The Era of the SoundCloud Artist

Illustration by Grace Hunsinger

SoundCloud, an online network for sharing and listening to music, had been crashing. The website was unable to pull in enough money to meet its costs and last month the company was forced to lay off 173 employees — about 40 percent of its workforce.

Former SoundCloud artist and Grammy and BET award-winner Chance the Rapper tweeted he was “…working on the SoundCloud thing.”

Illustration by Grace Hunsinger

And it seems he did.

A few weeks later earlier this month, SoundCloud announced the company had secured a new round of funding. The amount was not disclosed, but the company did reveal it was its biggest sum of funding to date. Participants included The Raine Group and Temasek.

The SoundCloud artist holds a special place in the psyche of the American millennial and despite financial struggles, it is a legitimate media source that has a strong influence today. SoundCloud carries a variety of tracks — anything, including home mixes, interview recordings, poetry, podcasts and journalism reports. It has become an internet sharing base that reaches over 180 million people every month.

“I think it’s a cool way to share your music without the pressure,” said Austin Patinga, VCU alumni and DJ on SoundCloud. “I make music often and play at clubs so this is way to be discovered and put on the map.”

Patinga started using SoundCloud when it expanded into the United States. He said that it’s not just a way to discover other artists but also to get an ear for what the community wants to hear.

“SoundCloud is free so anyone can hear what you put out there,” said VCU freshman Mary Richardson. “I think it would be cool to record myself, my feelings and my experiences to watch how I grow over time. Plus, I think it would be worth a listen.”

Below are the top followed SoundCloud artists in the Richmond area.

TOP 5 SoundCloud Richmond-based rappers based on followers:

  1. GraphicMuzikPro – 25.8k followers
  2. KiTheory – 24k followers
  3. lambofgod – 19.9k followers
  4. SENOJNAYR – 18.1k followers


Keyris Manzanares, Staff Writer

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