Raoul Chatterjee, SoundCloud's director of content partnerships, Europe, has told Music Week the platform creates "a far more level playing field for music discovery than on any other music service".
Chatterjee, the subject of the Big Interview in the latest edition of Music Week, addressed the issue of breaking new acts on SoundCloud, a subject that has become a hot potato for other streaming services, with streaming's reliance on playlists blamed by some in the biz for the lack of artist breakthroughs in 2016. Chance The Rapper recently attributed some of his breakthrough independent success to SoundCloud.
“We’re not the same as Spotify in that we’re not directing our listeners to specific artists in a very concentrated way,” said Chatterjee. “We have an array of features that allow people to discover new music, but they tend to be much more around algorithmic features. The idea of breaking an act, it doesn’t quite sit with the way we see our role. Our role is to enable creators and artists to have as many tools at their disposal for getting noticed. Other platforms do gatekeeping in a way that is suitable to their proposition.”
Speaking while at this year’s MIDEM conference in Cannes, Chatterjee also discussed the company’s policy on curation, saying its approach is “less about telling people what they should be listening to and much more about different communities sharing and providing each other with guidance as to who they should be listening to”.
He continued: “We have 175 million people that come to SoundCloud every month and they’re listening to 12 million artists every month so our top 1% of artists is much more diverse [than on other platforms] and that’s a good thing. We are not trying to say to those 175 million people, You should listen to this narrow set of artists, because we thought the world was going the other way. We think the world is more open and accepting for more musicians, DJs and producers generating music that’s really interesting and, around the world, to different cultures, different communities and different scenes.”
Elsewhere in the piece Chatterjee tackled questions on subscriber numbers, rival streaming platforms, staff departures and rumours of SoundCloud’s impending sale.