SoundCloud Launches Direct Message Tool to Help Artists and Fans ‘Build a Deeper Relationship’

Days after signing a new licensing deal with Merlin, SoundCloud has officially unveiled a “one-to-one” messaging tool designed to help artists “build a deeper relationship with” supporters.

The Berlin-based music-sharing service’s aptly-named “Fans Tool” is currently rolling out in beta to acts with Next Pro subscriptions, and SoundCloud has signaled it intends to “slowly” roll out the messaging-centric offering. to expand in the “next few months.”

According to SoundCloud, the Fans Tool is updated during the first week of each month with a list of each participating artist’s most engaged supporters. Specifically, these supporters are identified through analysis of “key indicators such as listening behaviors, direct responses such as comments, and social actions such as shares,” according to executives, who took the opportunity to tout the perceived benefits of their service’s fan-funded royalties.

SoundCloud further clarified this point, clarifying that artists must monetize their work on the platform under the fan-powered model (where royalties are paid based on actual listener participation) in order to use the fans tool. Currently, only one of the major labels, Warner Music, supports the framework through a licensing deal with SoundCloud.

In any case, the fans tool’s monthly list of passionate followers will consist of people that artists should “connect with on a 1:1 level,” according to the service. Registered acts can send up to 50 messages per day to build closer bonds with fans, and SoundCloud says more features are coming soon.

“The Fans Tool provides an all-in-one dashboard that makes it easy to connect directly with fans and build real relationships so they’re more than just a number,” explained SoundCloud, which launched an overarching ” SoundCloud for Artists platform launched in October 2022.

Going forward, it will be worth watching the fans tool’s potential as a competitive differentiator against platforms like Spotify – especially as AI music continues to stream into the service, which is rapidly adding new users in emerging markets and collecting royalties via the pro rata model pays . With the latter, revenue is pooled and then distributed as part of overall streams, which is particularly to the detriment of indies who don’t have billions of games under their belt.

Aside from potentially diluting the already abysmal per-stream royalties, a steady influx of artificial intelligence releases in the coming months could make it even harder for serious artists to make their music stand out, including in terms of Autoplay Recommendations and Playlist Spots , and more. Consequently, the ability to capitalize on fan connections via SoundCloud (reportedly a goal of Universal Music’s ongoing streaming reform initiative) could prove significant.