Collaboration Posts

A new SoundCloud features that allows artists to post tracks collaboratively.


Founded 16 years ago, SoundCloud is one of the oldest streaming services, being just a year younger than Spotify. SoundCloud has gone through a range of updates to be improved and expanded upon since its conception, but still it lags behind its biggest competitors like Apple Music and Spotify. Spotify with 180 million subscribers and SoundCloud with only 75 million.

Research Goal

We want to know what possible features could be introduced to bring more premium users to SoundCloud, or even features that would convert users from Spotify to SoundCloud.

Research Plan


  1. How do people view SoundCloud as a platform or brand?

  2. What advantages do competitors like Spotify and Apple Music have?

  3. How does the SoundCloud subscriber plan compare to competitors?

  4. What do users value most in a music streaming service?


  1. Surveys (artists, listeners, competitor users)

  2. User interviews (artists, listeners, competitor users)

  3. SWOT competitive analysis

My Role

Design and research

Project Duration

2 weeks, Spring 2023


Figma, Optimal Workshop, Useberry

User Interviews

I sat down with SoundCloud users and competitor users to try and build an understanding for why SoundCloud lacks the same user base as its competitors like Spotify and Apple Music. I aimed to understand why some users have stayed with SoundCloud, what they think could be done better, and why they think SoundCloud falls behind in some areas.

Users value SoundCloud's focus on artists.

Users value SoundCloud's focus on artists.

SoundCloud still doesn't have a standalone desktop app.

Posting tracks to SoundCloud is more accessible and informal.

Posting tracks to SoundCloud is more accessible and informal.

Users feel SoundCloud lacks in UI compared to competitors.

Users feel SoundCloud lacks in UI compared to competitors.


  1. Users feel that overall the SoundCloud UI falls behind compared to its competitors.

  2. Feature ideas from in app messaging, collaborative posts, lyrics like Spotify, queue like Apple Music, and better ways to discover new music.

  3. SoundCloud has the advantage in that some artists will post unreleased clips or remixes there, whereas on Spotify etc. all releases are official.

  4. 40% of interviewees had used SoundCloud in the past as their main platform but switched because of a family plan (SoundCloud has no family plan, only individual).

  5. The main features that bring users to SoundCloud seem to be the artist benefits rather than listener benefits.


Example Question

How much do you currently pay for your primary music streaming service?


$20/month or more


$5/month or less

I don't use premium







  1. 58% of users pay around $10 a month for their music streaming service.

  2. 100% use their streaming service to discover new music, 91% to store and listen to the music they like, and 66% to use social features and see what their friends are listening to.

  3. There was a 50/50 split for whether users listen to music on desktop or mobile.

  4. One user reported Spotify’s UI being the most user friendly, but enjoyed SoundCloud's exclusive artist tracks.

  5. One users favorite feature of their streaming service was the diverse radio features, artist specific channels, and new playlists.

Competitive Analysis



Spotify is a leading music streaming service offering a vast library of songs, podcasts, and personalized playlists. Known for its user-friendly interface and algorithmic recommendations, it caters to both listeners and artists.

Unique Features

  • Spotify’s Discover Weekly and personalized playlists leverage user data for tailored music discovery.

  • Collaborative playlists and social sharing integrate music listening with social interaction.

  • Spotify Wrapped: An annual feature that gives users a personalized recap of their listening habits.


  • Extensive music catalog with robust cross-platform support.

  • Strong brand presence and a large, active user base.


  • Music payout concerns from artists could tarnish reputation.

  • Limited functionality in the free tier compared to subscription.


  1. SoundCloud stands out from competitors in its focus on artists rather than just listeners.

  2. SoundCloud has no family plan, where users can pay a certain amount each month to have multiple accounts go ad free.

  3. SoundCloud seems to fall behind considerably not being able to keep up with competitors in terms of modern UI design.

  4. A major focus point for competitor platforms was features that allow users to discover music easily with unique features such as a music quiz coming from Deezer.


During our research we realized early on that what brought a lot of our users to SoundCloud was its focus on artists. We had so many feature suggestions during our user interviews and also gathered from our survey, we knew this was the area that needed focusing.


Through our research with artists on SoundCloud we were able to identify a highly requested feature that would allow artists to post collaboratively, so the song appears on both artists profiles, rather than one artist needing to make a playlist of the song. This feature will also be especially convenient when artists are releasing a song with a label.

Point of view

"As an artist on SoundCloud, I need a way for multiple artists' profiles to be attached when posting a collaborative track, so that we can collectively promote our work and engage with our combined fan bases."

How might we

How might we enhance SoundCloud's existing software to enable artists to easily invite each other to collaborate on songs they worked on together, eliminating the need for manual workarounds such as creating playlists to showcase the track on both artists' profiles?

Feature Prioritization


For feature prioritization, we came up with features always keeping in mind our main goal to create an app that will help musicians and label managers create release schedules quickly and efficiently while allowing them to stay as organized as possible. This is supported by our research findings, where for example musicians and label managers talked about how hard it is to stay motivated and organized at the same time.

User Flows

Based on our research and problem definition we were able to come up with two user flows that would interact with one another. One flow for the user that sends the collaboration invite and one flow for the user to accept the invite.

Early Designs

After planning our user flow we started designs for adding a collaborator. Based on user input the feature made sense to exist within the "Basic info" tab in the edit track modal.

We also created a user-friendly process for accepting collaborations. When invited to collaborate, artists can easily access the "tracks" tab to view the invitation and choose to either accept or decline. If accepted, the track will appear at the top of their feed and can be pinned to showcase prominently on their profile.

User Testing


Add Collaborator





Accept Invite




1m 12s

After creating initial designs and prototyping, we moved on to user testing where we received positive feedback and some iterations that would further improve this feature.


  1. Users felt the "accept collaboration" button should live in the notifications tab accessed by clicking the bell in the header.

  2. One user felt that collaborations should only be able to be received or sent if the users follow each other, so you cant get spammed with invites.

  3. Collaborations need to have a way to stand out, so users can easily see what tracks are collaborations and which aren't.

  4. Overall feedback was positive, users expressed how they feel this feature would be a "game changer" if SoundCloud really built something like this.

Final Designs

After user testing, we started by creating a design for collaboration invites to exist in the notifications tab. Collaborations can only be sent if both users follow each other on SoundCloud.

What I changed

  1. Users can now accept and view invites from the notifications tab, with a specific icon indicating the notification is a collaboration invite.

  2. Collaborations now show both artist names clearly above the track title on the song card so listeners can access both artist profiles easily.

  3. Collaboration song cards have a special orange stroke on the bottom with an orange glow so it can be easily distinguished from artists own individual tracks.

Next Steps

With the success of this project drawing such positive feedback from artists using SoundCloud, next steps would be to build further on this feature. This would include iterating more on the user flow for sending out invites.

We would design to answer the questions that come up in more specific flows. For example, what happens when a label is releasing a compilation of lets say 18 tracks, how can we design an experience that takes that scenario into account.