SoundCloud addresses what it calls the ‘Zero Plays’ problem with AI-powered First Fans feature – Music Business Worldwide

For new music artists, getting into the streaming business is getting harder every day.

The problem, simply, is the volume. By last count, there were an estimate 120,000 new tracks are uploaded to major streaming services every day. With so much audio content out there, attracting attention to a single new song can be virtually impossible for an independent artist.

The problem has become so acute that, according to data from Luminate, around 42% of all tracks uploaded to streaming services (approx 67 million songs) have had less than 10 plays. And almost a quarter 24%or about 38 million the tracks had no playback.

And with the arrival of mass-market AI musical tools boasting of their ability to create millions of original songs, the problem could get much worse in the coming months and years.

Music streaming service SoundCloud has decided to address this issue on its own platform, with a trial of a new feature it calls First Fans.

With First Fans, SoundCloud’s autoplay algorithm, which provides song suggestions to subscribers, will rate a newly uploaded track and recommend it to everyone 100 users with relevant music preferences.

SoundCloud points out that this doesn’t guarantee every new song 100 listen algorithm can suggest a track, but it cannot force a user to play it or force them to listen to it until the end.

The company is confident that the song will be presented to real listeners and not bots, because the tracks will be shown to users based on their activity and listening history

This would naturally disadvantage bot accounts, which typically lack this type of data, SoundCloud said in a statement.

To accomplish this, the autoplay algorithm will use AI technology developed by Musiio, a Singapore-based company that SoundCloud acquired last year. Musiio claims to have developed an artificial intelligence capable of listening to music on a large scale.

Musiio co-founder Hazel Savage told MBW in 2020 that the technology processes entire audio files to train artificial intelligence to look for patterns.

SoundCloud is currently testing First Fans with a select group of artists on the platform and, if successful, will roll out the technology more broadly, starting with artists signed up to Next Pro, its premium tier service for creators.

With 120,000 tracks that are released on music platforms daily, it would take a curator 330 years to listen to just one day of music uploads. So many great songs don’t even get a chance to be heard, Tracy Chan, SoundCloud’s chief content officer, wrote in a blog post.

Combining SoundCloud’s huge listener base with Musiios technology helps us understand what’s happening musically within your tracks using the technology, and allows us to match your music to listeners we think they’ll enjoy,” Chan explained.

With 120,000 songs released on music platforms per day, it would take a curator 330 years to listen to just one day of music uploads. So many great songs don’t even get a chance to be heard.

Tracy Chan, SoundCloud

Over the years, SoundCloud has expanded from its original role as a music hosting and streaming platform to an artist services company that offers its premium-tier subscribers tracking tools, listening reports, and even unlimited distribution to rival streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and more.

The company last year launched a service for particularly successful independent artists, giving them the ability to sign with SoundCloud, with the company paying upfront and investing in artist marketing in much the same way as a traditional record label.

Also last year, the company launched SoundCloud for Artists, a marketing and distribution service for musicians it described as an all-in-one platform for artists to connect with fans and accelerate their careers.

SoundCloud was among the pioneers of user-centric payment models for music streaming services. With its Fan-Powered Royalties system, the money from each individual subscriber’s monthly payment is distributed only among the artists who have listened.

This differs from the proportional model used by Spotify and others, where subscriber revenue is pooled and then shared based on the artist’s market share across the entire platform.

The system means SoundCloud has the granular data to determine exactly who an artist’s biggest listeners are, and based on that, last year it launched a tool called Fans, which allows artists to connect directly with their superfans. .

As of last year, approximately 135,000 artists on the SoundCloud platform were being paid via Fan-Powered Royalties. So far, Warner Music Group and Merlin have signed up for FPR.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music rights holder, is in talks with SoundCloud to change the way artists are paid for streams.

No details are available on how a new payment model would work, but the two companies are reportedly aiming to conclude negotiations by the end of the year.

As of 2021, SoundCloud had around 130 million registered users and around 30 million music creators had a SoundCloud account.Music business around the world

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