Our Label Services department speak with MixCloud for expert tips…
From a bare-boned startup operating out of a cold warehouse with 3G dongles to becoming one of the world’s foremost ‘radio’ platforms and being referenced by Mark Zuckerberg in his f8 keynote speech, Mixcloud has come a long way. But do you know how to get the most out of this burgeoning platform? We spoke to Mixcloud’s Head of Community, Andreea Magdalina, to get the expert’s tips.
What’s is Mixcloud?
Mixcloud is the world’s leading radio platform. Built specifically for DJ mixes, radio shows and podcasts, we are a legal and licensed service that clears rights and pays royalties for all curators. Additional benefits include unlimited free uploads, customisable and embeddable players, listener engagement stats, and the ability to tracklist and timestamp shows or mix sets.
Hit us with your most impressive stats…
Firstly, I’d like to stress Mixcloud has its community at the core of our business. We reach 12 million unique listeners every month across all devices (desktop and mobile). More than 600,000 of our users are content uploaders, with over 6 million radio shows and mix sets uploaded since we launched in 2009. Mixcloud is all about radio content (e.g. talk radio, podcasts, DJ mixes etc.) so someone who visits our site usually dwells on a page for roughly 28 minutes. The average page visit of any website lasts a little under a minute.
Have you found that more and more people are seeing the attraction of Mixcloud being ‘above board’ with royalty payments?
We’ve been around for just over 5 years now so we launched at a time when the only music sharing services were torrents and other similar DIY methods. Mixcloud was our legal solution to the world, aiming to bring online the type of radio content that you’d normally only be able to access when it was aired (whether on the radio, at a concert or festival etc.)
While in the past we had to spend more time explaining the how’s and why’s, now everyone has a pretty clear idea about the benefits of using Mixcloud – both in light of royalty payments as well as fan engagement. Over time, we have built a strong community dedicated to our cause. We’ve registered a huge increase in our listener stats since January 2014, particularly, which is when we launched the completely redesigned site.
Do you have any interesting examples of Mixcloud users’ success stories?
There are many types of Mixcloud users – from listeners, to bedroom DJs, to venues to superstar talent to consumer brands and everything in between. A great way for them to get a chance in the spotlight is by participating in a DJ competition – we regularly hear that winners end up developing a relationship with the organiser. Our recent Best of 2014 campaign revealed a pretty diverse mix of people covering all spectrums so there’s definitely a few success stories to mention.
One of my favourite beats curator is Belgium based Lefto who successfully managed to grow a reputation for himself in the hip hop electronic scene. Another great example is Adam Kvasnica from Slovakia – he’s just a regular guy with a regular job, as well as a huge passion for music. His collection of old hidden jazz gems is astonishing. People think of Mixcloud as a go-to for electronic music but little do they know the second largest Mixcloud community formed around jazz.
In terms of radio, there are quite a few independent stations who either operate on the web only or they upload exclusively on Mixcloud as their listen-back option. Some of these would be Brooklyn Radio (NYC), Ibiza Sonica (Ibiza), NTS Radio (London) etc.
How to use Mixcloud?
What about brands? What are they looking for in a sponsorship deal on Mixcloud?
We are the perfect solution for consumer brands thanks to our licenses. This means they will not have to through the painful process of clearing rights on tracks because we already have it covered. Having said that, there are various ways brands can work with us. From simple display media to talent activations to full channel sponsorships, our roster includes clients such as Red Bull, Absolut, Sonos, Converse etc. You can find out more on our Partners page.
How does your recommendation engine work?
We look at a bunch of things – including your listening history, similar content, trending uploads and so on, and we also have a promotional system in place. Uploaders can pay for their content to be ‘seen’ by more people with Mixcloud Promotions. As a general rule, the recommendation engine gives priority to shows that have a lot of listener engagement and to those curated by our editorial team.
What can users do to ensure their uploads are as ‘searchable’ as possible?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that building a Mixcloud profile is just like building any other channel. It takes time, good quality content and basic promotional efforts. In terms of making your content easy to find, one of the most important steps is using tags correctly. Our algorithms use tags to recognize and recommend content to listeners so it’s crucial that people tag their content appropriately. If you have a Pro account you can also access useful features like analytics, which will help you figure out what content works better.
In addition, we have an editorial team that curates our Categories, so if content is good, anyone is welcome to submit their request to get featured by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our FAQ page.
There are a few other best practice tips:
What does your development road map look like? Any exciting changes coming up?
“Our vision is to re-think radio for the digital generation, and embrace all types genres. We’re very popular with the DJ crowd, but are now focusing on growing the platform benefits for radio stations, Podcasters and all curators. We’ve got a few exciting tech integrations coming up too but our lips are sealed until further notice.