Creating Successful Online Communities and Avoiding the Pitfalls of Broken Business Models


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 16, 2023

4 min read


Creating Successful Online Communities and Avoiding the Pitfalls of Broken Business Models


Building and managing online communities can be a challenging task. While the potential benefits of fostering a thriving community are immense, many online communities fail to reach their full potential. On the other hand, broken business models can also have a detrimental effect on platforms designed to support artists and creators. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the failure of online communities and the impact of SoundCloud's broken business model on artists. Additionally, we will provide actionable advice on how to build a better community and avoid the pitfalls of flawed business models.

The Importance of Buy-In and Community Curation:

One crucial aspect of building a successful online community is getting members to buy into the community's purpose and values. Psychology tells us that when individuals are emotionally invested in something, they are more likely to remain committed to it. By clearly defining the purpose and expectations of the community, it becomes easier to attract members who will contribute positively and actively engage with others. Curating the community to include active and engaged individuals rather than focusing solely on increasing the number of members is essential for maintaining a healthy and meaningful community.

Quality Over Quantity and the Onboarding Process:

Another key factor in creating a successful online community is prioritizing quality over quantity. While it may be tempting to aim for a large number of members, a community with little activity or filled with spam content is unlikely to thrive. Instead, focus on providing value to members on a daily basis and creating "magical" moments that showcase the community's unique value proposition. Additionally, investing in a well-designed onboarding process can significantly improve the experience for new members. By guiding them through the initial steps of joining and participating in the community, you can alleviate any overwhelming feelings and increase their likelihood of becoming active participants.

Finding New Ways to Add Value and Delivering It Effectively:

To engage and retain members, it is crucial to continually find new ways to add value to the community. Understanding why people are coming to your community and identifying the best channels to deliver this value are essential. By consistently providing valuable content, discussions, and opportunities for connection, you can create a strong emotional connection between members and the community. Additionally, focusing on effective communication channels, whether it be through a dedicated website, social media platforms, or a combination of both, will ensure that the value is delivered efficiently and reaches the intended audience.

The Impact of SoundCloud's Broken Business Model on Artists:

SoundCloud, once a thriving platform for artists and creators, faced significant challenges due to its broken business model. Artists abusing features, derivative copyrighted material, confusing paid tiers, and the rise of bad actors flooding the platform with undisclosed advertising all contributed to the platform's decline. The introduction of reposts made it easy for artists to artificially boost their streams, leading to a flood of mediocre music and paid promotions. This shift in dynamics favored the biggest stars, leaving smaller, up-and-coming artists at a disadvantage. SoundCloud's focus on major labels also diminished the remix culture that had originally fueled the platform's success. Furthermore, SoundCloud's slow progress in providing monetization options for indie artists left many feeling left out and undervalued, leading to a fractured and one-sided relationship between the platform and its creators.


Creating and managing successful online communities requires careful planning, curation, and continuous adaptation to meet the evolving needs of members. By focusing on buy-in, quality over quantity, thoughtful onboarding, and consistently adding value, communities can thrive. Additionally, platforms supporting artists and creators must prioritize fair and inclusive business models that empower and reward all participants. By learning from the failures of online communities and broken business models, we can build better communities and support the growth and success of artists and creators in the digital landscape.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Clearly define the purpose and values of your community to attract members who align with your vision.
  • 2. Prioritize quality over quantity by focusing on active and engaged members rather than simply increasing the number of members.
  • 3. Invest in a well-designed onboarding process to guide new members and ensure a positive experience from the start.

Remember, building successful online communities and supporting artists through fair business models requires continuous effort, adaptation, and attention to the needs and expectations of members and creators alike.

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