The German-born streaming company has informed its staff today that 173 jobs are being cut, from a total headcount of 420.
The business will consolidate its operation across its New York and Berlin offices.
This consolidation will also close SoundCloud offices in San Francisco and London. A statement from SoundCloud cofounder Alexander Ljung acknowledged that choosing to lay off employees was a difficult decision, but it is part of SoundCloud’s plan to try and keep the company solvent:
In the competitive world of music streaming, we’ve spent the last several years growing our business, and more than doubled our revenue in the last 12 months alone. However, we need to ensure our path to long-term, independent success. And in order to do this, it requires cost cutting, continued growth of our existing advertising and subscription revenue streams, and a relentless focus on our unique competitive advantage — artists and creators.
Another report that surfaced in the wake of SoundCloud’s layoffs claims that the company only has enough money to operate until the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2017. If this is true, the company has a few months left before it may need to shut down completely.
Spotify made a splash back in 2015 when it announced that it would be bringing podcasts to its popular media-streaming platform. During that announcement, Spotify indicated it would be working with a select group of partners to bring the first round of podcasts into its system. It was unclear at the time if Spotify would ever host an open podcast directory similar to iTunes or TuneIn, or if it would instead be a tiny walled garden, accessible to only a few podcast producers.
Despite pleas from the podcasting community, Spotify remained conspicuously silent on whether or not the company would ever take open submissions from podcasters. In the two years following that initial announcement, Spotify continued to experiment with how to handle podcasts within its suite of cross-platform apps. But the Sweden-based streaming service never made much in the way of official announcements about podcasting.
And while it seems Spotify’s general take on podcasting hasn’t changed all that much, the company has done one thing, albeit quietly, that podcasters have been asking for. Spotify has created an online submission form podcasters can use to request their shows be included within the platform’s podcast offering.
Those who elect to submit a podcast to Spotify should proceed with realistic expectations. The form warns that, “All submissions will be reviewed, and you’ll be notified once approved. Please note submission does not guarantee automatic approval.” And while all podcast-syndication platforms have their own internal requirements for approval, Spotify hasn’t publicized exactly what its criteria is for an acceptable podcast. One bit of advice that has floated around for some time is that, shows with little or no music tend to get Spotify’s approval more often than shows that use a lot of music.
Overall, it seems like Spotify still has a long way to go in order to truly embrace podcasting. But its willingness to consider open submissions is a step in the right direction.
The Mozilla Foundation has been an integral force on the internet since… well, the beginning of the internet. The organization developed the first widely used web browser, Netscape, over tweety years ago. Today, Mozilla is known for its continuing work on the popular Firefox browser, along with many other internet-related projects.
It seems only natural that a company with such deep ties to the internet would eventually produce a podcast about the internet. Mozilla’s describes its new IRL podcast as:
Let’s face it: our online life is real life. We walk, talk, work, LOL and even love on the Internet — but we don’t always treat it like real life. In IRL, an original podcast from Mozilla, host Veronica Belmont explores this disconnect with stories from the wilds of the Web, and gets to the bottom of online issues that affect us all.
Veronica Belmont, host of the new IRL podcast, has created content in the past for CNET, TWiT, Sony, and Revision3. According to her bio on the IRL podcast site, Belmont is also a Product Manager at Growbot.io, as well as a startup advisor, and board member at about.me.
Making podcast audio sharable online is certainly a worthwhile task. When was the last time a piece of audio went viral? After all, it can be tough to easily share long-form content. Or more specifically, segments of that long-form content.
Podcast-clip sharing service Clammr had hoped to be the solution to this problem. But alas, the company has announced it will be shutting down. From an e-mail sent to registered Clammr users:
Dear Clammr Users:
It’s time for our team to move on to new adventures. We write to inform you that we will be shutting down the Clammr service at 11:59pm ET on 2 July 2017.
Thank you for all of the creativity and joy that you have shared with the world using Clammr. We’ve been inspired by the community every day and cherish having had the opportunity to get to know so many amazing and talented people.
We realize that some of you may wish to keep the Clammr clips you created. We have posted instructions with a hack on how to do that in Section XIX of the User Guide. In short, you need to take three steps (1) share the clip to twitter using the Clammr app; (2) go to twitter and copy the url of the tweet; (3) enter the url on a tweet-to-MP4 conversion site to generate an MP4 video file that you can download.
The topic of SoundCloud’s shaky financial future has been covered here often in the past. And the latest news to come out of the Berlin-based music/podcast distribution company doesn’t do much to improve SoundCloud’s outlook.
A Hacker News user known only by the username throwaway-sc posted this question to that website’s message board:
SoundCloud has deferred salary reviews until the next funding round is complete.
Over the last few years, travel between offices has been restricted to business critical travel only. More expensive food items have started disappearing from our kitchen.
Employees used to get a small bottle of champagne on their birthdays & employment anniversaries. This doesn’t happen anymore.
