Sub Pop: Guess The Artist

To announce their latest signing, Sub Pop set about playing a fun game with their dedicated fans and followers. Embedded in a blog post, a 15-second clip of the first focus track off of the to-be-named-later’s Sub Pop debut album gives listeners the chance to guess the artist. Sub Pop select a random person from the winning entries and they receive a prize bundle from the artist in question.

Sub Pop’s Digital Communications Manager Sam Sawyer talks us through the idea:

“We had recently signed The Notwist, a well respected German indie/elecro/noise stalwart with an established fan base, and we wanted to do something special for the announcement. The track that we chose to pair with the announcement, “Close To The Glass”, had an interesting part sans vocals, so I selected a 15 second edit that I thought sounded cool, wrote up the idea, sent it to A&R, the band, and management pitching the idea” …

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SoundCloud Groups: For Creativity And Everything Else In-Between

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SoundCloud groups span a whole range of genres, as we’ve seen with Big Sean’s freestyle initiative and Red Fang’s Guitar Solo contest. In this particular post, we delve into the pop scene and look at a few of the creative initiatives One Direction have set up via groups recently.

If you somehow missed the buzz around #1DDAY last year, fans were encouraged to create bits of unique content over a period of several months, and One Direction used the groups feature on SoundCloud to create a central place to receive these creative submissions, from ‘Story of My Life’ covers to Louis’ Birthday messages. Not only did these groups create an outlet for fans to share, but other fans began interacting with each other around these creations through the timed comments showing support, bringing another level of fan community.

This is a prime example of how SoundCloud groups enables you to interact with a wide range of creators in both music and audio spheres, and we’re always keen to support these types of creator initiatives: find the most suitable context for you as an artist and invite creators to participate as part of your larger campaign. For more inspiration, explore more groups here.

Creator Opportunities, Contextualized: Red Fang’s Guitar Solo Contest

In conjunction with MetalSucks.net, IndieMerchstore, and ourselves, Relapse Records recently launched the Red Fang guitar solo contest, encouraging new and existing fans alike to shred along to Red Fang’s new single “Blood Like Cream.”

Removing the original guitar solo, Relapse hosted the track on their SoundCloud profile allowing entrants to download it and create their own gnarly solos over the top. The band will eventually pick their favorite, and the winner will receive a prize package including a one of a kind custom pedal from guitarist David Sullivan.

As Bob Lugowe from Relapse explains -

‘”We decided to run this contest with Red Fang because guitar solos are totally awesome and Red Fang are equally awesome.  The band has some rabid fans who we assumed knew a thing or two about shredding so we decided to remove the solos from their single “Blood Like Cream” and let fans rip along to the track with their very own solos.  It has been another fun, engaging way to promote the record and we hope everyone who has participated gained some extra cool points in life.”’

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While the SoundCloud community boasts a strong electronic influence, it’s worth noting that outside of this there’s a whole wealth of genres expanding onto the platform: Hip-Hop and Pop are hugely popular, and Metal is certainly becoming more prevalent.

This contest is a prime example of how any creator can engage with the creator community: there are dozens of ways to contextualize these types of invites or calls to action to suit your own audience. From Relapse’s perspective, this gives them a chance to re-engage with their audience and offering something to them that’s a bit out of the ordinary for a Metal label and what’s extra great is that they’re discounting any production – in this contest it’s all about the skill of the shred rather than remixing capability or audio quality.

Little Mix: An Audio Strategy For Pop

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Our favorite new example of a creative use of audio and overall digital comes from the world of mainstream pop: girl group Little Mix take time out of their busy schedule to record regular updates for their fans, also known as “Mixers”, showcasing the power of voice.

Their regular “Mixers Monday” clips are weekly updates for their fans, consisting of a wealth of different content such as news, studio updates, announcements, vocal warm-ups and giggles (Like cats? You’ll love this.)

What’s most impressive about the Little Mix audio strategy is how well it represents the band, their genre and their fans.

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Federal Prism Offer Fans The Opportunity To Remix Unreleased Material

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“What we’ve learned from SoundCloud is that they’ve kind of established themselves as the biggest music site on the web, outside of maybe YouTube with music videos, but their level of engagement is different. They’re not just reaching listeners, but they’re reaching a lot of young producers. And this is the venue that our artists use to communicate with one another on music development, writing-remixing-sharing–and how they also share music with fans”

– Jeff Bowers, Federal Prism

Federal Prism, the infallible partnership spawned by TV On The Radio‘s Dave Sitek and music industry veteran Jeff Bowers, recently announced their latest endeavour – and boy, are we excited about it. Continue reading this article.

Big Sean On Engagement: The “Beware” Freestyle Competition

As the interaction between artists and fans continues to evolve in the digital sphere, Big Sean believes that connecting online with fans is just as meaningful as meeting them in person.

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The freestyle contest he recently launched, using SoundCloud to invite fans and aspiring rappers to throw their best 16 bars over the instrumental of his new single “Beware”, is a case in point:

“[...] If Kanye was like ‘Yo, send your 16 bars here, I’ll listen to it,’ that would have been awesome, so I put myself in that situation.”

You can listen to a full exclusive interview with Big Sean over on our creator blog, but we thought it’d be useful to highlight three key pointers which impacted the success of this campaign.

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C2C “Happy” Remix Contest: A Success Story

Four-time DMC World Championships winners C2C made the stems for their album cut ‘Happy’ available to download in early April, inviting new producers to remix their work. After being uploaded to a SoundCloud group, fans voted for their favourite in a remix application over on C2C’s website. A shortlist of ten has been drawn up, and now C2C have stepped in and nominated their five preferred re-workings.

In this blog post, we take a close look into the mechanics behind this. competition and find out what steps C2C took to make it such a roaring success.

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Chapel Club Good Together Remix Project

Adding an interesting twist to remix contests, Chapel Club recently pulled together a remix project for a previously unreleased song ‘Good Together,’ asked their fans to put their own spin on the track but then sell it via any digital outlet, and keep the money.

“We’re offering THE WHOLE WORLD the chance not only to REMIX THE TRACK, but to SELL their creations and KEEP THE MONEY. LOL.
So the deal is this: you can download these stems FOR FREE, remix the song and self-release it digitally via any online outlet you like. To find out how best to do this we’ve attached a little step-by-step guide, below.”

This was a relatively simple set up: the band embed a set of stems from their SoundCloud profile on to a splash page for their website alongside some T&Cs where they also provide detailed instructions on how to upload the remixed tracks to Tunecore and CDBaby. What is worth noting here is that Chapel Club state that they retain the publishing rights, meaning that if a fan’s remix does particularly well they’ll still get their publishing cut. Hey presto, fan engagement with an alternative revenue stream.

For more information on competitions using SoundCloud mechanics head to our Contests 101.