The Usefulness of Listener Geolocation With SoundCloud

by Morgan Troper in Announcements November 18, 2019

One of SoundCloud’s greatest features is the platform’s ability to geolocate listeners. In lay terms, this is when you’re able to see where in the world people are listening to your music from. Initially, this perk might seem like an afterthought—it is, after all, pretty cool to see this type of data regardless. But this tool can actually be immensely useful for a few reasons.

Geolocation is most obviously helpful for touring musicians—especially those who lack the resources to tour extensively, but who want to target areas where their music is popular. Despite the massive technological facelift the music industry’s been given over the past two decades, the model for touring remains more or less the same as it has always been; you and your band hop in a van and attempt to cover the most amount of ground possible.

For those with an established base—or for those with an unlimited amount of resources—this is still an ideal model. But for artists who are just starting out—especially those who lack the infrastructure of a booking agent and publicist—this type of touring doesn’t always make the most sense. (Unless you look at touring as primarily a “character building” exercise.) If you’re an artist living in the United States, for example, and you notice that most of your streams are coming from Berlin, it might be more worthwhile to plan a short DIY tour of Germany or contiguous Europe than North America. The hyper-specificity of SoundCloud’s geolocation—right down to the city—can be a big help when it comes to crafting a tour itinerary, and it’s informed my routing more than once.

Geolocation is also helpful when you’re running a grassroots PR and radio campaign around a new release. If you have a new single that’s racking up loads of plays from Minot, North Dakota on SoundCloud for some reason, you know that it might be a good idea to hit up the local paper there or maybe send a promo out to a college radio station. This targeted approach beats the older model—which consisted of sending out physical promos and one-sheets indiscriminately in the hope that your release would generate interest somewhere. It’s obviously still a good idea to tour as much as you can and to try and create excitement around your music in as many places as possible—but with geolocation, your campaigns and tours can ultimately be a lot more purposeful. Quality over quantity.

Morgan Troper is a Portland-based writer, producer, and musician with over 10 years of industry experience. He is the co-founder of the independent record labels Good Cheer Records and Day to Day Records