SoundCloud and SiriusXM Holdings Inc. announced that the leading U.S. audio entertainment company, SiriusXM, has invested $75 million in SoundCloud, the world’s largest open audio platform. SoundCloud will use this additional investment to accelerate its product development and enhance the services that fuel its global community of creators and listeners.
“SoundCloud’s three consecutive years of strong financial performance directly reflect the success of our creator-led growth strategy,” said Kerry Trainor, Chief Executive Officer, SoundCloud. “We have an exciting roadmap focused on deepening the connections between creators and listeners that fuel creator discovery, career growth, and the evolution of music culture on SoundCloud. We’ve built a great relationship with SiriusXM through our highly successful Pandora ad sales agreement, and their investment gives us added capital flexibility to accelerate our vision and take advantage of strategic opportunities as they arise.”
“SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways,” said Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM. “We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”
The minority investment follows the highly successful ad relationship between SoundCloud and Pandora, a subsidiary of SiriusXM, which started in 2019. The agreement enables advertisers and brands to purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging the company’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform. Together, SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience offering reaches more than 100 million unique listeners, creating the largest digital audio advertising marketplace.
Under the terms of the agreement, SiriusXM has purchased $75 million of securities for a minority investment, and the SoundCloud Board of Directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.
SoundCloud, the world’s largest open audio platform, announced it has entered into a definite agreement to acquire leading rights management and distribution company, Repost Network. With this acquisition, SoundCloud will be able to provide high-performing, emerging creators a seamless upstream to Repost Network’s invite-only tools and services like streaming distribution, analytics dashboards, content protection and more. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“There are more than 20 million audio creators on SoundCloud, and we know building audiences and earning income from streaming are critical to them. SoundCloud’s focus is to build more tools and services to solve those needs. We’ve built the foundation with our SoundCloud Premier program and our recently launched distribution product, and today we are taking another step forward,” said Michael Weissman, Chief Operating Officer, SoundCloud.
He continued, “The acquisition of Repost Network will meaningfully move SoundCloud forward as we build the most comprehensive set of tools to help creators build their careers. We welcome the Repost Network team to SoundCloud and are excited about what we will build together.”
“Repost Network has been working with SoundCloud since the early days of its monetization initiative, and we are ecstatic to join the world’s largest audio creator community,” said Jeff Ponchick, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Repost Network. “Our mission is to help artists make a living through their audiences online, and by joining the SoundCloud family we can help even more emerging artists take the next step in their career, earn more revenue and be heard by more fans.”
The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks.
Eric Wahlforss a co-founder of SoundCloud, announced that he is stepping away from the platform. He has been with the company for more than a decade, most recently in the chief product officer role.
The decision was announced by Eric Wahlforss on January 24, 2019, on Twitter. Part of that tweet says:
…As many of you know, I am someone who loves to build and create new things.
After more than 11 years of building up our wonderful platform for artists, DJs and audio creators, I have come to the realization that now is the right time for me to take a break, reflect and think about what to create next.
So I have decided to step back from day-to-day operations at SoundCloud, and transition into an advisory role for the company starting March 1st…
If you missed the news about this change at SoundCloud when it was originally posted on Twitter, I assure you that you weren’t the only one. I was unaware of it until today, and could not find many articles about it.
Engadget reported that Eric Wahlforss’s departure means that SoundCloud’s original founders will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Co-Founder Alex Ljung stepped aside as CEO in July of 2017, and was later replaced by Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor.
Earlier this month, there was some controversy over whether or not SoundCloud had reduced its audio quality. It is easy to see why podcasters and musicians who post their work on SoundCloud would find that idea upsetting. What really happened? I guess it depends on who you choose to believe.
Stereogum reported on January 4, 2018, that the news was first reported on Pigeons & Planes. As far as I can tell, the Pigeons & Planes post is no longer available. Here’s what Stereogum reported:
SoundCloud recently changed its streaming audio format from 128kpbs MP3 to 64kbps Opus, Pigeons & Planes reports, effectively reducing the platform’s audio quality. Although Opus is a higher quality file format and should sound better even with a lower bitrate, users are still noticing a significant drop in quality on both browsers and the SoundCloud Go app.
Several websites that wrote about this included tweets from Direct @DirectOfficial, a New Jersey producer:
On January 5, 2018, Pigeons & Planes posted a statement from SoundCloud:
“These reports are inaccurate,” the statement reads. “SoundCloud has not altered its approach to audio quality. We have been using the Opus codec (among others) since 2016, and we regularly test different combinations of encoding and streaming to offer listeners a quality experience on any device.”
