Despite rumors that nearly every major player in music streaming wants to acquire SoundCloud and boost its profile from indie to corporate – Spotify, Apple, Google, and Deezer have all reportedly been interested – the service has vowed to stay as DIY as their pockets allow. But at a high price: SoundCloud’s co-founder Alex Ljung has announced that the company just slashed 40 percent of its staff (that’s 173 people) in order to “reduce our costs and continue our revenue growth.” SoundCloud is also shuttering its San Francisco and London offices, and will operate from just its Berlin headquarters and a New York office. The decision to remain independent, while likely a vote of confidence in the platform’s largely unsigned user base, does come as a bit of a surprise. Earlier this year, SoundCloud noted that if its fairly-new paid subscription service didn’t take off (which it still hasn’t), the company might take a huge financial hit, and was indeed forced to find new funding in March. (Twitter even stepped in last year with additional funding.) Faced with a similar pickle, Pandora is said to be mulling acquisition by Sirius XM after already selling Ticketfly to Eventbrite. What happens if SoundCloud can’t rebound alone, and what then could that mean for all the SoundCloud rappers of the world, is anyone’s guess.
This could be very telling of SoundCloud’s future.