The following article is a hypothetical scenario based around facts and the supposed closure of SoundCloud and what it means for artists and producers that use the platform.
On July 6, 2017 Alex Ljung posted a note on the SoundCloud Blog detailing how “after careful and painful consideration, we took the difficult step to let go of 173 SoundCloud staffers and consolidated the team into two offices: Berlin and New York. We are extremely grateful for the contributions of each and every staff member who will be leaving SoundCloud, and we wish all of them the best. Without them, we would not be where we are today. By reducing our costs and continuing our revenue growth, we’re on our path to profitability and in control of SoundCloud’s independent future.”
On July 12, a post from techcrunch.com detailing that the company only had enough money to maintain for the next eighty days (it was originally stated as fifty). SoundCloud PR rebutted with saying they are fully funded into the fourth quarter. Many other reports came attached with what could be the true nature of what’s happening at SoundCloud and it garnered enough attention to have all of Music Twitter in a stir contemplating the fate of the streaming website that’s been around since 2007. People were making worst case scenario’s, encouraging people to download their favorite songs and making plans of checking where they could post their music next, and preemptively mourning SoundCloud altogether. Days later on July 14, Chance the Rapper tweeted “Just had a very fruitful call with Alex Ljung. SoundCloud is here to stay.” this dissuaded and kickstarted it’s on fair share of issues that Jordan talked about here but we’re here to focus on the worst case scenario for the music company, what if they really did go under in the next fifty to eighty days?
The finality of something is common to deal with in life. We learn about something, grow accustomed to it, eventually settle it into our daily life, and then it goes out with a bang or leaves as quickly as it came. While we have SoundCloud here with us, I wanted to explore the alternate timeline where the post from TechCrunch and the post from one of the founders of SoundCloud signifies the end of the era for the streaming service and wanted to ask both rapper and producer: “What would you do if SoundCloud was meant to shut down in the coming months?” among other things. It’s an important question to face for any platform that thrives off of it’s users to connect, share, and network their music all across the digital landscape but even moreso for the service that’s become so ingrained in how we share music it registers its own brand of SoundCloud related jokes and immediate request for musicians to follow you on.
SoundCloud was the way I initially got into underground artists, explored a community and helped spread songs by friends and discover hidden gems in the form of mixes and songs that you couldn’t find anywhere else on the Internet. The platform in my case is used as support system to spread the likes, reposts, and songs of artists that are trying to rap, produce, and podcast there way to the top. It’s a place filled with terrible covers or remixes to songs we didn’t ask for but it’s brought a lot of good along the way. Despite the future of the streaming service being called into question or setting itself up for a rebranding, talking through a worst case scenario with the people that it will affect is important conversation to have.
I scoured the Internet for musicians that wanted to answer four questions about what they think the darkest timeline looks like.