Soundcloud survives, but with some key changes to leadership

Investors agree to pony up to keep Soundcloud afloat, but there are conditions

For years, music streaming site Soundcloud has operated as the de facto home for independent musicians looking to get their names on the map. From aspiring DJs to soulful crooners to … uh … whatever Post Malone qualifies as, lots of big names have used Soundcloud as a trampoline to stardom.

That’s why it’s been so hard to see the service struggling as of late, as a series of financial filings revealed last February. It turns out that, without a massive parent company like Google, it’s quite difficult for streaming services to turn a profit — especially when your CEO is too busy partying to pay attention. That’s why Soundcloud asked forand today received — $170 million in rescue funding from its investors.

The money comes from global merchant bank The Raine Group and Singapore-based investment company Temasek. As part of the deal, oft-maligned CEO Alex Ljung will be removed as CEO and replaced with former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor. Co-founder Eric Wahlforss will similarly step down as chief operating officer, to be succeeded by Michael Weissman, also formerly of Vimeo. Ljung and Wahlforss will stay on with Soundcloud as chairman of the board and chief product officer, respectively.

Previous to the funding round, Soundcloud’s enterprise valuation was just $150 million. Previous funding rounds saw the service valued at $700 million, a stark reminder of just how far the popular platform has fallen. Delayed negotiations with major record labels prevented Soundcloud’s $10/month Go+ subscription service from ever posing a true threat to competitors like Spotify and Apple Music, while generally irresponsible spending habits — their HQ in Berlin offered regular catered meals, plus lavish gifts for new employees — all but doomed the service from the get-go.

Earlier this year, Soundcloud underwent a huge series of budget cuts, laying off nearly half its employees — some of whom had been hired less than a month prior. If the service does go under, that will mean the disappearance of more than 100 million tracks. Many of those are hosted elsewhere, of course, but many aren’t, as lots of artists use Soundcloud as their primary outlet for releasing and promoting material. There’s still Bandcamp (and a few sites like it), but those platforms simply don’t have the same social potential.

Soundcloud currently offers independent artists an opportunity to host their tunes without paying fees or waiting for uploads to process. The platform has become an integral part of the internet-era music industry, and while a suitable replacement will no doubt pop up eventually, its demise would strike a major blow to many up-and-comers. Even though Soundcloud is living to fight another day, there’s no guarantee that the platform is safe forever.

Update: Soundcloud is safe! For now, anyway.

Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ becomes the most-streamed 20th-century song

Queen's iconic Bohemian Rhapsody has become the most-streamed 20th-century song. Knocking Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit off the top spot, the British band's 1975 classic has now been streamed 1.6 billion times globally.

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Home Theater

Radiohead, The Cure, and more to join Rock Hall of Fame. Listen to their hits

Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, and more have been selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Here are our favorite songs from the four artists' hit-filled careers.