Musicians are turning to other services to escape an uncertain future on the audio platform SoundCloud amid reports the service is in serious financial trouble.
SoundCloud launched in 2008, and has become known as the “YouTube for audio” where would-be podcasters and musicians can upload their creations with little more than a laptop and seek an audience.
As of 2017, the platform has 175 million users in 190 countries, according to TechCrunch. To compare, Mixcloud had 12 million monthly users as of 2015.
SoundCloud’s appeal comes from its community, as electronic musician & founder of the Nostilevo record label Khristopher Reinshagen told Grasswire:
“It is a free place to share and actually participate in some kind of music social networking. So vicariously, so many artists I know have developed almost entirely via SoundCloud. And as a solo musician I find using SoundCoud a bit more friendly for sharing my latest experiments than another one of these websites.”
Electronic musician Khristopher Reinshagen
Last week, TechCrunch reported that SoundCloud’s founders told employees they have only enough funding to survive for a few more months. This is despite the company’s announcement that it was laying off 173 employees, and closing offices in San Francisco and London.
The company’s co-founder Alex Ljung denied the rumors in a blog post:
“There’s an insane amount of noise about SoundCloud in the world right now. And it’s just that, noise. The music you love on SoundCloud isn’t going away, the music you shared or uploaded isn’t going away, because SoundCloud is not going away. Not in 50 days, not in 80 days or anytime in the foreseeable future. Your music is safe.”
SoundCloud co-founder Alex Ljung
Despite Ljung’s reassurance, messages like these have been popping up in the feeds of a steadily growing group of musicians:
"We're posting all our music on YouTube and crying ourselves to sleep."
— Dj CUTMAN ? (@VideoGameDJ) July 14, 2017
Soundcloud or not, I'll be uploading to Youtube (as well as other platforms) from now on. Help me hit 100 subs? <3https://t.co/kGbPR7i7sT
— chjolo❄️ (@chjolo) July 13, 2017
“I decided to invest more for my music on other platforms in order to keep delivering you friendos the groovy sounds you all love and like, especially now that seems my music is really starting to take off on its own a little more.”
Musician RoBKTA in a TwitLonger post
Aside from YouTube, platforms like Bandcamp and Mixcloud have become more valuable vehicles for creators who aren’t big enough to compete with the mainstream artists that populate services like Spotify and iTunes.
Bandcamp is most similar to SoundCloud, with a few caveats. Users can upload their creations just like with Soundcloud, but Bandcamp has more options for artists to make some revenue.
On SoundCloud, users can upgrade to a paid tier and gain some share of the ad revenue; artists on Bandcamp can charge for tracks and albums or let listeners choose their own price, and can sell their merchandise through the platform.
Mixcloud specializes in DJ sets and radio shows. Artists can upload mixes that are at least 15 minutes long.
YouTube has over a billion users, according to the company, and has been making significant strides towards attracting music listeners with YouTube Music, a standalone app built with music in mind.