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SoundCloud: Beyond its Years


When I was eight-years-old, I was in second grade. I had a crush on a boy named Austin, the most amazing teacher, Mrs. Touvelle, and my best friend was a girl named Jazzy. I lived in a two-story house in Mission Viejo, California, that had a pond and a palm tree on the inside and a laundry shoot that my siblings, my cousins, and I used to climb using our hands and feet. I shared a room with my mom, older sister, and younger brother, and our room connected to the outside balcony that had a spiral staircase down to the backyard. Now, these are all great memories, but at eight-years-old, they’re not anything particularly significant. On the other hand, SoundCloud, at eight-years-old, is changing lives.

SoundCloud is a music sharing platform that allows anyone with an account to upload originally-created music. They are given a distinctive URL, so that artists and songs are easy to find. From there, with just a click, artists and listeners can share the songs they like to other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. With sharing and timed comments (each song is displayed via wavelengths, where listeners can imbed comments to specific parts of a song), quick feedback is available to the artists. It’s easily accessible, constructive, and—even better—free, making it a good sharing option for all music-makers.

Regardless of its young age, SoundCloud has helped artists in the hip-hop world make moves. Chance the Rapper, the Chicago-based rapper, originally released Acid Rap on SoundCloud. “Juice,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” and “Favorite Song” were three of the most popular songs from that album, with 28.6, 35.8, and 45.1 million listens, respectively. Acid Rap was very significant to Chance’s career, and because SoundCloud made his music easily accessible to hip-hop fans, it greatly contributed to his success. I thank goodness that Chance found success, too, ‘cause the world is blessed to have an album like Coloring Book.

Fetty Wap is a SoundCloud legend for fans of the kind of mumble-rap-trap-music that’s popular today. “My Way” and “679,” two of his most popular singles from his self-titled album, first made an appearance on SoundCloud, which have 6.06 and 48.4 million listens each. His most recent radio song, “Wake Up,” has 40.4 million listens on SoundCloud. However, no one will ever forget “Trap Queen.” I swear, it’s like I heard “Trap Queen” randomly on the “Charts” section of SoundCloud one second, and the next second, it was on every radio station. In May of 2015, I went to Las Vegas with my best friend for her 21st birthday. One of my favorite memories is hearing “Trap Queen” come on in a casino, and stopping in the middle of the casino to dance to it. Little did we know, that would be far from the last time we heard “Trap Queen” while we were out that weekend. Today, “Trap Queen” has 144 million listens on SoundCloud.

SoundCloud makes my first eight years of life seem like a joke. While I was climbing laundry shoots and running down spiral staircases, SoundCloud was starting careers for up-and-coming hip-hop acts. SoundCloud continues to help the careers of hip-hop artists, too. Songs like “X” by 21 Savage featuring Future, “BROCCOLI” by D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty, and Chill Bill by Rob $tone are just a few that can be found on today’s SoundCloud “Charts” section. These songs have drawn attention to these artists, given radio stations content to play, and provided listeners with some really dope tracks. Much like Common, SoundCloud is only going to get better with age: so, if it’s only eight-years-old now, what’s it gonna do at 20?

Nerissa Lesser is a UC Santa Barbara graduate currently living in Long Beach, California. With a mind for literature and a heart for hip-hop, she’s a lil’ lady just looking for a way to express both passions.

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