The streaming era is producing its own music stars and SoundCloud is tapping the industry's tastemakers to help you discover them. Putting its financial woes aside for a minute, the service is doubling down on playlists promoting its fresh artists across genres (hip-hop, electro) and moods (morning routines, first dates). This time it's getting a little help from music journalists including former Pitchfork editor-in-chief, Mark Richardson; electronic music critic, Philip Sherburne; hip-hop reporter, Sowmya Krishnamurthy; and Pitchfork and Rolling Stone contributor, David Turner.
You'll also find entire mixes ("The Feed") based on an artist's SoundCloud activity -- the tracks they like, follow, or repost -- starting with sad rap breakout, Juice WRLD, whose debut LP is currently sitting atop the Billboard 200 albums chart for the second week in a row. Like streaming juggernaut Post Malone, Juice WRLD got his start uploading tracks to SoundCloud. And the new playlists are designed to highlight SoundCloud's status as a hotbed for new talent.
SoundCloud's timing couldn't be more apt. Today, 17-year-old Billie Eilish -- a musician arguably birthed by streaming services, and this year's most-streamed female artist on Spotify behind Ariana Grande -- released her debut album. Meanwhile, Lil Nas X just ignited a debate about the absurdity of genre charts after Billboard removed his trap-country mash-up Old Town Road from the Hot Country Songs chart -- his ascension fueled by TikTok videos and radio plays of his viral hit ripped from YouTube. The industry is clearly undergoing a seismic shift.
SoundCloud is also hoping to get you talking with like-minded music fans on its new Community pages. The list includes "Hustle" (for hip-hop heads), Shine (pop), and The Peak (all forms of electro). "The full SoundCloud curation experience features nearly 1.7 million unique creators heard a week, compared to a few hundred thousand on other music services," wrote SoundCloud in a blog post. "That means more new music for you, and more opportunities for creators to connect with fans and grow their careers."