The Secret to Getting More Real Plays on Soundcloud


Is your soundcloud and youtube plays looking like a ghost town?

It honestly kills me when I put so much work into mixing and mastering an artist’s song and when they release it *crickets*.

And these songs are actually really good and deserve to be heard by more than 10 people.

In this post I’m going to unlock some new ways artists are getting more plays and gaining fans.

It’s important to remember this game changes quickly, marketing strategies from even three years ago are for the dinosaurs.

Let’s begin!

Instagram influencers

Hitting up people with large followings on Instagram and getting them to lip sync to your song in an Instagram post is what you ideally want.

You’ll also want them to @ you at your Instagram account since there’s no way for them to link out to your soundcloud (and don’t be one of these fools putting links into an Instagram post).

So how do you get influencers to co-sign you?

First don’t go after the big fish.

That is don’t go after people with a million followers (they wont talk to you) and don’t go after people with hundreds of thousands of followers (they want to be the ones with a million followers and don’t want to talk to you).

The sweet spot is anyone with between ten thousand and thirty thousand followers.

You can even try to contact people with as much as ninety thousand followers but again they’ll probably think they’re too good for you.

Also be aware of people with fake followers.

They’re usually easy to spot because they’ll have very little likes or comments on their posts.

Also their other social media followings say their Twitter or Youtube accounts may not be as big, which should raise suspicion like what are you so famous for that your followers didn’t follow you to these other platforms?

Secondly, make sure you contact influencers who are broadly related to your style of music.

For example, if you’re a Christian rapper reach out to preacher’s with large followings.

You don’t want to limit yourself to just people who like Christian rap.

If they’re devout Christian (why else would they follow their preacher on Instagram?) they might like Christian rap.

Targeting is key but don’t just pick surface level or obvious targets.

Adding Value

So now that you’ve figured out the legitimate low level influencers in your genre, it’s time to approach them.

Your first contact should not be “Hey bruh listen to my music”.

You should be asking yourself, “How can I add value to this person’s life?”

A good way to add value is to give something away for free.

If you have some amazing t-shirts or stickers or posters or whatever (use your creativity, you’re an artist afterall) ask them if you can send them it.

Here’s a DM you can use:

Hey *name of influencer*,

I’m an artist from *insert city* and really love your daily posts because of the way you *think of something specific you like about their posts*. Can I get the address of where to send you *amazing thing*, I think you’ll really dig it.

That’s it.

If they respond they’ll probably have looked into you first so make sure you have your “link in bio” pointing to the song you’re currently promoting and make sure your Instagram reflects your brand.

Yes you are a brand now.

After you’ve sent them a free t-shirt or whatever.

You don’t just wait.

Oh wait did I mention you’ll be doing this for 50 to 100 people?

Yes you need to contact at least 50 influncers because the majority of them will either not respond to you or after you sent them some free swag they’ll ignore you.

Where the pay off in doing all this comes from is when that 10% or 5 people actually talk about your music to their 20,000 followers.

It may not sound like much but when you have no one checking for you, 20,000 is more than you had before.

You’re probably asking, “Can I do this on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook?”.

Yes you can.

I’ve personally reached out to influencers on both to promote posts and have seen tremendous engagement.

The main thing is you want to work with influencers who have high engagement, meaning fans actually are liking, reposting, commenting and are engaged with the influencer.

Otherwise what influence are they going to have over promoting yourself?

Basically, it doesn’t matter how many followers they have (as long as it’s over ten thousand) as long as they have engaged fans  (because their fans could become engaged fans of you).

Use Hashtags Wisely

Using hashtags has kind of become played out on Instagram because what I find is a lot of people are using bot software to automatically like or follow anyone who uses certain hashtags, I’ve noticed this especially in fitness related hashtags as well as entrepreneur related hashtags.

The same thing is true to an extent for music related hashtags.

I think two or three years ago they would have been more powerful but it’s really not worth it to get a bunch of likes or follows from bots, you want real people to be engaged with your music.

Don’t forget to add value to the influencer’s life and not just look at the interaction as a transaction.

In conclusion, being quickly to adapt new marketing strategies to help promote your music is important but the one fundamental thing will always be connecting with real people and having people with large audiences promote your wares, in this case music. In the comments, let me know if you use Instagram to market your music and if you’ve had success with it?

Promoting on Soundcloud?



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering, which he helped found in 2012. For the last 10 years, he has made it his mission to empower aspiring artists and musicians from around the world. You can see more of Andre's writings on our Blog.

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