SoundCloud says it’s not going away. I’m glad to hear that because I can’t lose SoundCloud. Ever.
Last week, SoundCloud announced layoffs of 173 employees (about half of its staff), as well as the closing of its offices in San Francisco and London. TechCrunch’s Josh Constine later found out that those layoffs and other cost-cutting measures only gave SoundCloud enough runway to Q4. I took that to mean that SoundCloud was at risk of shutting down, but its CEO Alex Ljung says the company isn’t going anywhere.
“Last week we had to make some tough decisions to let go of some of our staff, but we did this to ensure SoundCloud remains a strong, independent company,” Ljung wrote yesterday in a post titled, “SoundCloud is here to stay.”
Ljung’s post came shortly after Chance the Rapper (pictured above), an artist who got his start on SoundCloud, posted on Twitter that he was “working on the SoundCloud thing.” After a “fruitful call” with Ljung, Chance tweeted “@SoundCloud is here to stay.”
TechCrunch reached out to SoundCloud in an attempt to figure out what happened on that call, and if Chance invested in the company to save it.
“As an active member of the SoundCloud community, Chance connected with co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Ljung, to inquire about the rumors and speculation circulating,” a SoundCloud spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Chance’s takeaway is reflected in his tweet. SoundCloud is here to stay. You can read more here.”
But what’s missing from these statements is how SoundCloud will survive. SoundCloud is an online music and podcast streaming service that enables artists and creators to upload, record and share their tracks. It gives unsigned artists an easy to reach tons of fans. It also gives people like me an easy way to listen to all of the best mashups, remixes and DJ sets.
SoundCloud has been one of my go-to places for music for years. Sure, I have a Spotify account and use the service at least weekly, but SoundCloud is the service I’m guaranteed to use daily. It’s usually what I use to listen to music during the workday.
To give you a taste of why I love SoundCloud so much, just listen to this track by Gigamesh. It’s nearly an hour long but I swear to you, every minute is worth it.
Here’s another, much shorter, example.
Even though SoundCloud is struggling, the company could raise more money before it runs out of funding. Or, it could sell itself (for much less than its valuation of $700 million in 2014), but based on the wording of the Ljung’s recent statement, it seems that SoundCloud wants to remain independent for now.
SoundCloud has previously been in acquisition talks with both Twitter and more recently, Spotify, but neither of those deals went through. With Spotify, the two made it into “advanced talks” about an acquisition in 2016, but Spotify walked away because it feared acquiring SoundCloud could negatively affect its IPO preparation, according to a TechCrunch source. That’s because of the licensing issues that would come along with SoundCloud. If Spotify does go public, which it is expected to, perhaps Spotify can close the deal. Though, there are also rumors that Deezer is mulling over a purchase of SoundCloud.
No matter what happens — funding versus acquisition versus who knows what — Ljung says SoundCloud is not going away “anytime in the foreseeable future.” I hope that’s true, but I can’t help but feel a bit skeptical.