Rumors about media and web companies, are, until proven otherwise, just that - rumors. And this guy is not looking to get into any sort of trouble for speaking out of school, not to mention my SoundCloud membership is clearly alive and well, as evidenced by my monthly membership dues which continue to accrue each month as per normal, and on a consistent schedule.
With the disclaimers out of the way, I point you to the news from TechCrunch that the streaming giant laid off about half of its staff last week, in addition to closing it's San Francisco and London headquarters. TC further found out that this news was even more ominous than it seemed, as even these extreme measures were only enough to keep the company intact through Q4 - which sounds like quite a ways off, but it actually begins in October. So, if TechCrunch is to be believed, SoundCloud is without half it's staff, shedding property, and relying on the ship righting itself in about 10 weeks.
SoundCloud is vehemently denying any danger and insists that this is journalistic sensationalism and fear-mongering. They are offering an ongoing narrative on social media, in posts like "SoundCloud is here to stay" by CEO Alex Ljung. The company's is also aggressively maintaining the stance that all is well, with tweets from both SoundCloud and allies like longtime "SoundCloud rapper" turned hip-hop superstar Chance the Rapper, whose tweets are definitely in sync with Ljung's messaging strategy.
My view, as an outsider, is that this looks seriously bad. Every element of this story, from the dire numbers to the public relations head-in-the-sand messaging from SoundCloud, is indicative of an uncontrollable downward spiral.
The messaging really compounds, and in many ways comes to define, the problem. There is no question that the numbers are bad - to refuse to acknowledge this, or concede that a solution is needed and maybe even suggest that such a solution is being considered, is the only rational response to TechCrunch's news.
Everything is fine, news is merely opinion if you just believe hard enough, just wait and things will magically improve - this approach crystallizes the worst reckless self-destructive qualities of human nature in 2017. If there is a plan to save SoundCloud, pretending that there is no problem and therefore no solution is, at best, terrible crisis management.
Of course, that could be the extent of the problem - poor crisis management can make a bad circumstance seem like an apocalypse. And for any number of reasons, I hope very much that SoundCloud weathers the storm. It is a wonderful platform for millions of voiceover artists, podcasters, musicians and more. It's future is very important to me.
However, in lieu of any good news or a valid explanation for the ongoing turbulence, I am backing up my account and urge you to do the same.