‘We want to emulate Nike and be one of the biggest lifestyle brands’ says SoundCloud

Having recently joined SoundCloud as vice president for global marketing and brand, DeJuan Wilson says the music-steaming platform can become “one of the biggest lifestyle brands in the world” within five years.


Wilson, who has previously held senior marketing roles at the likes of MTV, Coca-Cola and Converse, said the brand is now focused on offering something “truly unique” compared to rivals such as Spotify and Apple Music.

“Our biggest draw and point of difference is our connection to the creative community – we have 175 million listeners and 10 million creators, for outside brands those aren’t small numbers,” he told Marketing Week.

“I think we have the potential to become one of the biggest lifestyle brands globally within 5 to 7 years, if not sooner. And that won’t just be compared to Spotify or Apple Music, we will exceed and supersede the category of streaming music.

“As far as relevance, I want SoundCloud to mirror something like Nike. They represent something aspirational and have a relevance to people’s lives outside of their core product – we want that too and I think it’s achievable.”

Appealing to brands

SoundCloud launched its first ad platform last year with three tiers:

  • Partner, a free option for beginners sharing their first tracks that gives access to basic stats about their uploads;
  • Pro Partner, a paid subscription which offers more upload time and advanced tools and stats;
  • Premier, an invitation-only level that gives creators the opportunity to make money from their tracks through advertising.

It has also partnered with brands such as Jaguar and RedBull, and Wilson said advertisers want to come to the service as it provides an “authentic and raw connection with creativity”.

Jaguar used SoundCloud to partner with Sizzlebird to premiere the artist’s new song, which was featured in one of the car brand’s adverts. The track went on to generate 1.8m plays while doubling Sizzlebird’s followers in two days.

“That is the power of our platform,” said Wilson.

SoundCloud’s model, which focuses primarily on hosting songs uploaded by upcoming artists, is noticeably different from other music services such as Spotify.

However Wilson, who will report to Eric Wahlforss, SoundCloud’s co-founder and chief technology officer, insists it is still a big draw for top pop stars. He said the brand, which, to date, has had very little advertising of its own, will now have more regular above the line messaging.

He concluded: “Drake recently debuted his new song (Back To Back, a ‘diss’ record to rival rapper Meek Mill) on our platform and I think that shows SoundCloud is still a huge place for major artists to engage with creatives.”

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