There are a number of services out there promising SoundCloud users tens of thousands of reposts which will result in more subscribers/followers for their SoundCloud channel. This can seem like a great deal, especially for new and aspiring artists who want to get a good head start in the music industry.
But what is the real lowdown on reposts and paid promotions in general? H Academy recently came out with a research piece on this matter that is filled with interesting data and shocking results. The average repost only generates plays equal to 3-4% of that channel’s following. And for many SoundCloud channels, getting only 3-4% of their channels’ 1,000+ followers is not an encouraging number.
Most of the low-ratio accounts were the repost channels, who reposted frequently throughout the day and had few original uploads on their account. By contrast, the high-ratio accounts were the labels and artists who reposted significantly less and uploaded more often.
Why do labels and artists have higher engagement ratios?
Labels and artists tend to curate more when it comes to reposts and uploads, going for quality over quantity so to speak. This allows them to develop a dedicated fanbase. They may repost less often and upload more than promotional channels, but they also have a distinct personality that fans can connect with. It’s easier to love an artist than a repost channel or label, as there’s little personality you can connect with there.
On the other hand, promotional channels pair consistent reposts with like-to-download gate inclusion in order to boost follower growth. A channel might use another channel in the download gate of their track, which then gives them an incentive to consistently repost that upload. That other channel might then do the same, and receive consistent uploads as well. This results in a perpetuating cycle, where the increase in followers leads to more exposure but not more plays. Also, it creates an overlap of followers, which is common with SoundCloud networks that grow through daily repost and mutual gate-inclusion.
So if multiple channels repost the same song each day, users are unlikely to click it. The more a channel reposted per day, the less engaged their audience.
The biggest take-away is that artists need to be careful not to exhaust their audience in SoundCloud. To be specific, H Academy reports that there is a significant tipping point in engagement with reposts exceeding four a day.
As far as paid promotions go, it was determined that the average cost per play was $0.013 USD. Thus, the technique is analyzing which channels have higher play-to-follower ratios, by looking at the frequency with which they repost and the quality of that music. Another optimization strategy could be to demand that a paid repost be scheduled at that channel’s optimum engagement time, which is usually when the bulk of their audience has arrived at the office or school.
To artists with money to spend, getting tracks early traction is something worth considering, but as H Academy advises, never believe in the buy-in fallacy as paying to getting your music heard is not required to succeed in the music industry today.