How To Get More Plays on SoundCloud: 7 Killer Strategies (2023)

As an artist, you are responsible for promoting your own music. So how do you promote yourself to get more plays on SoundCloud?

Here are 5 rock-solid SoundCloud promotion strategies that are relevant for the music industry in 2023. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll learn:

  • The truth about SoundCloud and promotion
  • One thing you need to get right before you start promoting yourself
  • How to leverage existing audiences to maximize your plays

By following these strategies, you can increase the number of plays you’ll get on SoundCloud, as well as followers and likes. Let’s go! 👇

A Brief Note to How Get More Plays on Soundcloud

SoundCloud has made changes within the last few years where the home page is no longer your stream. This means that people who follow you aren’t always going to be finding your music when it comes out.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
Spotify is a much more popular option these days for listening to music, and it allows you to reach a wider audience.

Including key services like Spotify and Apple Music in 2023 is crucial in unlocking the full power of promotion and marketing.

Apart from that, let’s dive into the 7 best strategies that will get you more plays on Soundcloud 👇

Strategy 1: Make (Actually) Great Music

While it is possible to promote crap music, it never survives the ultimate test: the opinion of the audience.

No matter how much PR or marketing you give a track, if it’s really average, then nobody wants to listen, and you won’t get plays.

Never forget this golden rule of music promotion – your music is the marketing. You don’t just market music, it’s inherently linked to the promotion process.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
One of my earlier tracks, ‘Carpark Anxiety’, has only gotten 900 plays in 3 years, even though I sent it to a lot of people. Why? Nobody wanted to share it, because it’s very average.

People don’t buy a vacuum cleaner if they don’t want one, so people won’t listen to music if they don’t like it. This is especially true on Soundcloud, where the barrier of entry is so low that a lot of horrible music gets uploaded, meaning listeners have more to sift through.

I’ve found over time that artists and producers (especially those who want a career) tend to overestimate the quality of their music. I did in the early days, and you can go and listen to my really old music and hear the improvement over time.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
One of my newer drum & bass tracks, a bootleg of Porter Robinson’s Get Your Wish, got a lot of plays and was shared a lot more, because this track is much higher quality than my old stuff.

Should You Upload Everything to Get More Plays on Soundcloud…?

But this begs the question – should I upload my music if it’s not 100% there yet? This is arguable, but on a platform like SoundCloud, the stakes are much lower, with removing tracks being just a click away.

Plus, you’re likely to get valuable feedback from the public if you ask for it, allowing you to gauge what will and won’t work.

So while promoting music online is important, getting feedback and taking that into the studio will prove to be a much more valuable use of time.

music studio

So how do I make my music ‘better’? That’s another topic entirely, and that’s also why we have courses like EDM Foundations and Songwriting for Producers.

But a few pointers:

  • Make sure your core musical ideas are solid – production, mixing and mastering won’t matter otherwise
  • Get feedback from listeners, tastemakers and other artists
  • Be patient and keep making a large volume of music

Strategy 2: Pay for Your Soundcloud Account

There’s no getting around it – if you truly want your music career to take off, you’ll have to invest some money in it.

This is also true of Soundcloud, where a lot of great features are only available for premium accounts.

In 2023, Soundcloud offers the following plan premium plan: Next Pro.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
Soundcloud’s premium plan

Here’s what’s included inside:

  • Unlimited tracks upload (compared to a maximum of 3 hours in the free plan)
  • Integrated distribution to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music
  • Custom Tracks Spotlight, allowing you to highlight specific tracks on your profile
  • Advanced listener stats and insights
  • New uploads get automatically pushed to your 100 most loyal fans

Truth be told, a paid Soundcloud account is essential if you’re serious about boosting your stats.

Strategy 3: Make Sure Your Account is Up-To-Date to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

We’ve also covered this in our Top Spotify Hacks, but keeping an up-to-date profile page is key.

Firstly, make sure to write a short, compelling bio. This can be the same bio you have on your Spotify profile page:

Write a compelling bio
Write a compelling bio

Describe the genre you produce as well as a little bit about yourself. If you’ve had any notable releases or major events you played at, include them here too.

Next, make sure your profile and background pic are updated.

Artists will sometimes update their background pic to feature their latest release. That’s a great idea, but make sure to keep it up-to-date. Ideally, your profile pic should be the same as the one on Spotify for consistency’s sake.

Finally, make sure your social media handles are updated:

Keep your social media handles up-to-date!
Keep your social media handles up-to-date!

