That’s probably how SoundCloud feels these days too, as they’ve been dealing with their own set of fires lately, like losing a huge chunk of their user base, forcing out their CEO, and some major cash flow problems. I reported on some comments Deadmau5 had for the independent streaming service in the wake of vocalized support from Chance the Rapper (and that Deadmau5 doesn’t expect it’ll make much of a difference), but now rising hip-hop star producer Kaytranada is rumored to be joining the fight as well.
Kaytranada regularly uploads new material to SC, and this may be attributed to the idea that he still believes in the viability of the platform and its unique history of facilitating rapid growth and exposure for new artists. That doesn’t sound too improbable when you consider the success of blow-up acts like Lil Uzi Vert and Chance the Rapper, who both amassed major followings through SoundCloud early in their careers.
It’s worth noting, however, that Kay specifies that the new material is not “project related,” meaning that it doesn’t have anything to do with a new EP or any other type of organized release. The three tracks are all beats with no lyrics, possibly released so that listeners and other artists can collaborate and lay out their own bars. To me, that seems more like a move to maintain his SC fan base (all 583k of them) than an outright gesture of allegiance to the platform. Because SC offers itself as a free service, anyone can download songs directly from the site. That makes it a great environment for collaborative efforts of this character, but it’s also the catch-22 for why it’s so popular and still doesn’t make any money (thus leading to the problems noted above).
All in all, regardless of how many up-and-coming artists are releasing content on SoundCloud, the site’s operational strategy still isn’t organized in a way that allows it to sustainably compete in a market dominated by other corporate streaming services, which are also dealing with issues of monetization (namely Spotify and Pandora). SC needs more than just artist endorsement if it’s going to stay above water.
Kaytranada’s three new tracks are below, bump them in your cubicle and get your freestyle on.