Is SoundClick dead?
Within the online musician’s community, SoundClick.com is a widespread choice for selling beats and songs. The website, set up in 1997, has over 4 million registered users and 500,000 band accounts. However, while SoundClick is well-recognised and established, the site is in fact terribly outdated and rapidly losing in popularity, and there are a host of better websites to sell music out there. If you’re an artist and still using SoundClick as your primary source of income online, it might be time to switch. Here are 10 reasons for why SoundClick is a bad website for selling your beats and music, particularly if you are a Hip Hop artist:
1. The SoundClick moderators hate Hip Hop artists and producers
SoundClick.com was originally set up by two brothers, Tanju Canli and Tolgar Canli, as an artist community website bringing together primarily indie, folk and rock fans. The website today is also managed by moderators Allyson Byrd, Phil Heesen and Monica Crown. It was never intended as a platform for Hip Hop producers to sell beats on, and it is well-known that the SoundClick founders and moderators, all of whom are avid rock fans, are not at all pleased that their website was hijacked by Hip Hop music. Duly, they have largely lost interest in their site (other than collecting their monthly cheques) and will seldom pass up an opportunity to lock down a member profile that is under violation of their illusive ‘terms of service’.
2. SoundClick does nothing to cater to the needs of producers
As SoundClick was never intended to be a platform for selling beats, there are no built in features specifically for producers. Unlike other beat selling websites, it is not even possible for your customers to purchase beats directly from the site. The only way around this is by purchasing a VIP band account for $9.99 per month which lets you edit your member page’s html code, and inserting a PayPal ‘buy now’ button or a widget from an external beat selling site such as Music Centro. There are no professional looking profile templates to choose from, no options to mark beats as sold, to upload anything but a standard mp3 file, or to schedule your music uploads. Over the years producers have found workarounds for some of these issues yet they will require significant time and monetary investment such as hiring a professional designer to edit your page’s code for you.
3. The customer service is terrible
Though SoundClick have a support email, from speaking to many other SoundClick users it is rare for them to ever reply to account issues, especially when they feel that you have violated their terms of service. The SoundClick moderators will lock down member profiles or even delete them entirely without any warnings or reasoning given, often destroying years of hard work, thousands of dollars spent on promotion and designs and hundreds of music uploads. Even if you carefully read their terms of service (which will take you about 1 minute) and think you are following all the rules, you may run afoul of randomly practiced policies such as ‘1 artist 1 account’ which designates that if you have more than 1 SoundClick account it can be deleted at any time. It’s a shame they don’t mention that one in the terms of service, since many artists and producers that joined the site 10 years ago signed up with 2 or 3 pages for various projects or joined beat teams that have both group and individual pages. It’s also a shame that the same rules don’t seem to apply to the producers that spend hundreds of dollars on SoundClick’s own promotion services. If you’re a Hip Hop artist or producer that uses samples, don’t even bother uploading your material to SoundClick as your page will likely end up in the recycle bin. There are many further prominent examples of artists being banned from SoundClick for issues as fickle as uploading a new song into the wrong music category. Oh, and if you’re expecting a refund from SoundClick for your paid VIP subscription or promotion services after having your page deleted, don’t hold your breath. There are plenty of examples online of artists getting scammed out of their money by SoundClick – don’t become a victim.
4. SoundClick is swamped with too many artists
SoundClick.com today is swamped by a huge number of amateur musicians trying to make a quick buck. They aggressively undercut everyone’s prices or upload tons of material that swamp the charts and make it very hard for established and new artists to be seen and rise up the charts. Even though only a small number of SoundClick’s 4 million users are actually active on the site, you will still be competing with so many people that your slice of the pie will be ever diminishing. The only way around this brings us to reason number 5.
5. To rise to the top of the charts you have to cheat
The majority of the producers in the top charts at SoundClick right now are cheating. There, I said it. What many people still don’t realise is that it is very easy to cheat the SoundClick charts and have bots send automated requests to SoundClick.com to boost your plays, sending you up the charts. If you type ‘buy soundclick promotion’ into Google or search Fiverr for ‘soundclick promotion’ you will find hundreds of websites offering you a golden ticket to the top of the charts! For new artists on SoundClick, this is often the only way to get any kind of visibility and sales. However, as more and more artists are cheating and SoundClick seems unable or uninterested to do anything about it, it will cost you more and more money to reach the top and stay there. That’s assuming getting to the top of the charts will even be worthwhile by significantly raising your sales, which increasingly is not the case.
6. It’s virtually impossible to buy promotion
SoundClick claim that the best legitimate way for artists to climb their charts is to buy their own promotion services. This includes sponsored song and band posts on their home page and the chart pages. However, these promotions are pretty much impossible to purchase as they are always booked out. The promotion spots are reset at midnight, central US time. If you are in a different time zone, you may have to get up at 5 am and click the refresh button in your browser like a mad man in the hopes of securing a spot, as you will be competing against thousands of other artists trying to do the same. The other major issues with SoundClick promotion is the price. A home page feature costs $200 a day! A single day will definitely not be enough to take you to the top of the charts, you will need 2-3 consecutive days at a minimum. It’s no wonder that everyone is cheating instead, as it will cost you a lot less than $600 and won’t be a game of potluck.
7. The site is never updated
If SoundClick.com looks like the remnants of a website built in the 1990s, it’s because it is. The site looks more or less identical to how it did when it was first launched, and the owners have done very little to improve the features, security or design. The site still runs on Flash and has no support for HTML5, the standard for most music websites these days. For years now, members logging into SoundClick have been greeted by a support message promising a SoundClick Version 4 website upgrade that never materialised, like an eternal memorial of the owners’ lost interest in the site.
8. It’s easy for people to steal your music
If you’re worried about the security of your beats and songs online, then stay away from SoundClick. Files that are stored on the site are completely unsecured and even if you disable the download options for your tracks, anyone can access them by simply copy and pasting the direct url for the file into their browser address bars. For producers kind enough to upload untagged beats to SoundClick, you will probably find them on a thousand streaming and torrent websites before the end of the day.
9. The traffic is rapidly declining
SoundClick is well past its prime now, and traffic to the site is rapidly declining. Where in 2012 it was still ranked around 4000 amongst the world’s most popular sites in terms of visitors, it is now already down to almost 8000 and losing hundreds of places every day. Many artists and producers are leaving the site and customers, fans and listeners are looking elsewhere to get their music fix. Due to all the points mentioned previously, this is hardly a surprise. If you are still joining SoundClick as a new artist now, you should be wary of the fact that you are joining a sinking ship.
10. There are so many better options out there
There are a vast amount of music and beat selling websites or promotional sites for artists available today. Some of the most popular ones include SoundCloud, CDBaby, Music Centro, Beat Stars and Myflashstore. Even platforms like YouTube are becoming increasingly popular for musicians looking to bring their work to the masses. What all of these websites have in common, is that unlike SoundClick, they work hard to keep their members happy and are constantly updated and improved. With this in mind, as a musician who has spent over a decade promoting and selling online, I would strongly urge you to consider your alternatives before setting up shop on SoundClick.com. If you’d like to find out more about some of the music sites I mentioned, you can read my article about the best website to sell beats online.
By: Anno Domini.