How to build a community of musical artists?


I have recently started a community for artists to come submit their music to my small music label and also get feedback from the community about their work.

Problem is, people are joining, making one thread, and leaving. Majority do not bother to reply to other people’s posts to give them feedback on their work.

I want to incite more community interaction by forcing new members to reply to 5 posts in order to create a thread. I have edited the trust levels where a member gets promoted to TL1 by just viewing 5 threads but I am afraid this will not be sufficient.

Is there any way to increase user trust level by post count?

Thanks much!


Starting off a community is hard, you can build little loops to reward and gamify the experience, but what you need first and foremost is a dedicated core of people who will help keep the wheels turning.

Trust level based on raw post count rewards less meaningful contributions. The exact contributions Discourse is designed to discourage. Take a look at the likes system and the other badges that are available and have a think about how the kinds of content you’re looking for could tie into that. Depending on where your site is hosted you can also create custom badges to reward behaviors specific to individual categories and type of post.

Your goal should be giving them meaningful ways to engage, and that’s going to require people to engage with.

Your idea about putting Spotify in a onebox is a good start, it gives people a reason to visit, but you’re almost certainly going to need more.

Take a look at these posts, they’re a good starting place for the coming weeks and months:


First you have to make your point clear, just the way you’ve just done here.
They need to know that they’d only be seen when they let others feel seen.
Enforcing that somehow would then be of benefit.


Hey, thanks for the response.

In this case, I disagree. The lofi hip-hop music market is very saturated and due to this, lofi artists can post their content all over the web and it will likely get zero responses due to the sheer volume of submissions posted online. These artists spend hours, days, weeks, and years creating content and get little to no exposure or opinions on their work.

By strictly enforcing a certain number of replies to threads in order for users to create a thread of their own, people are incentivized to listen to other peoples’ tracks. Otherwise, my site will just be a cesspool of endless lofi hip-hop tracks just like the other respective online lofi hip-hop submission resources such as the lofi hip hop reddit communities which are overflown with threads that have zero replies.

Point being, I do believe enforcing such a rule will make people actually want to listen to other peoples’ tracks and provide valuable feedback - most of the time.


Exactly. This is why I believe post-count-based trust level would be beneficial to my community and I would love to learn how make this possible!


Right, but if people just come and post their work, and nobody is interacting with the work of others, then how is that any different to you just scraping the latest releases on Spotify and soundcloud to create posts?

No, they’re incentivized to reply, and that’s all they’re incentivized to do, because that’s the only metric you’re asking for above. You aren’t looking at means to measure the quality of reply, you’ve no means to tell if they click the play button in a onebox.

That’s the challenge you’re up against.

If your only metric is numbers of replies, then you’re just creating a slightly higher bar for people to post theirs, there’s no real requirement for them to do anything else.

You aren’t the first person to think of or ask this, hopefully you can benefit from the experiences here on meta which has led to more informed approaches. It’s the reason that read time is far more central to Discourse than say, post counts.


It isn’t any different, which is why I am trying to generate more activity in the threads! I am building a brand and I want this brand to be able to really push unknown talent into a bigger spotlight.

Good points. Perhaps organic engagement would deliver better results. I will take your advice and look for other ways to encourage artists to give their opinions on other artists. At the moment it kind of feels like a grab’n’go opportunity because everyone wants to be featured on my youtube platform. Perhaps I’ll make it public that submissions to my platform will have increased consideration to active members.

The site is in very early stages right now as it is only 2 days old. I currently have 100 posts and about 25 registered members. If you’d like to take a look and see if you have any ideas please feel free!

Thanks for all the advice, btw.

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My suggestion would be to look at creating a group for artists with appropriate flair to serve as a status symbol, and entitle them to post new topics in a specific category. Normal users would only be able to see and reply to existing topics. For now you would need to curate the topics which appear in that category yourself.

But that’s probably not important right now, your first goal is just establishing a user base of regulars. You need an audience for these artists to feel compelled to visit, contribute, and achieve that status.


Make sure you’ve fully read those blog posts @stephen posted. They are essential.


Thanks very much, I’ll check them out.

I have a question about SEO and was curious if you could help me. My site title is “Lofi Zone | The Home of Lofi Hip-Hop” but google search is only showing “Lofi Zone”

Any clue why this could be?