In addition, a SoundCloud representative told Pigeons & Planes: “Furthermore, we store all content from creators at its originally uploaded quality level so we can continually adapt to advances in encoding and playback.”
TuneIn brings together a wide collection of sports, music, news, podcasts, and audiobooks – including live, on-demand and original content. It lets people find what they love while helping them to discover new things. TuneIn announced that they have appointed Holly Lim as their new Chief Financial Officer.
In this new role with TuneIn, Holly Lim will oversee finance, legal, HR, workplace and corporate development. She will be based in San Francisco at TuneIn Headquarters.
“We’re thrilled to add Holly to the executive team,” said John Donham, CEO. “Holly’s experience in consumer subscription services, entertainment, and original content uniquely qualify her to join our team and help drive our business forward.”
“TuneIn has built an impressive team with incredibly high ambitions,” said Lim. “I am joining the company at an exciting time – TuneIn has built a unique position in the audio space through its bold content acquisitions, core growth in listeners & subscribers, and the global reach of its offering.”
In 2006, SoundCloud announced that Holly Lin would join the company as its first Chief Financial Officer (CFO). She was having to split her time between SoundCloud’s headquarters in Berlin, Germany, and SoundCloud’s New York office.
Last month, it looked like SoundCloud was about to shut down. Not long after that news spread, SoundCloud announced that it had secured a significant investment led by The Raine Group and Temasek. Today, about a month after the initial panic over SoundCloud’s potential shut down – it is clear that SoundCloud is still here.
SoundCloud announced on August 11, 2017, that it reached an agreement on a significant investment from global merchant bank The Raine Group and Singapore-headquartered investment company Temasek.
In connection with the investment, veteran digital media operators Kerry Trainor and Michael Weissman will join the SoundCloud team respectively as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
The investment will ensure a strong, independent future for SoundCloud, funding deeper development and marketing of its core tools used by millions of audio creators – musicians, DJs, producers, labels, managers and podcasters – that fuel SoundCloud’s one-of-a-kind, creator-driven listener experience.
The investment and leadership plan was developed in close partnership with SoundCloud founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, who will both remain with the company. Alexander Ljung as Chairman of the Board, and Eric Wahlforss as Chief Product Officer.
In addition to the role of Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Trainor will also join SoundCloud’s Board of Directors. Michael Weissman, who worked closely with Kerry Trainor at Vimeo, will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer at SoundCloud.
SoundCloud’s ongoing demise has been a regular topic of coverage here at Podcaster News over the last few months. It seems like the Berlin-based music streaming service and podcast hosting provider just continues to slide ever deeper into the abyss.
The most recent report came earlier today, and this could be the big one for SoundCloud. The proverbial final nail in SoundCloud’s coffin. That big server in the sky where technology firms go when the VC runs out. The end.
SoundCloud recently entered talks with rescue investors Raine Group and Tamasek Holdings, and it looked like SoundCloud might be saved after all. But SoundCloud has taken a lot of money from a lot of different investors over the years. SoundCloud is so deep into funding rounds now that older investors have to approve any new investors that come on board. SoundCloud’s finances have been arranged so that newer investors get priority over older ones, and that means in the case of a fire sale or liquidation, Raine and Tamasek have much less to lose than the older, more established investors:
…the incoming ‘rescue’ investors Raine Group and Temasek would receive preferential treatment. Which basically means that other investors would be de-prioritized, receive worsened terms, and have a harder time recovering their cash.
…if the rescue package isn’t approved, the company won’t have enough money to survive. It would introduce a dangerous tailspin as employees jumped ship and the money dwindled to zero.
The crucial vote on whether or not to approve the rescue funding happens tomorrow, Friday, August 11th. If the rescue funding doesn’t go thru, SoundCloud will likely be forced to shut down the same day.
Things have seemingly gone from bad to worse for SoundCloud, the Berlin-based music streaming and podcast hosting provider. We brought you the recent news that SoundCloud would be deferring salary reviews for employees. It turns out “deferring salary reviews” was actually secret code for “about to lay off 40% of our staff and close some offices:”
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.
If there’s any light at the end of SoundCloud’s tunnel, it comes from rumors that France-based music streaming service Deezer might buy SoundCloud. While Deezer does seem like a good match for the music side of SoundCloud’s business, Deezer didn’t do any favors for Stitcher after that acquisition (Deezer later sold Stitcher to Scripps/Midroll). Either way, the future looks very bleak for SoundCloud as a podcasting platform.
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?