If you’ve stopped using a social media, then remove the link. Nobody wants to head to your Twitter profile only to find out you’ve haven’t posted since 2015 😅

Strategy 3: Leverage Existing Audiences to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

This might be confusing to say, but it’s true.

There are people who are always going to be better at marketing music than you. So don’t reinvent the wheel, use these people to your advantage.

People dedicate their lives to finding and sharing music to audiences that love it, so you.

Find channels on Soundcloud that can share your music to larger numbers of people than you ever could.

This could come in the form of

  • Repost channels
  • Other artists with bigger followings
  • Promotional channels
  • Labels/collectives
  • Playlisters
how to get more plays on soundcloud
The almighty Repost button

Don’t ignore offsite audiences as well. Just because they don’t have larger audiences on SoundCloud, doesn’t mean a blog or YouTube channel can’t send lots of plays your way.

Make sure to utilize:

  • Blogs
  • Hype Machine
  • YouTube Channels
  • Spotify Playlists
  • Influencers (e.g. vloggers, Instagram accounts)
  • Radio stations (some play directly off SoundCloud!)

The key here is to find channels that are a good fit for your music. Don’t go messaging someone just because they have a lot of followers. They are already looking for very specific kinds of music for their tastes.

So play a few of their previous uploads/shares and make a decision. Don’t be too scared if your music isn’t exactly the same as what’s already there, but if it’s too different, it’ll likely get a pass.

Once you know who to send music to, then you need to figure out how.

Strategy 4: Email is still King

How do you send a message:

  • that you know the recipient will get
  • that goes to a place they check very often
  • that is simple and clear
  • using something everyone has
  • that doesn’t rely on a platform that could be gone soon

The answer? Email. It’s old, but it’s still the best. How does this relate back to SoundCloud you might ask?

Email for Networking

Everyone has an email. Artists. Labels. Promo channels. Repost channels. Avid music fans. And you can communicate with them through this channel, no matter if they have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or not.

I got my biggest play numbers out of email networking, including a top placement on one of Majestic Casual’s weekly playlists on Soundcloud. In this case, it was a form that sends them an email, but the point still stands.

An Actual Case Study about How to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

Here’s an example of me emailing my track to someone for a YouTube upload, and look at the difference in response time.

Screen Shot 2019 07 18 at 4.59.07 pm
The first email I sent.
Screen Shot 2019 07 18 at 4.59.11 pm
The response time.

I got a response in less than 24 hours!

Granted, this won’t usually be the case for huge names in the industry, but email networking works.

Not to say that you can’t use avenues like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those channels are great but always try email first. And use the Hubspot extension to track email opens, you’ll thank me later.

To make this easier, you’ll want to be making a list of emails of relevant people you can send your music to. Just use Google Sheets or Excel.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
I personally use a software called Notion (has database functionality) to track YouTube channels, Soundcloud pages, labels and more. I’ve blanked out the emails for privacy.

A few tips & tricks about sending emails:

  • Be concise – the recipient is likely already time-poor, so get to the point.
  • Send them a SoundCloud link – it’s the easiest to listen to, and you can make it downloadable.
  • Be conversational – don’t just send a link, actually treat the person on the other end like a human, and you’ll get treated like one too.
  • Personalise messages – CC’ing a large list never works, and it often annoys people, especially if people ‘Reply All’. Send one message at a time and once again, treat them like a human.
  • Follow up – not everybody is in a position to do something the first time around. Follow up in a week or two (depending on the person) if they haven’t replied.

If you want more promo email etiquette tips, check out this list from an industry professional.

Building a List

With the decline of plays on SoundCloud (due to the lower visibility of the ‘Stream’), it’s important your core audience still gets to hear your music when it’s released, and what better way to this than email marketing?

how to get more plays on soundcloud
ToneDen offers free download gates that you can use to gather emails.

If you’re familiar with download gates like ToneDen and The Artist Union, perhaps start using them to gather people’s email addresses. If you’re a Bandcamp user, you can grab email addresses on checkout too. That way, you can build a list to send your music to next time you have something to release!

Once you’ve got a list, you need to find a email marketing service. Symphonic Distribution compiled a list of the best email marketing platforms for musicians, so make sure to give that a read.

Strategy 5: Repost Chains to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

This is one of the most useful tools to get more plays on SoundCloud. And it is an effective way to garner the force of multiple accounts in a simple, automated way.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
You can tell when the repost chain kicked in on my latest track.

In essence, a repost chain is simply a group of people who automatically repost a track, each at a timed interval, to maximise exposure. A service like SCPlanner allows you to do this effortlessly.

