back to article DIY music veteran SoundCloud flounders, lays off 40% of staff

Online audio distribution platform SoundCloud is laying off two in five of its staff and closing several offices to cut its cloth in a crowded market dominated by music streaming giants. The business, founded in Berlin in 2008 by Swedish sound designer Alexander Ljung and compatriot artist Eric Wahlfross, which allows …

  1. Roo Stercogburn

    Not a shock...

    They stopped supporting the little guys with a concerted move to deals with UMG and others. At that point functionality in their product dropped like a rock for the little guys and consequently a lot of people that had supported them in the early years seethed for a bit then voted with their money and went elsewhere. They offer so little now if you're an unknown artist you're almost better just making your own website using a cheap package and sharing from there rather than using SoundCloud.

    Still a decent platform to share music on but others such as Hearthis.at have long since overtaken them as better platforms for sharing music with features such as higher quality and lossless streaming.

    They might like to quote big numbers for listeners but not many of them will be paying subscribers since the benefits for paying are very little now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a shock...

      I heard they changed something for the little guy, but outside supporting 1 MegaCorp, can you give specific examples? They had a decent interface, which made me hope they would stay around.

      The way I see it, none of these music "services" will ever do great while Youtube exists. Even with Youtube gone, peoples musical taste change like their tastes in websites, and for those who's taste remains in their highschool era, Youtube is perfect.

      Honestly, my taste is all over the place. Oddly enough for me is that MySpace seems the best out of all of them, yet MySpace is regarded as a failed social site to most.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Well....

    ...you buy offices in some of the most expensive cities in the world and what do you expect.

    I was once told by a our building manager that if you take into account the cost of floor space, it costs £1000 per year for a waste paper bin in the heart of the City of London.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well....

      Yep.

      As a US citizen, I understand the NYC location, but as a German, is London really that foreign to you? In fact as a first worlder, isn't London and NYC basically the most identical 2 cities you can pick across countries? Maybe they should keep 1 or the other, but not both. If they dropped NYC, they could pick Austin or Nashville or Portland or even something like Atlanta. Then if they still wanted to spend the same, they could open an office in BFE Japan or India or some other country to open doors.

      1. Blane Bramble

        Re: Well....

        In fact as a first worlder, isn't London and NYC basically the most identical 2 cities you can pick across countries?

        Why pick London at all, if you're trying to appeal to the concept of new music etc. surely Liverpool or Manchester would make more of a statement, and save the pennies.

  3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Headcount

    SoundCloud employed 420 people.

    Whenever I read stories about these big name tech companies who are making huge losses and.or laying off staff, I'm always perplexed by the scale of their operations.

    Thinking about companies I have worked for...there was one who developed systems for big corporates, for deployment on a national scale, and marketed in the UK and worldwide. We did that with a staff of <100, including technical, sales, marketing, bean-counting, etc.

    Obviously, I don't know the detail of what does on in a company such as SoundCloud, but a head count well in excess of 420 seems a lot for comapny which, so far as I can tell, just do one online service.

    1. Spud

      Re: Headcount

      Developers, developers, developers ....... you know ... the same ones that gave us that wonderful site redesign we all loved ...... oh .... the same ones that kept changing functionality and removed the groups which at least made it feel like a community. No way to advertise yourself and at the mercy of the sites algorithm deciding to show off your latest upload instead of you being able to put it in front of a like minded crowd. I'm also hoping so of those laid off were the managers who pulled the wool over everyones eyes in how sites like this become popular in the first place.

      I used to pay for the service and would be on it all day everyday..... now I can't find what I want to listen too easily and all my DJ friends have moved to different platforms offering a useable service and for next to nothing.

      RIP SC ... you did good until you forgot how you got there ....

  4. breakfast

    I use it for podcasting which you would think would be an ideal revenue stream for them seeing as it necessitates a lot of data and you pretty much have to pay to subscribe ( also true of every other podcast service of course ) but they don't put much effort into supporting it or making positive moves for podcasters and I have certainly heard some horror stories from other podcasters about working with them. If they're going to focus on content creators then offering some podcast support seems like a fair idea.

  5. Aynon Yuser

    I enjoy posting music that I produced on SoundCloud. It hasn't made me famous or a dime, but I do enjoy it.

    Perhaps I havent explored it enough (yet) but I would have enjoyed it if it were more like a social media app, talk directly with other musicians, etc. Also find artists locally or from the surrounding areas, perhaps and option to collaborate with others, etc.

    I consider myself a competent artist, likening my work to Alternative Dance of which there is no genre, but there are just too much "kids" with the same boring beats, heavy with autotune and vocal fx basically making the app barely listenable. I've come across a few gems that I've actually enjoyed and "hearted".

    I don't even know how to get my songs on any of the charts, and I don't understand exactly how it works. I'm wondering if I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'd like to see some type of tutorial on how to use SC properly.

    For now my music just sits there and if I'm lucky I get one play a week. LMAO!

    1. Malcom Ryder 1

      I've done my part to help keep Soundcloud afloat, when ever I post a new song I send a link to some of my friends, some of whom actually listen to it. Sound cloud shows ads to them, so I've done my bit. They need to find more popular bands to upload their music on their site. Sorry Soundcloud, but I tried

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > For now my music just sits there and if I'm lucky I get one play a week.

      Well, posting a link here to your SC profile would be a good start, methinks!

      Since SoundCloud and similar have appeared, I shun label "musicians", as if you dig around you will find at least as good or usually better quality artists who are not constrained by the diktat from the big label producers and therefore show a lot more originality. I also like not being jackbooted into paying or insulted by those idiotic threats and "FBI warnings" (I'm in Europe anyway and you can stick your FBI up your arse and then twist) *and* the fact that when I do like something I can pay, usually voluntarily, directly to the artist who gets to keep most of the money, as opposed to the 0.1%-1% that "label" guys used to get.

  6. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Facepalm

    420 people?

    Seriously?

    How many of those were middle management, or low value sales people who only just bring in 4-5% above their salary per year, I wonder?

    But really, 420 people? No wonder they're making a loss.

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    Their ABuse of script/cookies/etc. always bugged me

    I always had no luck trying to hear 'soundcloud' streams without enabling all of the things I hate in a browser, JUST! FOR! THEM! (i.e. cookies, excessive script, etc.)

    As an amateur musician, who publishes things on an older site (Soundclick, and before that mp3.com when it had that capability), I don't want to present (to any potential listener) my content when it's ENCUMBERED by "all of that".

    Of course Soundclick isn't perfect, but it's a LOT less irritating. I suspect that the others would have click-jacking privacy-violating facebitch/twatter/whatever icon+hidden graphic tracking etc. all over them. I don't remember seeing that on Soundclick last I checked, but it's been a while since I uploaded any content.

    [a free service paid for ONLY by non-intrusive ads is a nice idea though, so someone should do that if not already available]

    but yeah I didn't even bother TRYING to stream a soundcloud link at some point, a long time ago.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > I always had no luck trying to hear 'soundcloud' streams without enabling all of the things I hate in a browser

    Yeah, they're a bit heavy on the scripting and sometimes can make it sluggish, but not sure what the problem is with cookies. They come, they invade your computer, and when they start to get all settled and comfortable you close your browser and *puff!* they're all gone.

    You do run a hardened browser in permanent private mode, do you?

  9. myhandler

    Bandcamp seems much better for us little guys and less anonymous as you can add pictures.

    And none of the stupid cross linking where you get random crap in someone's listing.

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