Imagine yourself discovering a hip new band on Spotify while you chat live with other fans — or even with the band itself. Thanks to Oslo-based music start-up Soundrop, you can do just that. The two-year-old music service provides a social platform through which you can listen to music, share your opinions about it, and occasionally hang out with the artists who create the songs that you’re hearing.
The service is available on Spotify, as a standalone Web player, and, starting November 25, via French streaming company Deezer. Soundrop is among the latest generation of technology firms changing the way people discover music. To better understand Soundrop and its influence on the music listening experience, I talked with its head of partnerships Cortney Harding. In her exclusive interview, she shares some advice for artists, too: work harder to connect with your fans and share engaging content or die.
Harding knows whereof she speaks. Music and technology define her professional life. Throughout her career, she has been editor of Billboard, writer for YPulse, and founder of her own consulting firm that connects startups with the music industry. In many ways, she and Soundrop represent the kind of influencers who are re-defining the music industry by applying content, technology, and brand savvy.
I recently used Soundrop to interact with artists AM & Shawn Lee as they played their new album La Musique Numerique, which was akin to having a listening party with other fans and the artists. And yeah, the experience was pretty cool. Fans took turns asking AM & Shawn Lee about their music via an online Q&A moderated by Harding, and we learned interesting little details such as the fact that Lee learned how to play the Mattel Synsonics drum machine for La Musique Numerique.
Nearly 200 artists, including Imagine Dragons and Robin Thicke, have hung out with fans in Soundrop listening rooms. The company relies heavily on its Facebook page to announce new appearances, befitting its social nature. And if Soundrop has its way, hanging out with fans will be the norm, not the exception.
As Harding says in the following interview, “Artists . . . need to be engaged on a social level in an authentic way. Because fans have so much more choice, an artist that doesn’t work to connect with them will quickly be forgotten.”
How would you describe Soundrop to the uninitiated?
Soundrop is a way to discover, share, and socialize around music. Users can either create rooms where they upload music and chat, or join existing rooms to discover music and hang out with other people who love the same music. We have rooms for almost every genre and even rooms based on times of the day or certain themes (waking up, working out, relaxing, etc).
Additionally, we bring artists in to chat with fans. Every week more artists come into Soundrop. More than 200 already have. It’s a great experience for the fans and the artist can use their reach to drive streaming revenue.