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Based on personal experience, it is difficult to get people to listen to new music online. There are a few possible reasons for this. One simple explanation is that to listen to music, the listener needs to devote a few minutes of their time to the task. If the potential listener already has music that they have chosen playing, they need to turn that off before they can click the link to listen to the new track. Asking people to devote a few minutes of their time to click on a music link that’s been created by a complete stranger may not produce great results.

Possible solutions for an online community

Grant creation rights based on activity on the forum

The idea of requiring a certain number of replies to be created before the user can create a topic in your music category would be one way of doing this, but I think that people would learn how to game the system fairly quickly. This could lead to a lot of low quality “Nice track!” replies. I think that increasing the value of the tl1 requires time spent mins setting would have a better effect. I’m not sure that this would solve the problem though.

Help musicians create more engaging topics

Please note that what follows is just my opinion. I can’t promise that it would be a successful approach.

Encourage musicians to create interesting topics that give readers/listeners some background about the artist and track. Ideally, have the musician post links to their music that can be listened to directly in the Discourse topic (Soundcloud, Youtube, Vimeo…)

A Discourse topic template could be useful for this. It could be constructed as a series of questions so that the topic is structured like an interview. The first question in the template could be something like “What have you been working on lately?” The artist would reply to that question with a link to their track. Subsequent optional questions could be designed to give readers/listeners some background about the artist:

  • where do you live?
  • who are the members of your band?
  • what does your studio look like?
  • is there anything unique about your approach to making music?
  • what hobbies do you have outside of music?
  • what is your favourite band?

Silly, random questions would be good too. Uploading pictures and links to videos as answers to the questions could be encouraged. The final topic would ideally have a oneboxed music link near the top of the topic, and enough content to keep the reader/listener engaged for a minute or so.

You could help with topic creation by enabling the “require moderator approval for all new topics” category setting. Category moderators would be useful to help with this. If requiring approval for all new topics is too much work, moderators could still keep an eye on music topics that are created. Topics that need work could be flagged and suggestions for improving them could be given. Moderators could also supply questions for the topic that are appropriate for the musician.

The idea with the above approach is to give the listener some context about the artist and try to develop empathy between the musician and the listener. I think that in a more “normal” listening situation in a music venue, that empathy develops naturally. On the internet, it will take some effort to bring the listener into the musician’s world.

As an example of what could be done, here’s a screenshot from my development site of a music topic that was created by answering the questions I added to a category topic template. The entire topic doesn’t fit in the screenshot:

Compare that with the types of topics that are being created here: Post Your Lofi - Lofi Zone | The Home of Lofi Hip-Hop.

One last thing to note. As someone who posts music on the internet, I am just as happy if my post receives a like as I am if it receives a reply. It may be shallow, but artists need feedback from the public. It’s part of the reason that they do what they do. Do what you can to encourage your site’s readers to click the like button for any tracks that they like.


Hi , Hi all!

This is an interesting topic, for me, for two reasons:

  1. I am about to start a multi-lingual community in a web school mainly about video game programming for beginners, other topics will be available later if everything goes fine.
  2. I am a musician, a guitar player to be precise.

  1. The question of the topic is intriguing, I thought replies would be positive but it seems, to those experienced people around, that only rewarding post count is not as effective as one could think at first.
    I guess it could easily be abused, It may not be easy to check if a post is valuable.
    Result would be a spam of short replies for some people.
    Also checking for threads read count may easily be abused…
    This is not an easy task you have to deal with and I understand your need for more interactions between musicians.
    People can easily go into “advertisement only mode” if they can…
    I’m also wondering how to effectively build a community so I’ll be sure to check out the tutorials that you guys posted here, thanks for that.

  2. As I said I’m a guitar player, 12 years experienced, I’m not sure my content would fit into your site.
    My specialty is improvising while listening to music, results may vary but i’ve had great jams lately.
    I’m back streaming on twitch since 2 weeks, i’ve done multiple jamming sessions while listening to various music style.
    Please tell me if something can be done about me maybe improvising on lo-fi music from your community creators or elsewhere.
    Feel free to check the jams I’ve clipped on my twitch account, you’ll get an idea of my style.
    Collaborating with other musicians in this kind of exercice would really be great!
    You can PM me if needed.

I hope my post content is not out of place, if so I apologize.



I’ve retitled the topic to better reflect what it actually contains.