SoundCloud: Editorial

In Spring of 2019 SoundCloud launched its first foray into on-platform editorial programming with the goal of organically driving listening time, discovery, artist support, and ultimately convert passive free tier listeners into highly-engaged paid subscribers of the platform.

Through data analysis and expert knowledge, SoundCloud’s editorial team leveraged signals to develop a robust and differentiated listening experience that supports and honors the communities and genres that emerge and thrive on SoundCloud.

Visually, the challenge was defining and developing a scalable design system that represents the diverse communities SoundCloud serves while ensuring that the content and visual identity are fully differentiated from what you might see on other streaming platforms.
The identity is broken out by franchise and genre based on an in-depth taxonomy developed by the editorial team. Hip-Hop should feel different than electronic and electronic should feel different than rock. Within any given genre there is a hierarchy of visual representation. A top 40 Hip-Hop playlist should feel cleaner than a basement trap playlist from an emerging Carolina collective.

While each genre has distinct design features, color palettes, pattern libraries, we designed the system to allow maximum flexibility to evolve and grow the visual identity as music and culture change. Since launch, over 400 (and growing) custom playlists have been manually created by SoundCloud.

Creative Director: Reed Van Nort
Designers: Kate Weiner, Andrew Joseph, Devin Hobdy, Reed Van Nort