Indie artists now have a chance more than ever to crack the Hot 100.
In Billboard's recent story detailing The Chainsmokers's tenth week at No. 1 with their song "Closer" featuring Halsey, they quietly dropped in a bomb: an update to the chart's rules will include streaming data from SoundCloud and Amazon Music Unlimited.
Why is this so important?
Because it opens up the playing field to literally everyone. Artists don't have to rely on label support to negotiate streaming deals with Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc because the power is now in their hands.
(Of note: as of charts dated Nov. 5, SoundCloud plays now contribute to the streaming data that informs the Hot 100 and other genre hybrid songs charts, in addition to the consumption-based Billboard 200 albums chart. Additionally, Amazon Music Unlimited Streams now count toward Amazon's overall chart contributions, along with streams from the Amazon Prime service, which has long been part of the chart panel.)
SoundCloud, which reportedly lost $70 million in revenue between 2013 and 2014, was dubbed as a "struggling audio service" by USA Today (though SoundCloud co-founder Eric Wahlforss said "those numbers are old," in reference to the $70 million loss, and that the company is thriving). They also claim Twitter invested $70 million in SoundCloud, but Twitter is also defending a major net loss; it was announced today the social platform is laying off 300 employees because they project minimal growth in the coming months.
What does this mean?
Talented musicians, producers, and Internet fixtures can now upload their work to SoundCloud, which sees 175 million monthly visitors, and potentially launch to super stardom. It will also open the floodgates for more mediocrity.
SoundCloud is the best music platform by far. 100x better than Spotify for artists (I'm a paying premium SC user). https://t.co/B1SlphmAoA
— Adam Singer (@AdamSinger) June 14, 2016