At Mixcloud, we understand what it takes to build an audience from scratch. The next step is maintaining a connection with every member of your community. Social media algorithms have become somewhat of a blocker to that, limiting the number of your fans that see your content.
We released our Mixcloud Posts feature as a way of better socializing the platform and to help you speak more directly to more of your followers. Not only can you promote your mixes and live streams, but you also have the freedom to define the relationship with your fans in fun and interesting ways. What’s more, every time you publish a Post on Mixcloud, an email is sent out to your followers so they’ll never miss an update.
In this article, we speak to four creators about using Posts as their own community hub. Colin Dale (far right of image above) is a London-based DJ, producer and record label boss active on pirate and national radio since the 1980s, while Sheffield’s Kavita (center right of image above) is a lawyer-turned-DJ who discovered her passion for mixing tracks during lockdown. America-based Lowlight (far left of image above) is a specialist on all things Ambient music, and Liza DJ (center left of image above) blends eclectic sounds all the way from Italy. Scroll down for their stories with Posts.
Tell us about your journey into music and the content you’re sharing on Mixcloud right now?
Colin: I started DJing in the early 1980s. I was a big record collector even before that and I was really into Soul and Funk music then some Jazz. The original Abstrakt Dance Show was on pirate and community radio and had all of those left-of-center kind of records played. Then I moved my show to KISS FM where I stayed for 20 years. I left KISS and didn’t do any radio until lockdown, when I brought back the Abstrakt Dance Show to Mixcloud.
Kavita: I’m actually a lawyer by day and DJ by night. I started DJing during lockdown. I was going to be 50-years-old in April 2020 and had a massive garden party organized but I had to cancel everything. Then I bought some decks and told my dad I’m going to ditch Indian music because that’s all I ever knew. I started playing House and Disco then I did a live stream on Facebook for my birthday for my family to tune in. It turns out that more people were tuning in than I imagined; it was brilliant! I started doing my show ‘Funky Fridays’ on Mixcloud and it's been so much fun.
Liza: I’ve always loved music since I can remember. As a child I spent hours listening to my parents’ records, then I started buying my own records and creating compilations for me and my friends. Years later I discovered my passion for DJing and after 15 years I’m still doing my thing. The content I share on Mixcloud is varied. There are some vinyl-only series such as ‘What the Funk’ and ‘Funky Delight’, where I’m spinning Funk, Disco and all sorts of groovy stuff. I play House, music from around the world and classic hits and also share lots of eclectic compilations, where I select Dub, Reggae, Downtempo, Rock, Jazz, Hip-Hop and oldies.
Lowlight: I still remember buying Brian Eno’s Music for Airports when it first came out. I was drawn in by its simplicity and deliberate approach to music as part of our environment. I’ve been deep into Ambient music ever since. 13 years ago I began posting Ambient mixes on Mixcloud as a way to share my love of the genre with others. I thought it would be fun to see if anyone else out there enjoyed Ambient music as much as I do and now nearly five million plays later, I guess the answer is yes!
Tell us about how you are using Mixcloud Posts; what sort of content do you share?
Lowlight: Back in the 1990s and 2000s I used to hang out on an online forum for Hypnos Records. It was a great community of folks talking about new music and other cultural topics. I really miss that connection so when I saw the Mixcloud Posts feature I wanted to try to recreate that sense of kindred Ambient spirits. To get people talking, I post lists like ‘Top Electronic Albums of the 1970s’ or ‘Best Album Closing Tracks of All Time’. Sometimes Posts can be as simple as a “what are you listening to now?” list. Another great way to connect with listeners is to ask for ideas for future mixes. They are big Ambient music fans so they come up with excellent topics.
Colin: I didn’t know about Posts until I got a notification from someone else. I mostly tell people about when a live show or a rerun of Abstrakt is coming up. I think it's quite effective because I do see a lot of people coming back and listening.
