Gus and SoundCloud
Gus began making and recording music, and even videos, in 2013. In 2015 he discovered SoundCloud. That year he began posting his music on SoundCloud, and started gaining followers. The positive feedback he got from posting his music on SoundCloud inspired Gus to keep making and releasing his music. His grandmother paid to upgrade Gus’s SoundCloud account so he could look at the analytics—see where his followers were, and what songs they were listening to. I remember Gus telling me most of his fans were located in the southwestern states. He had very few fans located in our area—at first.
SoundCloud was integral to Gus’s growth as a music artist. As Gus gained followers, and received more and more positive feedback and attention, his self-confidence grew. He began to stand up tall, and hold his chin up. He began to venture out of his bedroom. He made videos for his songs. And he kept working. He saw the positive results of his hard work, and he kept at it. SoundCloud not only made Gus a following, it gave him confidence to believe in himself—something he had lost during his high school years.
One of the most important things SoundCloud gave to Gus was a community. Gus wrote about the collaborative nature of the SoundCloud community, and how much it meant to him to feel like he was part of a collective, a brotherhood. The texts here show how comfortable and welcomed the SoundCloud community made Gus feel, “Soundcloud is also a very friendly place, all negative energy is totally frowned upon” he wrote on September 25, 2015. Gus loved the way people “return the favor” of reposting his music in return for his posting theirs.
And the relationships Gus was building with his favorite artists not only made him feel good about making new friends, and having people whom he admired show him respect, those friendships helped him build his fan base and gain exposure. He saw the marketing value that came, essentially, as a byproduct of the friendliness and good manners that he experienced on SoundCloud. He wrote “Soundcloud not only knows my favorite artists, but they are giving me free exposure to my favorite artists’ fan base, in the best way possible, because SoundCloud is the only place you can find these artists’ music.”
Gus was not interested in the marketing for millions. What he wanted was to make good music, with a message, and to be part of the underground movement that he so admired. He wrote “…my goal actually isn’t to get some message from a label, it is to get a message from one of my favorite artists asking me to be a part of their movement. And that all depends on how the music sounds.” SoundCloud allowed Gus to meet people whom he admired and wanted to learn from. He felt part of a community, and he felt supported. He wrote, “That is the scene I want to join. I could not see myself as a mainstream artist. I don’t like to listen to or create that type of music.”
Gus’s music evolved over the months after he wrote this. But Gus worked hard to be part of, and to lead an independent, supportive, collaborative community of artists until he drew his last breath.