For up-and-coming musicians, Soundcloud remains one of the top sites for hosting music and sharing it with an audience. However, much has changed recently -- strategies that may have worked in recent years may now be ineffective or even counteractive to your goals. This article aims to provide you with up-to-date tips and strategies for effectively promoting your music on Soundcloud in 2018 and beyond.

The Basics
Take the time to set up your Soundcloud correctly. What does this entail? For starters, get a professional, high-resolution graphic or photo for your display picture. Seems obvious, but ask anyone who browses Soundcloud for new music and they'll tell you how often they see pixelated, grainy, unprofessional display pictures.

Don't go with the 'default' Soundcloud banner that is just a blended color gradient. Upload a banner image (2480px x 520px) that matches your display picture or at least compliments it. Fiverr and similar sites are filled with graphic designers who do this type of work inexpensively. And if you don't want to spend the money getting one made, you can always browse HD royalty free image sites and find one there -- sites like Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels come to mind.

Make sure your contact information and relevant social media pages are listed. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity because a label / promoter / etc. couldn't find a good way to contact you. Many will not use Soundcloud's messaging system, as it is rife with spam and unsolicited messages.

Paid Promotion Services
There is no shortage of websites promising to make your song go 'viral' for a fee. But how many of these Soundcloud promotion services are the real deal? Unfortunately, not many. Most sites fail to mention how they bring visitors to your page. This isn't necessarily a red flag -- maybe they're guarding a proprietary method and don't want others copying it -- but if you inquire about it and the answer they give you seems fishy, maybe look for another provider whose methods are transparent and straight-forward.

Be discerning in who you buy these services from. If you get a bunch of spammy bots interacting with your songs, there's no real way to reverse it on your end -- blocking the accounts seems to be the best you can do. Many artists who fall victim to these scammy services end up deleting the song and re-uploading it, losing all their legitimate stats and engagement (likes/reposts) in the process.

Most people can easily tell if you've got bot accounts engaging with your page -- their display pictures don't look real and the usernames usually follow a pattern like First-name Last-name ### (eg. John Smith 399, Sally Jenkins 447). Sometimes they don't have pictures at all and use Soundcloud's default username (eg. User ########## -- User 6548345891). Real accounts will usually (but not always) have some kind of original username , and they'll stylize and personalize their page a bit. The music liked and reposted on their page will only span the few genres they're interested in. It's not often that someone likes majorly differing genres, so if someone is repost hip-hop, big room, country, and death metal, that could be seen as suspicious.

Check if a website/business has independently verified reviews from real customers. If you aren't happy with the service you receive, don't be afraid to ask for your money back.

Repost Pages
Some Soundcloud pages with high amounts of followers will offer to 'repost' your song to their page for a fee. Like other Soundcloud promotion services, these can be hit-or-miss. Do some due diligence before spending money here - a quick overview of their followers to see if the accounts look real, viewing other songs reposted to their page their stats, etc.

Soundcloud Pro: Worth It?
Having Soundcloud Pro isn't a necessity, but it definitely helps. You can rank-order your best songs at the top of the page, whereas free accounts can only order songs chronologically by upload date.

A bonus of having a Pro account is their statistics and analytics section. If you're buying Soundcloud promotion services as detailed above, the analytics section is an easy way to tell whether the traffic you're receiving is legitimate or not.

None Of This Matters If...
The quality of your music is always priority #1 when it comes to promoting your Soundcloud page. You can have the best artwork in the world and only buy promotion services from top quality providers, but if your music is bad -- whether it be your singing ability, the mix, etc. -- then all your efforts will be in vain. Tossing unfinished/unmixed music on Soundcloud isn't bad per se if your goal is simply to get feedback; just don't waste your money promoting these type songs, only promote music that is your best work and sounds professional.

In Conclusion
Don't listen to nay-sayers who badmouth Soundcloud as a platform, say it's "dead" or some other such nonsense. It's still a premier music sharing service and one of the highest traffic websites in the world. Good music still shines through and gets noticed all the time. Just keep your expectations in check -- building a legitimate following isn't an overnight endeavor, it takes both time and strategy. Be smart in your approach, do your due diligence before spending money and always put your best work forward.

Author's Bio: 

Misty Jhones