Oh, SoundCloud. How Did It Get to This?

SoundCloud is my friend. Whenever I need to post audio-only material–say, an interview I’ve done–posting it to SoundCloud and embedding the player is so bloody convenient. Now but it seems that the service is threatened with extinction. The company has never made money and they’re reportedly running out of cash. How did it come to this? Bobby points us to this article at Business Insider:

Reports started to appear online on July 5 that said SoundCloud was about to cut its 420-strong workforce by 40%. Bloomberg had read a draft blog post in which SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung explained that the company was letting go of 173 staff, and shutting down its offices in London and San Francisco (leaving only offices in New York City and Berlin) as part of an effort to reduce costs at the company whose losses have been spiralling out of control.

“Nobody saw it coming,” a SoundCloud employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Business Insider. “It was a sudden announcement.”

Those that remain at the company could be forgiven for feeling nervous. SoundCloud’s existing cash reserves will only carry it through to the fourth quarter of the year, which is less than 50 days away, according to sources cited by TechCrunch. SoundCloud has attempted to downplay the TechCrunch report, although the company confirmed last week that it is in the process of trying to raise more capital.

The leaked blog post that Bloomberg saw was quickly published onto SoundCloud’s website and there have been two company all-hands meetings since.

uring last week’s all-hands meeting — held on July 11 and monitored by a number of security personnel — “SoundClouders” were looking for answers as to why the company had to suddenly lay off almost half of its staff.

Staff wanted to know why they hadn’t been warned that cuts were on the way, and the remaining employees wanted assurance that the cost reductions would keep the company in business for the foreseeable future.

“The all hands today was absolutely horrible,” another SoundCloud employee, who also wishes to remain anonymous, told Business Insider shortly after the meeting. “[There were] no real answers and [they were] politically avoiding questions.”

Ljung and cofounder Eric Wahlforss accepted “no ownership of the responsibility and no admittance of fault,” the source claimed, adding that they also failed to state whether there would be any repercussions for the executives that have led SoundCloud into the sticky position it now finds itself in.

Keep reading.

Just in case it all goes down badly, someone has downloaded all 900 terabytes’ worth of audio on SoundCloud. You know, just in case.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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