he batted back claims that SoundCloud

In the interview, he batted back claims that SoundCloud (SC) is facing tough times, insisting that by drastically cutting headcount by 173 people recently and closing two major offices, SC is on its way to “taking back control” of its destiny and remaining a major independent force in the music and tech industry. He also hinted that new products were being planned and championed SC’s still unique ability for artists to upload their music and be discovered, unlike the major music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

“We had to lay off 173 people from our team, or 40 percent of SoundCloud. All of them are incredible people. It’s incredibly sad. But we’re very focused on doing what we can to support them,” he said.

“We saw the amount of support [for these people] from the SC community. They produced a google doc themselves, which SC is also supporting. I wasn’t concerned the news [about the layoffs] leaked, because at that moment I had to deal with telling the company, which was more important.”

I suggested to him that SC was rumored to be still hiring people as close to two weeks before the announcement. He suggested that this was just circumstantial: “This is part of a shift in strategy. We [often] hire people in several countries and it takes a while before they join the company cloud saas.”

SoundCloud turned over €21.1 million in revenue in 2015 — up 21.6 percent on the prior year. However, in the same period, operating losses widened 25 percent to €48.6 million — as net losses accelerated 30.9 percent to €51.2 million. Operating losses are more than double the size of that compared to revenue. By cutting staff and closing offices ,they’ve achieved a total saving of €16.9 million. So, surely this is a problem? They still have a big gap between revenue and profitability.

Ljung was combative: “We’re one of the largest music platforms in the world. Even just yesterday we were in the top 20 of all the apps downloaded in the app store. So we still have an enormous user base and growth and engagement. So the platform is still growing. Creators are huge on the platform. The numbers of tracks are still growing. So everything in terms of the business is doing well.”

He said they have many more music licenses, and now ad revenues, subscriptions from Go and Go+ products Korean skin care.

But, I asked, could they have not foreseen these coming problems earlier?

“We decided we’re going to grow our way into this. We doubled revenues in the last 12 months. We decided we would take more control. We laid off 173 people, that’s a considerable cost-saving, consolidated offices, our users are going up, revenues are doubling and the reason for this is we’re taking more control of our own future, creating a path to profitability and ensuring our independence at SoundCloud.”

He refused to answer if they had previously been trying to raise a rumored $250 million, but did say: “We are fundraising at this point, but that’s not as interesting as music on the platform… We have licenses with pretty much the entire music industry and are very supported by the entire music industry. We’re monetizing content for the industry. And these days we have emerging talent on SoundCloud. The music industry is supportive designer brands clearancebr />
I put it to him that not all in the industry were supporting: They compete now with Spotify, Deezer etc.

“We are building an independent SoundCloud, which is completely unique. You can can find artists there that don’t exist anywhere else. Many are the next ones to accept Grammys. There is tremendous financial and cultural impact on SoundCloud. It will stay strong.”




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