An extract on #soundcloud
SoundCloud was established in Berlin in August 2008 by Swedish sound designer Ljung and Swedish artist Wahlforss. The founders aspired to allow musicians to share recordings with each other, but the concept later transformed into a full publishing tool that also allowed musicians to distribute their music tracks.
A few months after inception, SoundCloud began to challenge the dominance of Myspace as a platform for musicians to distribute their music by allowing recording artists to interact more nimbly with their fans.
In a 2009 interview with Wired, Ljung said:
In April 2009, SoundCloud received 2.5 million Series A funding from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures. By May 2010, SoundCloud announced it had one million users.
In January 2011, it was confirmed that SoundCloud had raised a US$10 million Series B funding round from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. On 15 June 2011, SoundCloud announced they had five million registered users, and investments from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary's A-Grade Fund.
On 23 January 2012, SoundCloud announced on their blog that they had 10 million registered users. By May 2012, 15 million users were announced by the company at a press conference held in San Francisco, where a new version of the API was previewed. The usage level for the site was growing by 1.5 million users per month at this stage.
The new API was released to the public in December 2012. To accommodate the proliferation of mobile devices, it provided new features such as: redesigned profiles; more sharing options; real-time notifications; continuous play, which allows concurrent listening and site navigation; the ability to create personal collections/sets; and the addition of real-time indexing to search. The response from users was mixed, and many expressed dissatisfaction with the change. SoundCloud received over 60,000 comments regarding the new layout by 10 December 2012. Also in December 2012, the company's data showed that SoundCloud was reaching 180 million people per month8 percent of the global Internetwhile users were uploading 10 hours of content every minute.
In March 2013, Twitter announced SoundCloud as a third-party music partner, alongside iTunes, in developing the Twitter's first integrated music app. However, the initiative never eventuated; SoundCloud's inability to load licensed musicdue to the absence of arrangements with the major music labelswas cited as a major reason. By July 2013, SoundCloud's registered users had quadrupled in number from the beginning of the previous year, with a total of 40 million, and an additional 20 million listeners were using the service on a monthly basis.
SoundCloud announced in January 2014 that it had commenced negotiations with the major music companies, as copyrighted material consistently appeared on the platform. The announcement was publicised after a round of funding in which US$60 million was raised, resulting in a $700 million valuation. The additional finances were suggested as the reason for the plan, as finalizing such deals is a costly process.
In March 2014, SoundCloud was reportedly in a second round of talks with major music labels about licensing after the January negotiations did not amount to anything substantial. According to media sources, the negotiation process was initiated in an attempt to avoid the problems faced by Google, which is forced to handle a large number of takedown notices on its YouTube video-sharing platform. However, the outcome of the talks was not forthcoming in any media sources.
In May 2014 the media reported that Twitter had regained interest in SoundCloud and was considering acquiring the platform for around US$2 billion, but after the publicity of the deal surfaced, the prospect was no longer an active consideration. One media report stated that "the numbers didn't add up", while Bobby Owsinski claimed on the Forbes website in July that SoundCloud's ongoing inability to secure deals with the major music labels was the foremost culprit.
On 28 September 2016, Spotify announced that it was in talks to buy SoundCloud, but on 8 December 2016, Spotify was reported to have abandoned its acquisition plans.
In July 2017 SoundCloud announced that it would close its San Francisco and London offices and lay off 173 out of 420 employees in an effort to become profitable, with the remaining staff operating out of offices in Berlin and New York.