SoundCloud’s First Ad Campaign Highlights What Makes It Unique: Its Users

SoundCloud not only gives users a chance to discover new music but gives artists the chance to share their creations with the online world.

If you aren’t too familiar with the audio and music platform, SoundCloud, you will soon be well acquainted as the company launches its first ad campaign titled, “First on SoundCloud.” Not only is this the website’s first official ad campaign, but the strategy itself is something to note as it doesn’t highlight the website itself, but rather the creators and artists who use it.

Music streaming has skyrocketed in popularity in the past decade as users transferred from what feels like the now archaic iPod and other portable mp3 devices to free subscription-based platforms. First came Napster, a user-to-user file sharing device. Then along came Pandora, an online music radio platform, allowing users to customize their own stations. Now as of 2018, users have a vast library of music available through Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more. But SoundCloud offers something different and unique in comparisons to these streaming services.

SoundCloud is an audio platform where users can post their own creations as well as discover music through simply signing up with a free account, a service Spotify, Apple Music, and other competitors can’t necessarily offer. The website has become so popular for both artists and music lovers alike because of its “unique ecosystem” and some 175 million tracks; the website “has become renowned for its unique content and features, including the ability to share music and connect directly with artists, as well as unearth breakthrough tracks, raw demos, podcasts and more.” Because of this vast interconnected community of creators, many “no-name” artists got their music career started through the platform, which brings us to the ad campaign.

“First on SoundCloud” will feature 10 creators in its ads that got their professional careers launched through the website. The number 10 specifically symbolizes the 10 million different users listened to each month on the website. Soon, Kehlani, Galimatias, Taylor Bennett, Lorine Chia, Melo Makes Music, Party Pupils, Jay Prince, Cathedrals, StarRo and Witt Lowry will be featured in short promo videos and banner ads, talking about their story and creative process. CEO Kerry Trainor puts it that “we are the first place that creators come and that first place that listeners come to discover, but it’s all about what artists go on to do, whether they go on to sign at a label or be nominated for a Grammy, for us it’s all about that journey and growth. We want to be here at the beginning and be here for them first.”

What makes this ad campaign more notable is its alignment with current marketing trends. With millennials purchasing power on the rise, many companies have been trying to find the best and most appropriate approach to targeting this age group. The key word here is “authenticity”. Forbes recently listed 7 tips to boosting authenticity within marketing campaigns. SoundCloud has used at least 3 of them: share stories, seek conversation, and show respect. The campaign shares its users’ stories, seeks to create a dialogue with theme about their work, showing respect and honoring the people who made SoundCloud what it is today.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to think about:

  • Have “grass root” type marketing strategies, such as “authenticity” begun to lose their affect with the more recent generations such as millennials and gen Z?
  • How can marketing strategists continue to learn and evolve strategies to better suit consumer demand?
  • What must one consider when advertising an online social media platform versus a product or consumable good?


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About SoundCloud