SoundCloud appeared in 2007 and quickly became the reference for new artist to promote their art. The platform isn’t the first one in its genra but pretty much transformed the way that music and artists gets discovered for ever.
Before Soundcloud new artists that weren’t sign to a label or with no connections in the industry were dropping what we call « mixtapes ». They are in a way a small album, with usually 7 to 10 tracks. The main difference between the two is the expectations on the sales, in a mixtape no money is injected for publicity and communication so the sales are not expected to do as well as an album.
They were uploaded on specialized websites like DATPIFF wich was the biggest source for free mixtapes and new artists. This way of sharing and downloading music was working pretty well at the time, in fact we have to remmeber that phones didn’t have internet access and good browsers so you had to download music on your computer and then transfer it to your ipod or mobile phone.
All of this changed when apple arrived and phone became smartphones, this way of sharing became obsolete and people needed a way to stream directly their favorite songs.
Soundcloud was the first social media dedicated to music and sharing artists on the rise. The media lived off of commercials and was a direct factor on the evolution of music for the last decade. All the biggest artist that we know today started on it, dropping random songs and trying to improve their craft from drop to drop. Rappers and singers had all control when it came to their music on soundcloud, with no label to tell them what to do thay could express their creativity the way they wanted to.
Some of the classic mixtapes that were dropped on SoundCloud
Acid Rain by Chance The Rapper, 2013 Became an instant classic and is known as one of the most influential mixtapes released on SoundCloud.
Undeniable by Logic, Logic is known for being the artist with the most interaction with his fans via his mixtapes.
The fall of SoundCloud
The media had a hard time adapting to its competition, Spotify, Deezer and Apple music came around and everything changed. Soundcloud was known for being free and it became impossible for them to follow the major subscriptions medias, they tried to adapt and offered a subscription but it didn’t work as they wanted to.