Minus Youtube, there are hundreds of different music websites you can use to promote your music, Soundcloud and Mixcloud being two of the most popular. Here’s what I’ve taken from my experience of both music websites.
As someone who has DJ’d for almost ten years now, I have often sought to get my music uploaded to the internet so I can showcase the and promote myself at the same time. During this period, I have often uploaded my mixes to two of the biggest online distribution platforms, Soundcloud and Mixcloud, and over the years have come to know the two platforms relatively well.
Soundcloud is far bigger than the two in user size - with some 175 million unique listeners per month and around 12 hours of content being uploaded each minute. The sheer amount of activity is staggering and can really help create connections through its user base, with the ability to directly message though Soundcloud itself to other artists and musicians whose music you may enjoy or want to try and get your tracks heard by.
The websites layout is simplistic, bright, engaging and is easy to navigate as a listener and, overall, is far more refined as a music streaming platform than its rival Mixcloud, which does not allow for track downloads like Soundcloud does. As a free user, you are able to see basic analytics on your tracks such as plays, shares, likes and downloads. The Soundcloud Pro account options allow you to delve deeper into listener locations and your ‘top fans’ and Soundcloud Pro Unlimited allowing even further details such as which formats your tracks are being played through. (e.g. Soundcloud itself, Facebook etc.)However, this is not to say it does not have its setbacks...
Due to Soundcloud’s ever increasing popularity, it has in recent times been under threat from record labels threatening legal action due to breaching copyright laws and this has led to the website implementing procedures to try and stop unwanted law suits.
Though this is more than understandable for a large online distribution platform, it has had its knock on effects - most notably with large amounts of DJ’s turning their backs on the website as their mixes are continuously taken offline for not being the sole creators of the tracks that they use to mix with. Furthermore, Soundcloud has an upload limit of 3 hours for anybody using a basic free Soundcloud account (though this can upgraded to a 6 hour or unlimited account if you are willing to pay for it) which has again hindered me somewhat when trying to upload multiple mixes which are over an hour in length.
How does Mixcloud Compare?
Mixcloud is not quite the juggernaut it’s rival is- pulling in around 10 million unique listeners a month and boasting around 4 hours of content uploaded each minute. It offers users the ability to communicate with one another via comments on tracks, but unlike Soundcloud, does not have a direct messaging system on its website. It does, however, offer users an unlimited upload amount for free, with Pro accounts offering extras such as the ability to schedule releases, highlighting certain music you want to promote or measure listener engagement. This allows you see which parts of an upload people listened to the most, or at which point they stopped listening.
It’s website layout and design is not quite as sleek and refined as Soundcloud either, but it’s simplicity to navigate makes it easy for listeners to find what they’re looking for, which is perfect when promoting your music.
Mixcloud is far more catered towards longer track uploads, such as podcasts, radio shows or DJ mixes and this is apparent with the option of being able to ‘timestamp’ your uploads, allowing featured artists on a radio show/ mix to obtain the recognition they deserve. Using this ‘timestamp’ feature, not only can content creators make interactive playlists for their mixes/ playlist, but Mixcloud are also able to get around certain copyright issues which Soundcloud falls victim to. As a DJ this is very appealing to me, knowing that my music won’t be taken down several hours after uploading it and that my listeners can take note of any tracks they like from my mixes.
Mixcloud also further cements it’s efforts to appeal to a more DJ based community by hosting several mix competitions on its site, though hundreds of mixes may get entered and the chances of winning one may seem slim, the fact that the site actively tries to encourage productivity is commendable... and great for online music promotion!
So, Mixcloud or Soundcloud?
As Mixcloud caters to DJ’s and radio shows specifically, music from bands, vocalists, word smiths etc. is incredibly limited. Soundcloud on the other hand has an almost limitless variety and depth of music at its disposal, with the website being tailored for a more broad spectrum of upcoming and current musical talent. It’s a definite choice for bands and artists trying to get a foot in in the music industry.
When choosing which of the two would be better for promoting your music, it’s worth considering which sort of music you are creating. Soundcloud is set up for promoting solo artists/ bands/ producers creating their own original work, as it offers far better networking and its website layout and design are more user friendly for artists who are looking for a basic platform to get their music promoted. I personally have found myself far more active on Mixcloud than Soundcloud in recent times- despite having originally uploaded my content to Soundcloud when I first started out. Mixcloud is set up primarily for DJ’s and, though its user base is still relatively small in comparison to Soundcloud, it is quickly establishing itself as THE place to upload your music mixes as a DJ.
Zach Moran is a talented writer and Birmingham-based DJ with a passion for all things Drum and Bass. Listen to his mixes, here!