SoundCloud enhances Music Discovery with fan-driven Buzzing Playlists

SoundCloud has added Buzzing Playlists, a set of genre-specific playlists featuring songs based on genuine fan engagement. These playlists are available to all users.

Last year, nearly 45.6 million tracks across music streaming services received zero plays, and 50% of new artist discoveries on Spotify happen from programmed playlists with another 25% coming from algorithmically created mixes, radio, and autoplay.

By contrast, SoundCloud moves past editorial and algorithmic curtains and bases Buzzing Playlists solely on fan interest.

Playlists Are Updated Weekly

Updated weekly, these new Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, and Electronic playlists are sourced from Next Pro artists who have opted to have tracks analyzed by SoundCloud’s First Fans recommendation algorithm. First Fans puts new releases in front of up to 100 new listeners who enjoy similar music. Top performing tracks tracks are then surfaced to up to 1000 listeners.

Missing are Buzzing Playlists for Rock, Latin, and other popular genres; and unlike Spotify, Amazon, and Apple’s free Artist offerings, most SoundCloud artist programs – including Fans First and Buzzing Playlists – require a $99 per year enrollment in SoundCloud Next Pro.

But the cost may be worth it for developing artists in the right genres. Since the launch of SoundCloud’s First Fans, more than 3.5 million tracks have been analyzed and recommended to potential new fans with the average participating Next Pro artist receiving a 400% increase in listens. Buzzing Playlists should amplify that.

How Buzzing Playlists Work

  • SoundCloud Next Pro artists upload a fresh track and opt-in to have it analyzed by First Fans, our recommendation algorithm.
  • First Fans then analyzes these uploads and recommends them to up to 100 listeners based on their past listening behavior.
  • From there, top tracks are recommended up to 1000 listeners.
  • The highest-performing tracks of those recommended – the ones that listeners engage with the most (likes, comments, reposts, replays, and playlist adds) earn a spot on a Buzzing playlist.
  • More info here.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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