Weâve been talking about SoundCloud â the preferred platform for indie musicians, DJs and podcast creators around the world â being on the brink of death in recent times, ever since it laid off 40 percent of its workforce and closed two offices this month. Now, Bloomberg reports that the Berlin-based firm is in talks with two private equity firms about investing in the service in return for a majority stake in SoundCloud.
Thatâs really all we know at this point (though BuzzFeed News reported that the company might seek fresh funding at a valuation of $100 million), and so we canât say for certain that SoundCloud will be saved. But if the companyâs history has taught us anything, itâs that merely pumping cash into its coffers wonât be enough to keep the platform from going under.
SoundCloudâs anything-goes approach in allowing users to upload content soon brought major music distributors and record labels to their doorstep with takedown requests and lawsuits in hand. As a result, the company spent plenty of time cutting deals with them just to make the legal troubles disappear.
When CEO Alexander Ljung â who hails from Sweden and built SoundCloud with his college buddy â needed to hand over charge of ad sales, marketing and scoring new deals, he failed to find someone who was truly up to the task. Jeff Toig, who took on those duties after stints at Cricket Wireless and Muve, made bad decisions that not only poisoned company culture but also led to the crippling of an ad platform that didnât attract major labels or make the company much money.
With a pool of content populated mostly by underground arists, SoundCloudâs subscription plans for listeners and creators also werenât designed well enough to draw much interest or make people come back for more â especially when folks were already spending on streaming services that granted them access to milllions of…