but typing out an explanation about how to make a good song isn’t going to get you the results you’re looking for. What sounds good to me might not sound good to you. Secondly, producing music is very personal, and if we trace why fans like one song over another, I guarantee we’ll arrive at the word “personal”. The last thing you want to do is bury yourself in an article about how to produce a song and then copy/paste the process in your mind. Don’t bleach your creativity with a bottle of songwriting/production methods that everyone else uses. Trust me, we’ll notice your music for the wrong reason.
You have to ask yourself questions like, “What can I do to get my music to the right crowd?”
If you’re just tossing up sound files left and right, don’t expect a shower of interaction (likes, shares, comments). It takes good promotion strategies after the track is posted to draw attention to your work. For the record, I’m not a social media wiz, so I’m unable to list the best practices for posting or gaining followers. There is one thing you shouldn’t do: spam. FYI, spamming people with links is NOT a good strategy. You’ll dig yourself into a hole and nobody will even care to throw you a rope. In the beginning, keep it simple with a couple of social media outlets and post regularly. If you try to keep up with too many channels, you’ll spread yourself thin and grow tired of updating them. Professional artists have a team to coordinate their social media strategies for them, so they’re able to maximize their presence across all of the big social sites without lifting a finger. Assuming you’re an up-and-comer, it’s better to focus on smaller tactics that are self-manageable and expand from there.
It’s important to be aware that not everything is going to work. There will be those stray tracks that just don’t catch. Not every release is a home run, and even the big names are aware of this. Fortunately, there is still a lot you can learn when feedback turns sour. First, don’t take it personally. If you really want your music to be heard, be prepared for negative comments; they’re inevitable. Again, just because a song gets a lot of exposure doesn’t mean it’s loved. The only thing you can do is stay true to your art and learn as you go. Never allow yourself to develop a “top of the mountain” mindset. Part of growing as an artist means remaining open and adaptable.
Finding out whether or not your music is “good” will require some time outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it isn’t as simple as yes or no, so I recommend getting honest feedback from a variety of people. Friends and family are obvious test subjects, but if you really want an unbiased opinion, you really have to put yourself out there and meet some faces. Build a network and use it to your advantage. It makes no sense to shut yourself off and write music like a hermit. Promoting yourself might feel like putting your head on a chopping block, but it’s the nature of the beast. If you are a serious artist who wants to be heard, then you have to reach out and take it by the horns.