Combat Jack
Theo Wargo

At Their Artist Forum And After Party, SoundCloud Showed Why They Are The Future

SoundCloud's second Artist Forum and After Party brought out Combat Jack, Vic Mensa, !llMind and more.

SoundCloud is more than just a music streaming service. The platform provides a community for all creatives alike. This past Wednesday (Nov. 16), the creative haven invited the neighborhood to Samsung 837 to celebrate the improvements it's making to its collective.

Founder and CEO, Alex Ljung—who made himself accessible to all who wanted to chop it up throughout the night—got the ball rolling with the reason the neighborhood came out in the first place: all the dope updates.

The first topic on the agenda, which is a synonymously discussed topic with any streaming service, was revenue sharing. With the rise of SoundCloud Go and global advertising initiatives, SoundCloud has been raking in some extra coins, allowing them to invite more creatives into the Premier program. Premier enables creatives to benefit financially on their streams and popularity. Although this specific status is still invite-only, SoundCloud hasn’t abandoned its laurels in pushing to making this an inclusive partner program as it continues to grow.

Next up: the adjustments made to the SoundCloud Pulse app. While the community is inclusive to all lovers of anything and everything creative, the Pulse app seeks to tend to the creatives themselves. Easing the process of editing track info, the upgrades allow for editing track titles, descriptions, tags and genres while also choosing whether the track will be public, downloadable or private all through the subsidiary app. Increasing convenience even further, the platform enhanced their Creator Guide which allows for a creative to understand their place in SoundCloud’s portion of the streaming world and how to make the most of their experience. With these new measures, SoundCloud will continue to enhance all of its beneficiaries’ experiences pertinent to the indie-influenced shift relative industries have been immersed in within the last decade or so.

Additionally, some of the finest of the streaming game came out to put us in the know with their stories and SoundCloud’s role in how they came into who they are today. The two panels included "Building And Empowering Modern Day Music Creativity" (Combat Jack, Toni Romiti, !llmind, Sean Bohrman, and Jami Welch) and "From Creator to Purveyor: The Creative Journey" with Ghostly International’s Sam Valenti And The Fader’s Naomi Zeichner.

SoundCloud’s lateral influence is more diverse than a investment portfolio ranging from Toni Romiti, who utilized the service in her transition from Vine superstar to multi-million stream-ist, to Combat Jack, who went from a music attorney to a “middle-aged blogger” turned podcaster helping him find a “second life” in an industry he almost lost hope in.

As producer, !llmind reminisced on how SoundCloud is an appropriate successor to his early beat sharing days via Underground Hip Hop’s “Beat Battles” folder on its website, we’re reminded of how the audio platform has been a kick starter to many careers.

Aside from the streaming service’s impact on the direct beneficiaries and creators, it's also allowed a space for investors to better position themselves towards the artists. Burger Record’s co-founder, Sean Bohrman and Ghostly Record’s Sam Valenti stand as examples of some investors into these creatives. Probably representing one of the most unique business plans for a record label possible, Bohrman boasts about his label’s atypical approach by targeting debut albums and high school bands, while releasing material mainly in the form of cassette tapes. If you let Sean Bohrman tell it, the way to go is being purely ballsy and achieving superior fulfillment as he quit his job, cashed out his $401K and invested all his time and money into his small record store in Fullerton, CA, which has grown. While Jami Welch discussed his experience as SoundCloud's Product Manager for Creators by day and SoundCloud artist and user by night.

After panels, food, freebies and a showcase of live graffiti artists exercising their talents on the typically unconventional canvas of headphones, we broke out to go our separate ways until the after party later. When we returned, Toni Romiti came back in full effect to kick off the line up of performances. Serving a mix between Cardi B’s swag and Kehlani’s presence, the young vocalist delivered some turn-up vibes. Demanding a space of her own, she got her Mary J. Blige two-step on, all while connecting with the crowd just enough to get us to join in on our own lit jigs.

As the night went on and drinks kept flowing, the music kept getting better and better. Araabmuzik came through and shut down the entire venue as he prepared for battle: head down, shoulders hunched ready to blast the audience with a burst of sonic stimulation. As he instrumentally crafted his club-influenced mixes, adjusting knobs and feverishly tapping away on his drum pad, his personalized renditions rallied a select few dancers to join him on stage. It also got everyone on their feet and grooving for his mash-up of Rihanna’s “B***h Better Have My Money.”

To conclude the night, Premier artist, Vic Mensa delivered a sensation emulative of the unapologetic rock’n’roll meets hip-hop vibrations of the RUN DMC era—but smoother. Starting out with his critically-acclaimed, “16 Shots,” Mensa stepped out in a leather jacket, biker boots, laced-up pants, band tee and icy, metallic jewelry. He portrayed the perfect cross between hip-hop and rock, with his torso arched and head tilted back, belting into the mic, “You know me, I like the danger!” from his track “Danger.”

The entire SoundCloud crew, ranging from the creatives, panelists and attendees, is proof of the legacy SoundCloud is paving for itself in respect to the trends of today’s industry. In a quick chat we had with founder and CEO, Alex Ljung, he explained that SoundCloud is in a lane of its own offering an "open platform," which anyone can sign up for. But the platform is also simultaneously working with major labels and indie labels alike to attract a larger audience which results in more monetization pushing them closer to their goals of opening Premier monetization benefits to everyone.

In the spirit of the No. 1 “Black Beatles” chart-toppers, it's very much ideal to “get you a [streaming service] that can do both.” SoundCloud has proved to fit the mold as it expands in its efforts of acting as a guiding force in today's creative spectrum.

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@michaelbjordan shares his vision behind #MBJAM, and why families play such a critical role within a patient’s #lupus journey. A lupus diagnosis isn’t something you should face alone. 🧡

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