SoundCloud’s Data-Driven Transformation Journey: A Deep Dive

By Falguni
  • UPDATED: 24 May 2024
  • 3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In a recent panel discussion at MAU Vegas, Rachel Bergman, GM – North America at MoEngage, and Hope Barrett, Director of Product Management at SoundCloud, engaged in a compelling dialogue that unraveled the key role of data in SoundCloud’s customer engagement transformation journey.

Hope spoke about her move from CNN to SoundCloud, the data challenges faced by SoundCloud when she arrived, solutions taken, tech stack used, and the future of SoundCloud.

Note: You can watch the session on-demand and read the takeaways below.

Let’s dive into the key takeaways from the discussion:

The SoundCloud Story

SoundCloud, the renowned audio streaming service, has significantly changed in recent years.

Hope shed light on the brand’s evolution, emphasizing its transition from a traditional streaming platform to a dynamic ecosystem that fosters music discovery, artist-fan connections, and social networking.

The Role of AI in Enhancing Music Discovery at SoundCloud

Central to SoundCloud’s strategy is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is exemplified by the acquisition of Museo, an AI company specializing in music tagging. By leveraging AI-generated metadata, that tags music to fuel its recommendation engine, SoundCloud curates daily and weekly personalized playlists for each subscriber. This enables subscribers to find music they wouldn’t have heard otherwise.

This approach also underscores SoundCloud’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver value to its community.

Data Dynamics: CNN vs. SoundCloud

Drawing parallels between her experiences at CNN and SoundCloud, Hope explained the contrasting landscapes of data utilization between the two brands.

While CNN grappled with the nascent stages of digital transformation, they had a lot of anonymous traffic that needed to be identified. To get first-party data (i.e. email addresses from opt-ins), CNN began focusing on driving sign-ups for their newsletter program and trying to understand the anonymous data through segmentation. Using these insights, CNN recommends people who subscribe to the morning financial newsletter, to also check out the afternoon one, for example.

On the other hand, due to SoundCloud’s digital-first approach, they have a lot more data at their disposal. To operate at such a scale, they use AI to enable insights-led recommendations that keep customers engaged and re-engage dormant customers.

SoundCloud Session

Key Data Challenges

A major highlight of the discussion was SoundCloud’s constant pursuit to unlock the potential of its vast data repository.
Hope spoke about how SoundCloud has a lot of data and is undertaking data enrichment initiatives but there is a gap in understanding how to use this data for building actual email programs. With over 600 million emails collected since 2007, the task at hand involves streamlining the data management processes, discerning active emails, and figuring out actionable insights and what data to keep vs. discard.

Adding to this, she mentioned how SoundCloud is early in its journey of figuring out the right messaging mix between channels and knowing the ideal frequency of communication sent to customers.

Navigating the Complexities of Customer Engagement

Through ongoing experimentation and the adoption of innovative solutions like MoEngage, SoundCloud aims to refine its brand communication and deliver timely, relevant content to its subscribers.

Join us on June 18th at 10 AM PT for a must-attend webinar, where MarTech expert, Scott Brinker, will interview SoundCloud’s Director of Product Management, Hope Barrett, about her experience migrating from their previous customer engagement platform after 7 years! Learn how SoundCloud went through the vendor migration process that impacted its user base of 100 million monthly active users and hundreds of live campaigns, in just 12 weeks! Register Now.

Specifically, the transition to MoEngage offers SoundCloud with the following benefits:

  • A cohesive platform where it can orchestrate hyper-personalized campaigns with precision and efficacy.
  • Segmentation capabilities, which enable SoundCloud to automate messaging and inform subscribers when their favorite artists release new music, saving numerous man-hours.
  • The ability to logically set up email, push notifications, and other messaging programs to engage and re-engage subscribers.
  • Insights regarding the ideal frequency of communication that does not annoy customers or cause them to turn off notifications/unsubscribe.
  • Implementing A/B testing. For e.g. testing if a customer reacts positively to track-liked notifications.

SoundCloud testimonial

Looking Ahead: The Future of SoundCloud

As SoundCloud continues its quest to harness the power of data, Rachel and Hope’s discussion offered a glimpse into its future.

With initiatives focused on data enrichment, automation, segmentation, regular testing, and a commitment to customer-centric innovation, SoundCloud remains poised for continued growth and evolution.

That’s all from our discussion with SoundCloud! We hope you have some valuable insights to take away from the session. 

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