Tag Archives: soundcloud

SoundCloud, the ‘YouTube for audio’, cuts 173 jobs, closes San Francisco, London offices

Some rough news today for SoundCloud, the audio streaming site whose content is largely based around uploads from its 175 million users in 190 countries. The company has announced that it is laying off 173 employees, and it is closing offices in San Francisco and London. The moves are being described as cost cutting measures “to ensure our path to long-term, independent success,” in the words of co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung, who revealed the news in a blog post. The startup, which was founded in Berlin in 2008, will continue to have offices in Berlin and New York.

The news comes after a rough period for SoundCloud. After entering into talks but never closing two potential acquisitions, first to Twitter and then to Spotify, Soundcloud arranged a $70 million credit line in March of this year to help the business continue to operate as it worked on closing a round of funding believed to be in the region of $100 million.

Today’s news could mean one of two things: either the funding never closed and/or investors who are considering it have laid down some cost-cutting conditions in order to see it go through. The fact that there is no funding round being announced today makes me guess that the round has yet to close.

SoundCloud — which was co-founded by Ljung and Eric Wahlforss — to date has raised around $193 million. Its current investors include Universal, Sony and Warner Music — who all took stakes as part of the company’s efforts to move away from a strong issue around licensing for tracks uploaded to its platform.


Other backers include as a number of VCs and others including GGV, Index, IVP, KPCB, Twitter (who invested about two years after the acquisition deal fell through) and Union Square Ventures.

At the time of the credit line, the company told us in a statement that it was expecting 2.5-times year-on-year growth at the company:

“We are pleased to have secured a flexible $70 million credit line from Ares Capital, Kreos Capital and Davidson Technology that is ideally structured for a company with our strong credit rating and in our stage of growth,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. “This new funding will enable SoundCloud to strategically grow our technology and personnel resources to fuel our expected 2.5 times year-over-year growth in 2017, while building a financially sustainable platform on which our connected community of creators, listeners and curators can thrive for years to come.”

In today’s blog post by Ljung, he noted that revenue has “more than doubled” (notably leaving out the 2.5x figure). But in any case, those revenues are not massive: in the company’s last UK filings, a condition of operating in the UK, it noted that 2015 revenues were at €21.1 million, or $24 million, implying fiscal year 2016 revenues of about €50 million.

But at the same time, SoundCloud’s losses have continued to grow: 2015’s net loss was just over €51 million.


In addition to funding and financial issues, there are questions about what direction the actual business is taking.

SoundCloud has been making a lot of efforts to build out revenue-generating services, currently focused mainly around subscription tiers for premium content for users; special tiers for content creators; and advertising. However, it’s not at all clear how many users it has picked up in these areas, or how well the ad play is working as the company has never disclosed numbers.

It has also faced a lot of changes in its personnel. Most recently, the company parted ways with its chief content officer, Stephen Bryan. It’s chief revenue officer, Alison Moore, who joined last year, appears to still be with the company.

The bigger picture has been a somewhat grim one for the digital music industry: although digital has overtaken recorded, physical music as the primary way that people “purchase” and consume music today, the economics of the business have never added up. Pandora and Spotify, the two biggest streaming companies today, are both operating at a loss. Pandora recently picked up a new investor, Sirius XM, but it appeared to come at its own cost: the company also sold off its Ticketfly ticketing business, parted ways with its iconic CEO and closed its small international operations.


SoundCloud, the ‘YouTube for audio’, cuts 173 jobs, closes San Francisco, London offices

SoundCloud is now available on Xbox One

SoundCloud has released an app on Xbox One, allowing users to listen to the millions of tracks available on the streaming service. The app will work for anyone with a SoundCloud account — paid or free — and users will be able to listen to music in the background while they play a game.


An app for Windows 10 is launching in beta as well, and will be available in the Windows Store later this week. Hopefully a Mac app is also in the works — desktop apps for music services are usually an improvement over another battery-draining Chrome tab. You can download the SoundCloud app on your Xbox One today.



SoundCloud launches cheaper, $5 subscriptions

Streaming-music service SoundCloud launched cheaper, $5 subscriptions Tuesday, giving people the option of paying less for most of the same features of its $10 option but without the full music catalog.

The company, often called the “YouTube of audio,” first launched an all-you-can-eat music service last year for $10 a month. That transformed SoundCloud into paid subscriptions from its all-free stockpile of user-uploaded tracks for the first time, but the company is facing the prospect of running out of money this year if business doesn’t pick up.

The cheaper plan strips away ads and allows offline listening, just like the $10 plan. But people paying $5, which converts to around £4 or AU$6.50, will be locked out of millions of tracks included only in the pricier tier. The $5 members can hear a 30-second preview of such songs.

SoundCloud is unique among music services because of the foundation it’s built on: tens of millions of unofficial recordings, be it Chance the Rapper’s Grammy-winning mixtape or an unsanctioned DJ remix. Listeners flock to the service, with 175 million people tuning in every month. By comparison, Spotify last disclosed it had surpassed 100 million active listeners in June. But launching a $5 tier isn’t groundbreaking. Both Pandora and Amazon offer lower-priced options that crimp listening somewhat while still unlocking features that a free listener doesn’t get.

