SoundCloud is a next-generation music entertainment company, powered by a community of artists and fans on the pulse of what’s new, now and next in culture. SoundCloud’s fan powered tools and services enable a unique and organic connection between artists and fans that doesn’t exist on any other platform and empowers artists to build and grow their careers in innovative ways. In 2021, the company continued its focus on leading what’s next in music and delivering authentic ways to deepen the artist-fan relationship including a slate of artist-led initiatives and editorial programming.
One of these initiatives was “SCENES,” an original music discovery docu-series from SoundCloud that takes an in-depth look into the hottest rising music communities and culture-shifting music collectives emerging and emanating on the platform. The series features interviews and music from artists, tastemakers, and advocates who are driving the future of multiple scenes. Through immersive storytelling, each episode explores the unique elements of each scene — from how community (vs. sound or genre) shaped the movement, and how the artists involved are younger, more DIY and more connected than ever before.
As the world’s largest open platform home to more than 30M artists heard in 190 countries, SoundCloud sees the emergence of micro communities — communities of fans and artists identifying themselves by a certain sound and who use that sound in a collaborative way to connect and communicate — everyday, and thus is able to play a unique role in spotlighting next-gen music landscapes.
In 2021, “SCENES” featured three episodes, all of which — due to the global COVID-19 pandemic — were created with footage captured virtually from Zoom interviews, as well as a mix of personal footage shot by the artists and the communities themselves featuring live performances and music creation, making them even more raw and organic, truly capturing the spirit of these communities:
Digicore: Shaped by a young, diverse, internet-inspired generation of DIY artists, the scene has been dubbed the “future of pop” with inventive music that embraces community spirit, future-facing production and boundless genre influences. SoundCloud worked with the artists leading the movement to spotlight the scene, including young innovators midwxst, d0llywood1 and Angelus. The episode launched along with a SoundCloud-exclusive Digicore playlist featuring emerging artists of the scene, which was one of top five most shared, reposted and ‘liked’ playlist on the platform in 2021.
PC Music: An innovative hyperpop movement brought to life by groundbreaking producer, singer and songwriter A.G. Cook and his record label PC Music; as part of the episode SoundCloud worked with Cook to release an exclusive mix “Dream Logic” featuring never-before-released tracks from artists of the scene. The mix was SoundCloud’s most-streamed DJ mix in 2021.
East African Underground: A fast-rising, emerging global community making alternative sounds across the region; as part of the episode SoundCloud worked with influential Kampala-based music collective and label Nyege Nyege to curate and release a new music compilation album “Music for the Eagles” featuring a variety of artists making music in East Africa and beyond. Music from the album featured on Mary Anne Hobbs’ acclaimed BBC 6 Music show, and the Nyege Nyege SoundCloud profile, which hosted the album, saw an 18K% increase in plays from the two months prior to dropping the album.
All three episodes debuted on SoundCloud’s YouTube channel and were amplified across the brand’s social channels. Together, the episodes saw almost 1.8M views across all platforms, increasing fan engagement, fostering new music discovery and positioning SoundCloud as the premiere destination for music discovery. In addition, the series received positive press reception in the top taste-making music and culture outlets including Dazed, Hypebeast, Paper, NME, OkayPlayer, DIY Mag, and more.
“SCENES” is a testament to the platform’s unique social nature, allowing artists to instantly upload their work without barriers and directly connect in real-time with fans and collaborators. From SoundCloud’s early days as home to the hottest remixes and unreleased tracks to the birth of brand new artists, sounds, and genres (like SoundCloud rap), the series underscores how SoundCloud has always been a place for emerging creatives to find their community, grow organically, and drive the future of music. “SCENES” will continue in 2022, as part of a slate of exciting initiatives in support of SoundCloud shaping a fan-powered future of music.