SoundCloud has hidden the repost button; here’s why it’s an issue
SoundCloud is a platform that we objectively want to see succeed. It supports new artists, offers the largest library of unsigned music anywhere on the internet, and is an all-around great tool for music discovery. With each new update, however, it’s seemingly harder to stay on SoundCloud’s side.
While their recent Suggested Tracks feature was a step in the right direction for curation and discovery, SoundCloud have effectively reversed any good done by the situation by hiding the all-important repost button. The implications of such a move could prove significant.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that the button hasn’t disappeared forever. Rather, it can now be found under a new ‘More’ tab which has consolidated previous categories like ‘Add to Playlist,’ ‘Station’ and ‘Repost.’ Traditional buttons such as ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ have remained unaltered.
The problem, however, is that many aspiring artists rely on repost functionality to get their music in front of new audiences. For upcoming acts, receiving reposts has become a vital tool for building their initial fan base. While the button is still accessible, its limited visibility will undoubtedly hinder the quantity of organic reposts. It’s worth considering the large amount of new users and site visitors who will likely neglect the button as a result of this change.
SoundCloud noted their reasoning on Twitter, replying to a bevy of disgruntled users with the form response: “We did this to make the player less cluttered and make space for new features that we hope to introduce in the coming months.”
@NanodeMusic We did this to make the player less cluttered and make space for new features that we hope to introduce in the coming months.
— SoundCloud Support (@SCsupport) November 2, 2016
While SoundCloud notes the primary motivation for making the change as clearing space for new features, it’s worth pondering other potential motives behind their decision — namely, SoundCloud’s move to become a more legitimate streaming destination for established artists, as evidenced by their integration of major label catalogues earlier this year. In some sense, less reposts would lend itself to a less cluttered stream, and thus more visibility for the artists one actually follows.
Ultimately, only time will reveal the true impact of the decision.