The internet has been the most fascinating creation mankind has offered to computer users worldwide for well over 20 years now. Its the perfect place to tell a story that combines glory and shame so eloquently in the same discussion. When it comes to what drives our craving for entertainment, there’s almost no barriers or limitation to what we can find on the internet to occupy us in times of boredom. It was this excess time spent on the computer while working on school projects that allowed Myspace to become so successful and relevant to an entire generation just ten years ago. Although social media was still in its toddler stages, it provided us with a sneak peak as what the future had to offer in how we’d connect with one another to share our passions and similar as well as varying tastes.
It was Myspace that launched careers for an entire sub-generation of artists of all types and expanded emerging listening markets past geographic borders. Regardless of what anyone says, if you were in your budding twenties as I was during the glory days of Myspace, it was painstakingly clear that we had reached a new era in entertainment and online connectivity and the creative class was at the helm.
I discovered the music of countless artists & bands on Myspace. I was able to connect with dozens if not hundreds of professionals in various fields of the music world through their platform which ultimately lead myself, as well as I’m sure many of those I connected with, to where we are today; recording, performing, writing about music and connecting with fellow music lovers. It wasn’t just the artists that it gave opportunities to but the fans as well. That’s what provided me with a glimpse to the future, where fans are at the forefront, and there’s no buffer to prevent me from finding artists that aren’t on the radio.
The radio is shit. That’s not just the opinion of a working professional who spends more days surrounded by music than not. Its an understanding of anyone who has spent even a negligible amount of spare time using the internet to find music that carries a different frequency and connects on a different level than your typical Top 40 placeholders. For decades the radio controlled what we heard without evening allowing the opportunity for aspiring talent with no monetary backing to get any airplay. It was going to fail eventually. It was just a matter of time.
As technology has given us an alternative to the radio and streaming services have risen in the place of MP3 downloads, listening trends and online behavior has shifted and social media now plays a huge part in the exposure of breaking artists. Though Facebook briefly attempted to offer platforms for recording artists to share their work, it just never managed to garner the same usability for fans that Myspace was able to capitalize on. Reverbnation, an online media platform mainly catered to give opportunities and build exposure to independent recording artists and bands, has been virtually useless since the day it emerged many years ago. I’m surprised its even still online to be completely honest. While there have been multiple services that have attempted to follow in the footsteps of Myspace for DIY (Do It Yourself) artists, its been Soundcloud that has taken the reigns over the past 3-4 years.
Soundcloud which from my understanding was mainly used for DJ’s & Producers to post obscure remixes of various genres of music in its early days, managed to take what Myspace provided for independent DIY musicians and simplify it to work well for both fans and artists alike. A Soundcloud profile gives any budding artist with no extensive connections to media publications or platforms an official URL address, storage space to upload hours of music, direct feedback from listeners via song comments, and connectivity to all other websites and social media services. It has become the “go-to” to post new releases for nearly every relevant artist of the past five years, including pop culture notables like Drake and Kanye West. Its become the primary platform for artists to post their most recent catalogues and continues to expand the capability of its services with tweaks to their algorithms for users to discover new music and share music wit their social media networks.
Blogs have their own Soundcloud accounts whereas they can “re-post” their featured artists work or premiere music from newly discovered artists. As a personal user all you have to do is create your own playlist using your favorite songs and you have a personal online radio station accessible from any of your computers and smart devices. Soundcloud has given the opportunity for any aspiring recording artist, songwriter, and musician with a dream the chance to share their music with the world as well as build their potential fanbase in a highly advanced and connected technological age. Many of the artists we feature in our playlists we discovered simply by browsing our home page feeds in an instant. One click and 10-20 seconds later a brand new artist has been introduced to me and you without need for radio, downloads or even blog posts. Its finally bridged the gap between artists and fans.
Soundcloud isn’t just a simple player that offers listeners an opportunity to discover new music, its also an essential part of an artists branding. By carefully crafting album art on each track, an artist can create a flow for viewers of their page as each track stacks on top of another better identifying that artists’ work when seen elsewhere on the internet. Plays have become a viable stat for bloggers, DJ’s, label A&R’s and various media types to gauge how many fans an artist has & what kind of exposure they’re getting. A single song with over 100k plays or multiple songs with as many plays a piece can turn a seemingly unknown artist into a budding star for the masses to sink their teeth into. Artists like G-Eazy and Russ broke into the commercial music world by utilizing the opportunities to build their catalogues with Soundcloud as well as YouTube.
While it’s still quite fresh as far as online platforms go in the age of digital music in an ever-so-changing environment, I can say as an artist, talent consultant, brand owner, and fan that Soundcloud gave me the continued opportunity to do what I love and share it with the world in order to continue my journey in this revolving cyclone of the music world. its continuous updates and feature additions as well as business ventures prove to me that it’ll be around for quite a while as the industry learns to shift to a streaming-first business model.