Listeners love SoundCloud, but can it be a successful business? It’s a critical moment for the company. It lost $29 million on just $14 million in revenue last year after raising over $123M. Can it get acquired at good price? Could it thrive independently? And where does a service built on unlicensed remixes and DJ sets fit in amongst all-legal music services like Spotify? Well find out when I put SoundCloud CTO Eric Wahlforss In the hot seat on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe In London.
After years of toil without much payoff, the music business took the spotlight this year:
- Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion
- Spotify keeps growing and raising money
- Google Music acquired Songza
- Amazon launched a streaming service
- YouTube is about to launch one too
- Deezer is fighting for international markets
- Rdio and Pandora are just trying to stay in the game
- It’s an exceptionally crowded space where consumers aren’t accustomed to spending much money. But music is such a natural fit for mobile that the winners could drive device and subscription bundles even if they aren’t profitable on their own.
SoundCloud is a bit of a black sheep. While everyone else relies on music from the record labels, SoundCloud is the home for user-generated audio too. It’s become the successor to Myspace. Bedroom virtuosos, laptop remixers, DJs spinning other people’s songs, and non-music like speeches and spoken word all live on SoundCloud. That makes it a neat place to discover content, but a messy one to browse, and an even messier one to handle royalties for.
SoundCloud has begun rolling out advertising and may push an ad-free subscription plan, but those could hurt its indie cred. Users often dip in to listen to a track but then bounce, or listen to multi-hour DJ sets, both of which are harder to monetize with audio ads than listening to an album or playlist elsewhere.
So what’s SoundCloud going to do with its product and business? Wahlforss will give us the inside story at Disrupt Europe London. So get tickets or be sure to stream it live on Tuesday, October 21st at 3:10pm BST.