After laying off 40% of its staff this month to cut costs, SoundCloud appears to be struggling to stay afloat. While blog posts from the company have assured fans that the music platform is not in danger of shutting down, some people aren't so sure this is the truth. Internet Archive — a non-profit dedicated to preserving websites and services — announced today that they will be conducting a partial backup of SoundCloud to safeguard the site's content in case of closure.
SoundCloud's nearly ten-year existence has majorly transformed the music industry, making it easier than ever to get your content heard without having a record deal or promotional team. From albums by top recording artists to mixtapes made by high school students in their rooms, SoundCloud has it all. The site is beloved by many for giving even the smallest artists a platform to be heard, so the news that it's struggling has been difficult to hear.
It was first reported in January that SoundCloud is at risk of running out of money. With the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, SoundCloud is having difficulty attracting interest like it used to. To combat this, the site released its own subscription service for $5-10 per month depending on your chosen streaming package. Unfortunately, the service never caught on with users and did little to ease the company's financial difficulties.
Although SoundCloud says it has no plans to shut down in the foreseeable future, an article posted by TechCrunch revealed that co-founder Alexander Ljung shared with SoundCloud employees that the company only has enough money to survive until the end of the fourth quarter, which is in less than 80 days from today. While the public waits to see whether this is true or not, Internet Archive — a group of volunteers devoted to preserving websites — is taking action to save SoundCloud's content for years to come.
Internet Archive believes SoundCloud is in serious danger of shutting down, so volunteers for the organization started on a partial backup of the site today. Since conducting a full backup would be impractical and risk copyright infringement, they're preserving the site's earliest files because those would be most difficult to find if SoundCloud were to shut down. Once the backup is complete, the saved files will be available for free on the group's website, along with other safeguarded content like books, movies, software, and web pages.
While SoundCloud's future is unclear, it appears that prominent artists may step in to support the music service. Megastar Chance the Rapper — who got his start on SoundCloud — has reached out to Alexander Ljung about the site's troubles, pledging his emotional and possibly financial support. If more artists follow in Chance's footsteps, it could make a huge difference for SoundCloud's future.