SoundCloud has now joined the club of streaming services and discovery apps with AI-powered vertical feeds to help introduce new artists. The vertical feed plays highlighted music clips, allowing users to check out the full song if interested. The feature was made popular largely by TikTok, followed by other short video and reel platforms soon after.
The new feature is still being tested by SoundCloud on both its Android and iOS apps. It’s currently available to only a select number of users.
The new discovery feed will suggest songs based on the user’s listening history and taste in music.
Users included in SoundCloud’s test can access the new feature through the “Discover” page under the “Feed” tab. It’s now accompanied by a following page, which shows music from artists followed by the user. In the past, the Feed tab served solely as the latter.
The Discover page is AI-powered and suggests music, even from new artists, as long as it matches the user’s tastes. Each suggestion is accompanied by a line that explains why exactly it showed up in the newsfeed, such as a similar song you may have liked or artists you follow.
The Discover Page doesn’t play full songs – only highlighted clips. Users can listen to the full version and view more information on the track by hitting the play button.
Good news for small artists
The introduction of the music discovery feature on SoundCloud is great news for small artists without a sizable fan base. By suggesting their music track to users who might like them, the Discovery Page will help them gain more exposure. TikTok and other apps with such vertical feeds have already helped small artists greatly in the past.
SoundCloud acquired AI music curation company Musiio last year, specifically to improve music discovery on the platform.
When publishing music, artists can select a 30-second clip for the highlighted preview on the discovery page. Alternatively, they can also choose to let Musiio’s AI tech choose the best part to keep as preview clips.
Evidently, discovery feeds are growing more popular across music streaming apps. Spotify has been testing a similar feature for a few years now, although the company is yet to release it fully. Short clips and AI have also been used by other music discovery apps, like HotDrop and Smores.
Resso, a music streaming platform owned by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance primarily uses a vertical discovery feed too. However, unlike the rest, Resso’s discovery feed plays full songs instead of short clips.
SoundCloud’s consistent efforts to remain artist-friendly
SoundCloud introduced several fan-powered royalty programs in the last few years to create a more artist-friendly payment model. Instead of following a pro-rata model, the company distributes the subscription and ad revenues from each user among the artists they listen to.
As of now, SoundCloud hosts over 320 million music tracks from more than 40 million creators. The company also announced that the platform boasts 130 million engaged fans.
One might note that SoundCloud slashed its workforce by 20% last year in the face of “a significant company transformation and the challenging economic and financial environment.” It remains to be seen what the future holds for SoundCloud. However, one thing is certain – the new feature is a great addition and makes the platform even friendlier to small artists.