With over 320M tracks, SoundCloud is home to a global community that sets the pace of music culture. From the birth of SoundCloud Rap, to the globalization of Afro Beats from West Africa to the UK, to the non-binary techno boom in Germany, since 2007 SoundCloud is the place where niche sounds find their audiences and global communities thrive first before anywhere else.
The unique relationship between creators and fans on SoundCloud allows for massive underground followings to form organically on the platform, birthing new communities, movements, and scenes seemingly overnight.
By shining a light on the top communities of 2022, SoundCloud told the stories of the fringe creator communities changing music culture — spotlighting the sounds emerging on the platform and exciting artists who are connecting, collaborating, and creating new musical landscapes on SoundCloud first. SoundCloud Look Up (Presented by Sprite) highlighted the top 10 music scenes that sprung up and defined 2022 - Plugg, Drill, Phonk, UK Dance, SoCal Soul, Digicore, Brazil Funk, Jersey Club, Industrial Techno, and Afrobeats. From Atlanta, Chicago, London, and beyond, we saw these 10 communities hit the top of the SoundCloud charts well before exploding onto the mainstream airwaves. SoundCloud premiered six short-form videos, capturing the scenes that have not only blown up but are expected to continue to rise from data exclusive to SoundCloud.
Watch SoundCloud Look Up: HERE
Watch Digicore video: HERE
Watch Drill video: HERE
Watch Plugg video: HERE
Bringing the Look Up campaign to life required careful planning and execution to ensure that the final product was engaging, informative, and authentic to the SoundCloud story and brand. As seen by the results, the Look Up campaign thrived because it kept community and authenticity top of mind through each production phase.
The first step in the planning process was choosing the subgenres and music scenes that would be spotlighted in the film. We leveraged our internal Music Data Analysis team to determine which music scenes saw the most growth, popularity, and engagement in 2022. Through the scene selection process, we were also able to determine which artists, tracks, and cultural moments were integral to those scenes’ growth in 2022. After identifying the skeleton of our film through proprietary music data, we worked with a ragtag team of internal music experts, musicologists, scene-specific experts, and screenwriters to hone in on the key story points for each scene. In leveraging musicologists and scene-specific experts like music journalists Carter Fife (Complex, Pigeons and Planes, OnesToWatch) and Noah Seller (Backlight Org), as well as internal music experts like Jack Bridges (SoundCloud’s Dance and Electronic Lead) and Yannick ‘Thurz’ Koffi (SoundCloud’s Director of Artist Partnerships), we made sure authenticity was at the heart of our script. From there, we moved to production which involved a deep dive into our content catalog to pull footage from SoundCloud’s vast history of working in these music communities.
Instead of going through the expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome process of clearing major label music, we invited our Discord community to create beats inspired by the focus scenes of the film. In inviting our community to craft the music, and pulling from previous content shoots, we kept overhead costs low and community approval top of mind.
Challenges that arose during the production of the campaign included finding the right experts and interviewees, obtaining likeness clearances, and making sure each community felt accurately represented in the film. Overcoming these challenges required flexibility, problem-solving skills, and top-notch communication with external tastemakers and artists. Following production, we worked with our internal social team to program video cut-downs for each social platform, making sure to inform key scenes members ahead of time to boost engagement and community reaction. We put a unique focus on community-centered social media platforms like Discord and Reddit to drive additional engagement. Despite a limited budget and constrained production timeline, we made sure authenticity and community were at the center of our campaign.
It’s because of SoundCloud’s community that we saw such great results, with over 1.1 million views and 17 thousand engagements across social media as of 2/22/2023.
The Look Up 2022 exceeded expectations because of its unique use of proprietary data, its scrappy, independent execution, and its key focus on community, authenticity, and SoundCloud culture.
One of the main objectives of creating this campaign was to increase awareness about how music scenes blossom on SoundCloud. By leveraging our internal Music Data Analysis team, we were able to accurately tell the stories of music communities that thrived in 2022, highlighting key community members, tracks, and cultural moments. In reaching 1 million views, we succeeded in shining a light on the scenes and music communities that shaped and continue to shape SoundCloud culture. This viewership, in turn, increased brand awareness and further established SoundCloud as a place for both major label and emerging music culture.
Lastly, engagement and word of mouth was a key performance indicator for this campaign; with over 17 thousand social interactions, Look Up 2022 was a wild success driving both word of mouth and social conversation across pop culture and the music industry.
Success By The Numbers:
Over 1.1 million views across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Over 66M earned media impressions
Over 17 thousand social engagements