According to a Bloomberg
report, SoundCloud has notified 40% of their staff that they will be laid off. On top of that, both offices in San Francisco and London will close. These actions, according to co-founder Alex Ljung, were in a direction "to profitability and in control of SoundCloud's independent future."
Compared to the music streaming giant that is Spotify, SoundCloud will always come off as a slightly boutique streaming service. A glance at their employee count reflects all of their differences. After the recent cuts made by SoundCloud, Spotify now has about eight times as many employees as SoundCloud. Moreover, Spotify focuses on signed artists, ones that are making money for themselves, their corresponding label, and Spotify. SoundCloud exists as a free service, where both independent and signed artists relinquish music at their own will. This sudden collection of firings is supposed to free-up some cash and reinforce the service's independence.
To compare and contrast SoundCloud and Spotify is to debate apples versus oranges. Both are unique in their own ways. Spotify controls a tight vice grip on the social media and sharing aspect of music streaming. Not only can playlists be shared, they can be created and edited together from different accounts. SoundCloud is an entirely different platform, hosting a range of signed artists (that some require a paid subscription) from hip-hop acts such as Danny Brown
to house music composers including Disclosure
. It's also a cohesive habitat for independent musicians, the bedroom producer, the up-and-coming nu jazz quintet, and the record label conquistador in search of a new artist signee.
In regards to SoundCloud's independence, it seems practically permanent. There were talks of Apple Music, Spotify, and Twitter fighting to acquire SoundCloud in the past few years, but those conversations were shot down and essentially put to bed after the service's recent announcement.
My foresight says that SoundCloud will regrow and eventually expand. SoundCloud is the first choice platform for independent artists, and that type of priority is well earned through the website's interface, mobile application, and listening and uploading ease for artists and listeners, something that the streaming giants will forever envy.