SoundCloud is one of the largest open audio platforms available. It was founded by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss in 2007 and launched a year later.
Ljung and Wahlforss both met at University and bonded through their love of music. They realised there was an issue trying to work with other artists globally and found the process of getting sent music annoying. So, they put their heads together and thought of a new start-up.
SoundCloud was originally invented to allow musicians to collaborate and share content but went on to focus on music distribution. They built an audio platform that allowed people to receive, send and distribute their music. Little did they know their idea would have a much bigger impact than just allowing music enthusiasts to share content.
Because SoundCloud allows anyone to upload and distribute music to a large following, the website has led to the success of many artists who used it to kick off their career. For example, Post Malone uploaded his “White Iverson” on the platform in 2015 which became viral and has now led to him being a Grammy-nominated artist. While not everyone has had the same level of success the platform has opened doors for millions all over. A unique idea found no issue in becoming popular.
Just two years later they received €2.5 million in investment and in 2010 they had a million registered users which increased 10 times a year later. This growth was great but as they aimed to complete with larger platforms and expand it started creating problems. The following years are where the company would start encountering hurdles.
In 2015, Sony Music decided to pull several artists from SoundCloud as they didn’t deem the collaboration profitable. Sony artists like Adele were removed from the platform although they were added later on as the two reached an agreement.
The issues didn’t end there, that same year they were sued for not paying royalties to musicians. By the end of the year, loyal users started to lose faith in the platform. Radio hosts, DJs and new artists felt they were no longer being supported. They had content removed even though there were no copyright issues, people felt they were prioritising bigger labels and becoming more commercial as they aimed to compete with the bigger streaming sites.
Competing with Spotify and Apple Music meant they had to give away parts of their equity to bring onboard major labels. They have deals with Warner who claim 5% while Universal could claim more. The company started to incur losses and a lot of job cuts were made. Two offices were closed and around 40% of their workforce was laid off.
However, luckily they managed to secure more investment which saved the company from potentially shutting down for good. They also started to bring in more money by monetising the platform in 2016 with SoundCloud Go. Ljung was replaced as CEO by Kerry Trainor in 2017. Slowly, SoundCloud started to pick up again and 2017 brought some financial improvement. In 2019, the last co-founder Whalforss also stepped down to an advisory role.
Despite having a problematic few years the platform continued to grow and crawled back to showcase “three consecutive years of strong financial performance” said Kerry Trainor. From early success to troublesome growth and finally rebuilding, SoundCloud has one of the more interesting stories in the world of business. These days Soundcloud boasts “over 190 million tracks from 20 million creators heard in 190 countries.”
Below we’ve listed some of the data and figures behind SoundCloud…
|People||Kerry Trainor (CEO)|
Alexander Ljung (Co-Founder)
Eric Wahlforss (Co-Founder)
SoundCloud User Statistics
SoundCloud Monthly Active Users
|March 2018||34 million|
|September 2019||15 million|
SoundCloud Monthly Downloads On IOS
SoundCloud Monthly Downloads On Google Play
*April data not available
SoundCloud Web & Mobile Visits
|February 2020||160 million|
|March 2020||180 million|
|April 2020||195 million|
|May 2020||189 million|
|June 2020||171 million|
|July 2020||178.5 million|
SoundCloud Traffic By Country
|Country||Percentage of Traffic|
SoundCloud Financial Statistics
Soundcloud Global Revenue
Soundcloud Funding Rounds
|Date||Series||Number of Investors||Money Raised||Lead Investors|
|March 2009||Seed Round||1||–||Atlantic Labs|
|April 2009||Series A||1||€2.5M||Doughty Hanson & Co|
|January 2011||Series B||2||$10M||Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures|
|January 2012||Series C||3||$50M||Kleiner Perkins|
|January 2014||Series D||6||$60M||IVP, The Chernin Group|
|January 2016||Debt Financing||1||$35M||Tennenbaum Capital Partners|
|June 2016||Series E||2||$70M||Twitter Ventures|
|March 2017||Debt Financing||3||$70M||–|
|August 2017||Series F||2||$169.5M||Temasek Holdings, The Raine Group|
|February 2020||Corporate Round||1||$75M||Sirius XM Radio|
SoundCloud 2017 Financial Change
|Type Of Revenue||Change In Percentage|
Other SoundCloud statistics
- SoundCloud reaches 175 million users every month (SoundCloud)
- SoundCloud has 76 million monthly users (Leftronic)
- In 2019, SoundCloud had more than 272 million users (Leftronic)
- The users every month has been unchanged since 2014 (Musically)
- SoundCloud has 25 million music creators (Expanded Ramblings)
- The platform is available in 190 countries (SoundCloud)
- Users upload 12 hours of music and audio every minute (TechCrunch)
- As of 2020, SoundCloud has 200 million tracks uploaded (Expanded Ramblings)
- SoundCloud was valued at $500 million in 2017 (TechCrunch)
- Spotify backed out of purchasing SoundCloud after a $1 billion price tag (FactMag)
- Artists like Post Malone, Kygo and Kehlani have used the platform to find success (SoundCloudReviews)