Just get a few music buddies in a chain and one person submits new tracks to the chain. As each of you gains followers, you multiply the reach each time.

how to get more plays on soundcloud

How to Join a Repost Chain

There are a few ways you can join or create a repost chain:

  • Producer friends – get your inner circle together and signup to a repost chain. That way you get a guaranteed baseline of exposure every time you upload a track.
  • Bigger chains – a lot of people on Facebook groups etc. are looking for accounts to join repost chains, because the bigger it gets, the more valuable. The only caveat is usually you need at least a certain number of followers to join these (e.g. 5000+ followers only)
  • Random chains – if you just need exposure, try Googling ‘repost chain’ and you’ll see a bunch of results for submissions to certain chains. Some of these require payment, be wary. Also, these aren’t necessarily an effective way to gain promotion, as you could get a lot of plays that don’t mean much. So be selective.

Sounds good, right? Hold up, there are a few things to consider before joining a chain.

Firstly, make sure you’re okay with reposting the music in that chain. Does it fit with your brand, or will it annoy your followers? Even though the numbers can be appealing, hold off if you think it’ll damage your brand.

Also, some people have a problem with repost chains because it ‘abuses the repost feature’, so have a think if this works for you or not. Personally, I think it’s fine as long as you repost music you like.

Looking to boost your streams on Spotify instead? Check out our 13 free tips in our latest guide here 🔥

Strategy 6: Leverage the Free Download Option to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

In my opinion, the Free Download is one of Soundcloud’s most powerful tool.

Firstly, enabling a free download is the quickest way to get a track into the hands of a DJ.

how to get more plays on soundcloud
Enabling the Free Download option

This is because people don’t download tracks to play them on their computer. They download them to play them in mixes. Secondly, using Download Gates is one of the best ways to increase Followers, and ultimately the number of plays on Soundcloud.

If you’ve never heard of Download Gates, here’s the TL;DR.

A Download Gate lets you set a number of “steps” that people need to complete before downloading your track. Most of the time, these can include:

  • Follow your artist page
  • Like the track
  • Repost the track
  • Comment on track
  • Provide their email address

Based on the size of your audience, and how confident your are, you can decide to add more or less steps. I find that asking people to follow, like and repost your track is a good compromise.

Adding gate steps with Hypeddit
Adding gate steps with Hypeddit

The most popular service is called Hypeddit. It’s free, but you can also get a premium account to unlock more download steps (such as automatic emails to fans, and cross-platform following).

Strategy 7: Make Your Music Discoverable

Now that the ‘Discover’ tab exists on Soundcloud, the aim is to get your music featured on this new avenue of discovery.

The best way to do that is metadata. Tell Soundcloud what your music is, and give it the best chance on the platform.

There are a few key ways to do this:

  • Correct Genre tags
  • Relevant track tags
  • Name your track appropriately
  • Utilize the description
  • Get other engagement (likes, comments etc.)

You might be wondering why I’ve bolded ‘Correct Genre tags’, and that’s because it’s probably one of the most important factors in SoundCloud deciding where your music will be placed.

Screen Shot 2019 07 18 at 5.16.44 pm
You can see one of San Holo’s latest tracks is tagged as ‘Electronic’, which is one of the default options when creating your track. Soundcloud likes this because it knows who to show the track to.

Beyond that, the more metadata SoundCloud has, the more opportunities it can give that track on the platform, not only with ‘Discover’ but also with the ‘Charts’ feature, especially when it gets more plays.

Relevant metadata goes beyond the platform into other services like Google, meaning your music will come up in search results too.


Because Google reads text, not your mind, and if it can see who you are and what your music’s called, it’ll help your chances of showing up. Pretty neat.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Buy to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

Everyone wants to take the easy road, right? But oftentimes it’s simply not worth it.

For a few thousand extra plays in the short term, you can damage your career, risk your account getting shut down, or simply lose the trust of your true fans. Plus, it’s against SoundCloud’s Terms of Use.

I had to mention this here because it’s often something people consider when they’re looking to up their Soundcloud game. The same can be said for likes and followers, and other platforms too. These stats are fake and don’t provide organic growth.

The Bigger Picture about How to Get More Plays on Soundcloud

Like I already said, marketing and promoting your music should go beyond SoundCloud.

Plays aren’t the only thing to consider either.

Yet it’s hard to promote your music well without a lot of money.

That’s why we made our guide about promoting your music on a budget. You can grab it free below:

If you have questions about marketing and promoting your music, let me know at [email protected] – I’d be happy to answer.

Want more promotion and marketing tips? Check out 15 more here.

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