Liza: Currently I’m sharing messages to thank my supporters and updates of my latest shows. I post to inform them that some content is available for just a few days and then turned into Mixcloud Pro exclusives.
Kavita: Initially I was curious about how to adapt Posts and then I thought I should definitely use it as a marketing tool. At least four days before my show, I’ll post saying, “Funky Fridays is on this week, this is what I’m playing. Let me know if you have any shoutouts.” Then I’ll put up a picture of a gig I did with legends like CeCe Rogers, which serves as a personal message to my fans. It could be something as quick as, “I’ve had a long day but ‘Funky Fridays’ is up later, bye!”
Does a particular type of update get more engagement?
Liza: A funny or catchy title or a teaser of a mix usually gets more viewers from my experience.
Lowlight: Lists are a great way to generate discussion. Everyone has an opinion about Rolling Stone or Pitchfork’s ‘Best Of’ lists. Those posts usually get the most engagement. I try to stay away from self-promotion in my Posts. I want them to bring people to Mixcloud and from there they can discover what they are looking for.
How would you describe the community you’ve built up on Mixcloud? What role do they play?
Kavita: I’ve created a natural social community just by streaming the music. One of my fans from Canada actually monitored the chat for a set I couldn’t make; all the way from Toronto! I’ve got Russia tuning in! Despite Russia prohibiting all Western radio, this one guy managed to get through; I don't know how but he is always on the stream. So many people connect with each other while I’m DJing and become friends. It’s really beautiful to see. Because I’ve carried on and been consistent, people know me. They know I’m live at 8pm every Friday night. It’s almost like I’ve created my own brand with my show.
Lowlight: I’ve always said that I would make mixes for my own amusement but when other folks find something in them it’s the icing on the Ambient cake. I think the Lowlight community on Mixcloud makes creating these mixes even more rewarding. I respond to every comment on every mix and to every comment on every Post. I love the connection that Mixcloud promotes.
Liza: My supporters are my music family. It’s so nice to have people to share your passion with, receiving encouraging messages full of praise and appreciation. I’ve also become friends with other creators and listeners. I think using Mixcloud has allowed me to find the people that really love and engage with my content.
Colin: A lot of my followers have followed me from my KISS days and I feel grateful that they're an integral part of the show. A lot of them come back to relisten and more of them because their mates have come back. They’re dotted all over the place, mainly London and Europe but also places like Australia and Brazil.
Lots of DJs and artists have been frustrated with social media and algorithms meaning it's hard to reach all your followers. Have you thought about Posts as a way to overcome this, like a personal newsletter?
Lowlight: I’d never thought about Posts as a sort of newsletter but that’s a great way to describe it. Rather than just being fed whatever the social media companies put in front of them, with Posts my listeners feel like they are part of the discussion.
Liza: I think that Posts could actually help reach more followers than other social media platforms. Only a small percentage of my Mixcloud followers follow me on my other channels. That doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle anymore with the algorithm!
What’s next for you?
Colin: I have a lot of festivals to play at in the summer. My Abstrakt Dance record label just released a record by Paul Mitchell called ‘Recharge EP’. I produce a lot for the label so it's a very busy time.
Lowlight: In addition to the normal Ambient mixes, I have started a series of mixes on Electronic music from the 1970s. Each hour-long mix will focus on a specific year. The first year, 1970, is up and running. It was a challenge as there wasn’t much of an Electronic music scene yet in 1970. I plan to drop a new mix in the series every month.
Liza: Well, that’s also a surprise for me. I follow where the inspiration takes me!
Kavita: I'm playing at a festival at an iconic venue called The Piece Hall in Halifax in front of thousands of people. I’m playing in Ibiza soon too. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be hanging out with people like Todd Terry and Julia McKnight at this point in my life. I never did a gap year or went to festivals growing up - now I am!
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Check out more musical deep dives on Campus, including this deep dive into using Mixcloud Tracks to boost your music production journey.