THE SOUNDCLOUD 2020 PLAYBACK
Playback is SoundCloud’s year-in-review where we celebrate the artists, tracks and moments that mattered most in 2020.
See how our community expressed themselves (and connected with each other) through playing music during a year when everything else felt on pause.
Here are this year’s most popular creators and music released on SoundCloud, based on our community’s reactions.
Top Artist: Pop Smoke
We celebrate the life and work of Pop Smoke as our “Top Artist.” The rising Brooklyn drill star was beloved by the SoundCloud community and they continue to show it. In 2020 alone, fans streamed Pop Smoke’s music over 191,500,188 times.
Top Track: Lil Mosey “Blueberry Faygo”
In 2016 when he was 14 years old, Lil Mosey uploaded his very first track to SoundCloud and quickly gained over 50K streams. Even more people took notice in 2020. This year, his double-platinum Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 single “Blueberry Faygo” garnered over 54M streams and over 760K likes.
Not only did platinum-selling artist NLE Choppa stop by SoundCloud’s live music discovery program “Fresh Pressed” to talk about his highly anticipated album Top Shotta, he also earned a spot on our list for his emotionally-charged remix of Lil Baby’s “Emotionally Scarred,” which was streamed on SoundCloud over 7.9M times.
Longest Reign: “Still With You by JK of BTS”
BTS was all the rage this summer, taking not just one but two categories with fan favorite “Still With You by JK of BTS,” released on June 5. The track stayed in the #1 spot on SoundCloud’s New & Hot Chart for two straight weeks.
Buzziest Drop: “Still With You by JK of BTS”
The track also received the most engagement from listeners in a single day. BTS fans helped break the record for both “most comments” and “most likes” — 121,981 comments and 512,864 likes — on SoundCloud within 24 hours.
Top DJ Set: RL Grime “Halloween IX”
RL Grime’s 9th annual Halloween mix secured the #1 spot for the top DJ set this year. Uploaded on October 30, the fan-favorite tradition has been reposted over 5,600 times. Listeners got in the spooky spirit, streaming the set over 546K times in less than one month.
2020 has been a difficult year for many, but creativity positively thrived. Here are some of the emerging movements that bubbled on SoundCloud before they popped anywhere else, real-time creative responses to events around the globe and some of the rising artists we spotlighted early on that had big breakthroughs in 2020.
Last year, these emerging creators landed a spot on our “Artists to Watch in 2020” list, handpicked by SoundCloud’s artist relations and curation teams. We called it — these creators who we said were next in music didn’t disappoint.
Last year, SoundCloud spotlighted this rising Mexican artist as a leader of trap corridos, a new movement that ties traditional Mexican folk music with the young trap aesthetic that took shape on SoundCloud. Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s midyear report cited him as the third-most-consumed Latin artist of 2020.
Before becoming one of the buzziest acts of the year, Laura Les and Dylan Brady of 100 Gecs made a name for themselves first on SoundCloud — Dylan released his very first track on SoundCloud in 2014 and Laura in 2015. After releasing their debut album “1000 Gecs” at the end of 2019 to critical acclaim, the duo released remix album “1000 Gecs and the Tree of Clues” in July and collaborated with Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, emo legends 3OH!3, Fall Out Boy and others.
We recognized Filipino-British singer Beabadoobee as a standout in London’s alt/pop scene in 2019. This year her debut studio album landed #8 on the UK charts and charted on Billboard globally in the US, Japan, Australia and others. She even inspired another 2020 breakthrough hit from fellow SoundCloud creator Powfu who sampled Beabadoobee’s first track ever “Coffee” (released on SoundCloud in 2017) after finding the beat on the platform.
Nigerian artist Rema brought his unique, youthful take on Afropop to the platform before he was signed in 2019 to one of Africa’s leading record labels, Mavin. We recognized Rema for breaking boundaries with his original, genre-defying music — today, he leads a new guard of rising West African artists crossing over to international, mainstream fame.
CREATIVITY SURGES AROUND GLOBAL PANDEMIC
As creators around the globe began to quarantine, we saw an outpouring of creativity on the platform. SoundCloud saw a 50% increase in uploads from March to April, and creators so far have uploaded 524,734 tracks uploaded with titles or tags related to the pandemic.
Ambient music uploads spiked by 167% in April from creators who were seeking and sharing calming vibes. Stream SoundCloud’s ambient electronic playlist “Work From Home Chill.”
Diplo gave us the Corona World Tour DJ sets
In his track “corona virus,” Lil Nix sampled coughing and served up lyrics like “Ain’t no time for flexing ‘cus that virus on my golden teeth”
An instrumental musical representation of COVID-19 was one of the most played tracks in Australia, Germany, Finland and Italy.
Over 25,000 creators submitted their tracks for Pharrell and i am OTHER’s compilation project “i am OTHER, Volume 1,” designed to support artists impacted by COVID-19.
Phem and Alison Wonderland collaborated on “WWCBD?,” inspired by the popular Netflix docu-series “Tiger King” viewed by millions in March during the quarantine kickoff.
THE COMMUNITY SPOKE OUT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE, AND LISTENED.
As protests for racial justice and equality took place around the world, creators and fans connected to make their voices heard. They also streamed tracks with titles or tags related to the Black Lives Matter movement over 53,568,028 times.
Coming soon: SoundCloud’s new compilation project “i am OTHER, Volume 2,” created to elevate artists promoting social justice, Black empowerment and unity, is out December 11.
In June, Juicy J dropped “Hella Fuckin’ Trauma” in response to racist violence following the death of George Floyd.
Tobe Nwigwe shared “I Need You To (Breonna Taylor)” calling for the arrest of the killers of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain.
WooDaRealest and Killer Mike released “Greatness,” a reflection on being Black in America and a call to rise up to create change.
ARTISTS ENGAGED WITH FANS IN REAL TIME
SoundCloud’s immediate social music experience makes the platform a powerful place to share and connect in real time. Here are a few creators who quickly reacted to major cultural moments with inspired music and messages that connected them with fans.
Bad Bunny paid tribute to Kobe Bryant with “6 Rings,” a heartfelt dedication uploaded one day after Bryant’s passing.
NBA All-Star and rapper Dame D.O.L.L.A. surprise-dropped celebratory EP Live From the Bubble just hours after leading the Portland Trail Blazers into the playoffs.
Now that we’ve celebrated SoundCloud’s top creators and moments around the world, it’s time to check out your own personal faves. Revisit the creators that kept you going this year with your personalized playlist, Your 2020 Playback, on SoundCloud now.
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