Music is a platform of expression that can be used for a variety of means and has been utilized for thousands of years for many reasons. Although music is mostly used today as a form of entertainment, in the past decade society has witnessed the rise of music streaming platforms as the most easily accessible and useful means for creating, sharing, and listening to music for whatever purposes the individual deems fit.
Of the many streaming platforms available, Spotify and SoundCloud have stood out as two of the most used services in the category.
However, following a prevalent consumer pattern, the divide between fans of the two streaming services has widened in recent years. Like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, many have chosen to adhere to their preferred musical platform with unwavering loyalty along with an undying hatred for, what is in their eyes, the lesser service of the two. Although both of these platforms have become relatively cohesive with not just American but world culture as a whole, many still do not understand the difference between the two.
Although SoundCloud and Spotify are both top streaming services, they often attract diverse crowds due to their differences. Whereas Spotify is a service that favors established artists, anyone with a microphone and a computer can upload a track directly to SoundCloud without dealing with any sort of middleman.
This isn't to say that those without record deals and a strong fan base can't upload tracks to Spotify because they certainly can. However, this process is much harder and often isn't worth the effort. In many ways, SoundCloud is a place for many musicians to first gain a fan base as well as a name for themselves and their music.
In fact, if you look at the rising stars amongst much of the rap and hip-hop industry many if not all have been bred from the deep end, what is to the public, relatively unknown depths of SoundCloud. Rappers such as Lil Pump, XXXTentacion, and Post Malone can all tie their beginnings back to the expansive streaming service. Even beyond the rap scene artists like Kygo were producing and posting tracks on SoundCloud far before they were ever offered a record deal by a major company.
The point is, had it not been for SoundCloud we may not even know who these artists are today and they might not have been able to bless us with many tracks that have now become iconic in our culture. Even now some 18-year-old kid from the Bronx might be sitting in his mom's basement eating a Doritos Locos taco contemplating over whether or not to post his first track that he's been slaving over for the last month, not knowing that in a years time he'll be rising up the top charts on his way to stardom.
Despite the critics' many statements that SoundCloud is simply an incessant cesspool of untalented and uninspired wannabe's, amongst its many mediocrities there lie true gems. In a way, SoundCloud is like panning for gold. The chances of finding what you want are very slim but, if you know where to look you might just find something worth your while. It is abundantly hard to become vastly popular in any facet of the music industry. Sure, you may play a few shows in your city, in your county, or maybe even your state but gaining the same fame as top chart artists is sadly beyond most people's grasp. SoundCloud, however, has made it a little bit easier to do that.
While it is abundantly good for the artists, SoundCloud is also great for its subscribers as well. In an endless stream of new music, it is almost impossible not to discover something new and intriguing. Thus, SoundCloud is an excellent platform for people to discover new music as well as expand their horizons. Although Spotify has perfected its hand-picked, weekly curations for their users, these new songs are either by artists they already know or similar songs by other well-known artists. SoundCloud, on the other hand, is guaranteed to introduce you to something you've never heard of before and, sometimes, may never hear of again.
Now, all of this isn't to downplay the quality as well as the importance of Spotify but rather the opposite. Spotify serves its audience in a different way than SoundCloud. Spotify has made it possible for millions of people to listen to popular artists without the hassle of actually buying their music while at the same time introducing them to new artists. SoundCloud does the same thing just on a smaller scale and with a larger quantity of relatively unknown artists. One could even say that SoundCloud allows users to have a more intimate experience as they are exposed to tracks that expand their view of music.
All in all, both streaming services are excellent, however, some people just prefer one over the other. Spotify is neither better than SoundCloud nor is SoundCloud better than Spotify. Each service simply stands as a matter of preference and people should be conscious of such.