In an announcement late Monday, SoundCloud renamed its $10 service SoundCloud Go+ and called its new $5 plan SoundCloud Go. The more expensive Go+ offers unlimited listening of 150 million tracks, including tens of millions of officially licensed songs. The cheaper Go tier has access to 120 million songs. SoundCloud didn’t characterize the music that will be out-of-bounds for lower-priced members, but $5 subscribers are likely to find themselves locked out of some official songs by big artists.


The new plan launched Tuesday in the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Canada and Germany. SoundCloud’s free, ad-supported version is unchanged.



My Podcast is Available on Itunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud

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How to Make money using SoundCloud | Get more SoundCloud followers

SoundCloud is unique in the social media and music streaming worlds. You can follow bands and musicians like a social network, but the basis of the platform is uploading music. This duality has lead to it becoming quite popular, especially when you add on the free to join angle.

Artists wanting to make money directly off SoundCloud, however, have had few options. It had been working great as a way to gain exposure, but it wasn’t until they added the On SoundCloud monetization option that artists could make money off their creations. I’m going to help you understand how you can make money on SoundCloud, and show you a few promotion ideas to get you going.

Making money on SoundCloud: The On SoundCloud program

The On SoundCloud partner program is quite similar to YouTube’s Partner Program. Artists are paid when users view or listen to ads while enjoying the music the artists upload. The general idea is that artists are paid for each ad that plays during one of their tracks in the same manner as YouTube’s Partner Program shares revenue.

The great thing about the On SoundCloud program is that it goes directly to the artists. There’s no middle company, record company, or brand getting in the way. Artists have a direct connection to their music making money.

The tiers of the On SoundCloud program

As with everything online, a few tiers of service have been created. Each one offers bands different services, has different costs associated with it, but only one will get you paid for your music:

Partner: This free account is for beginners. There is no monetization option. What you get is:

  • 3 hours of free uploads of your tracks
  • Basic stats to start growing your following
  • The ability to join their Insider group for free tips

There’s no money to be made here directly, but you can work on getting your tracks heard and your name out there.

Pro/Pro Unlimited: There is only one difference between Pro, and Pro Unlimited. The Pro Unlimited offers you an unlimited amount of uploads, while Pro offers 6 hours. The similarities are:

  • The ability to showcase your 5 best tracks by pinning them to the top of your listing
  • Geo-based statistics to see where your fans are
  • Social statistics to see which platforms are being used to embed your tracks

The other difference is, you guessed it, the cost. Pro costs £3.99/month or £35/year. Pro Unlimited, with unlimited track upload space, costs £8/month or £75/year.

Premier: This has all of the features of Pro Unlimited, plus a little more:

  • An account manager who will help you make your account even better
  • Exclusive music promotion opportunities for your music and profile
  • The ability to make money on your SoundCloud music

Yes, the Premier option is the only way you can currently make money on SoundCloud. How do you get it? It is invite only at the moment, but they will be expanding it to everyone soon. If you weren’t invited already, SoundCloud has told artists what they can do right now to be ready when it opens up:

  • Be on good standing within the SoundCloud community
  • Have proven their ability to build an engaged audience
  • Be able to show their growth over time

In short, you need to get to work on the tips for getting more SoundCloud plays and followers below!

How to get more SoundCloud followers and be invited to On SoundCloud Premier

The first step you will have to take is to get one of their paid accounts. Yes, you’re paying money to make money…isn’t that always the way?

The difference here is that the Pro accounts will not only make money when you’re invited to Premier, but they’ll make you money as you find out where you fans are and go there to play concerts, send people to your merchandise stores, and maybe even get them to buy your music!

Here are the social and technical things you’ll need to do to start building that engaged audience up to the point where you’re invited to the On SoundCloud Premier program:

  1. Creating favorites lists: This is your opportunity to connect with your fans and show them the music you enjoy. To really make it work, contact the bands you add and let them know. They just may check you out and add you to their own list. Think of it as being their supporting act as you build an audience.
  2. Get social and engage on tracks: You already listen to music. Listening to it on SoundCloud, and giving real feedback that’s constructive, can help you get noticed. Fans listening to the track can see that you’re knowledgable about music and become interested in you. The bands themselves can again become interested in you and return the favor.
  3. Work on your images: Having a profile and header image that works is essential. You need to have your band name and logo large enough in your profile image so that people can make it out in the thumbnail image on the homepage, and in search results. The header image should include some piece of relevant information. “Follow us for exclusive tracks,” or even “Our new album comes out August 6, 2015!” Always work on conveying as much information as you can, as simply as you can.
  4. Join relevant groups: SoundCloud is one big social community. Being a part of groups that are relevant to your band can help you find fans in a number of ways. First, joining genre specific boards helps you find people who like your specific music. Joining location specific boards helps you find fans in your hometown, or in the next stop of your tour.
  5. Tag, tag, tag: When you upload tracks you have a chance to add tags to your music. They work like hashtags on Twitter. Feel free to tag other bands that sound like you, musicians who did guest appearances on the track, radio stations that play you, and producers you worked with.

Did you read all that and think “Aw, man. You mean I have to work?” Yep, you gotta hustle, young playa! The benefit, in the end, is multiple revenue streams opening up – including a way to make money on SoundCloud directly with On SoundCloud Premier.