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SoundCloud explores underground music scenes in a miniseries

'SoundCloud Next Wave' starts on July 20th.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 17, 2017
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Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images for SoundCloud

SoundCloud isn't done exploring new avenues just because it's facing tough times. The streaming audio service is partnering with The Fader on a documentary miniseries, SoundCloud Next Wave, that spotlights underground music scenes in six cities ranging from New York to Rio de Janeiro. The first episode (which focuses on LA's burgeoning goth rap scene) premieres on SoundCloud's YouTube channel on July 20th at 10AM Eastern, and you'll get a new episode each month for the rest of 2017. It's something of a gamble for SoundCloud, but it might be one of the company's wiser strategies given some of its recent messes.

The service built its reputation on catering to those who enjoy listening to bleeding edge music like demos, remixes and bootlegs. Ideally, Next Wave exposes SoundCloud users to that kind of music and encourages them to come back for more. If you have a goth rap epiphany, you may be more likely to stream every bit of it that you can find... and SoundCloud will be ready and waiting.

The problem: is this the best use of SoundCloud's limited resources? That's not so clear. Underground scenes by their nature only cater to a small group, and there's no guarantee that they'll be big enough to make a dent in SoundCloud's bottom line. And it's not as if SoundCloud will stand out from the crowd when Apple and Spotify are producing their own video shows. Still, the potential gains are obvious. It's just a matter of whether or not they'll be enough to make a difference.

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