Did SoundCloud Reduce its Audio Quality?

SoundCloud LogoEarlier 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.”