All of the above feels reasonable.
However, they recently announced that the July 1 salary review that everyone was promised will be deferred. There is no information about back pay or a date about when the next salary review will happen.
Salary increases are predicated on the next round of funding. They anticipate that the round will close over the next couple of months, if not weeks.
I’m sure that everyone here will have been in similar situations before.
What did you do? And, how did you decide whether to continue working or start looking for other opportunities.
It’s worth noting that this is an anonymous post on the internet. There’s no way to confirm its authenticity. In the replies that follow the original post, other Hacker News users condemn throwaway-sc for even mentioning his employer’s name.
But if this post holds any voracity, it proves what we probably already knew; SoundCloud is still struggling financially and will need to raise more funding in order to keep going. The company’s already gone thru multiple rounds of venture capital and debt funding. How much longer can SoundCloud continue to operate on borrowed cash?
A new offering at this year’s Podcast Movement conference in California is the Ignite event that will be held the night before the conference officially opens. Ignite is described as a series of five-minute presentations (called Sparks) consisting of 20 slides that automatically advance every fifteen seconds. Sparks are designed to keep things moving so presenters stay on their toes and audience members remain engaged.
Spark submissions for Podcast Movement’s Ignite 2017 have closed. Now conference organizers are asking registered attendees of Podcast Movement to vote on the Sparks that have been submitted. On the voting form, attendees are shown a list of different Sparks with descriptions provided by the presenters who created them. Attendees are asked to select one of three choices for each Spark: Gotta See It, Sounds Okay, and Meh, I’ll Pass.
While the form is technically open and accessible to anyone, the form instructions stress that only registered attendees of Podcast Movement 2017 should be placing votes. These votes are limited to one vote per person. Spark submissions will be removed if Podcast Movement determines there has been cheating on any Spark’s behalf. There’s also a bit of advice for overeager self-promoters:
You cannot post this on your blog or share it in your podcast asking the public for votes, however, do encourage your fellow PM attendees to head this way and vote for their favorites!
The Spark voting form asks for an e-mail address, and that’s presumably how Podcast Movement will determine which votes are legit and which are not. The voting form for Ignite Podcast Movement 2017 can be found here.
Tung, self-described as “a social podcast player,” has gone open source. Tung’s developer made the announcement via Reddit earlier this week:
Some of you may have seen my posts about tung.fm in the past. It’s a social podcast app I developed for web and iOS – “Discover podcasts by sharing comments, clips, and recommendations with your friends.” Well, now it is completely open-source…
I would like to invite anyone here who’s interested to contribute. I would especially love it if someone made an Android client.
I chose to make it open source so that it can have maximum benefit to the community.
Tung is a podcast consumption and sharing system that is currently available thru the web or as an iOS app. Podcast listeners can find their favorite shows on Tung and leave comments, share clips, and make recommendations. More from the Tung website:
Tung is a streaming podcast player designed to help you discover the best podcasts – the ones recommended by your peers and friends! With Tung you get a feed of what your friends are recommending, commenting on and sharing clips of.
While listening to a podcast, you can easily make an audio clip of any moment you find interesting and share it directly to Twitter and Facebook. And in the feed you can listen to clips your friends made of the most interesting or funny moments in a podcast.
Anyone interested in contributing to the further development of Tung as an open source project can do so via Github. The Tung app itself can be accessed thru the links above or on the iOS App Store.
Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is wrapping up this weekend in California. While Apple made plenty of announcements during WWDC, the tech giant may have truly left the best for last (at least, if you’re a podcaster).
Today, Apple announced major changes to its podcast spec. The first such spec changes the company has made in years. Apple also announced that it will finally be providing at least some listener data to podcast producers.
Acknowledging recent trends in the podcasting space, Apple will now provide support for seasons, preview episodes, and bonus episodes within its podcast RSS feed spec. That means it’ll be easier for podcasters to organize episodes by season, so listeners can download and listen back to episodes in the correct order. The preview and bonus episode options will make it easier for podcasters and listeners alike to identify episodes that might not be part of a podcast’s regular production cycle.
There’s been a lot of industry pressure as of late on Apple to provide listener data to podcasters. Acquiescing to these demands, Apple will begin providing some actual listener data to podcast producers:
Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping. This has the potential to dramatically change our perception of how many people really listen to a show, and how many people skip ads, as well as how long a podcast can run before people just give up.
While this might look like the holy grail to some in terms of listener metrics, it appears that this data will be limited to listener activity from the iOS Podcasts app only. Not the cross-platform iTunes desktop application. And of course, it won’t pull in data from any services outside of the Apple ecosphere.
It’s not yet clear when Apple will allow podcasters to access listener data. The full implementation of the new Apple Podcasts RSS spec will likely coincide with the release of iOS 11 later this year. If you’d like to see what the new RSS tags will look like, Apple has released a document that covers the changes it’ll be making to the spec.