The New SoundCloud Could Look a Lot Like Vimeo

Photo: Matthias Nareyek (Getty Images)

The reports of SoundCloud’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Well, at least for the time being as the struggling digital music service has announced that they have secured a fresh round of funding that assures SoundCloud will survive, albeit with some major changes.

Also: How to Download Songs from SoundCloud

The Raine Group, a boutique merchant bank, joined with the Singapore-based investment company Temasek, to infuse a $169.5 million investment round that has given SoundCloud a reprieve in the 25th hour.

SoundCloud will be led by a new executive team led by former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor who succeeds founder Alex Ljung as chief executive and Michael Weissman, another former executive at the video platform, who was named SoundCloud’s chief operating officer.

Ljung who has responded quite candidly to SoundCloud’s “death watch”, will remain with the company he co-founded (with Eric Wahlforss) a decade ago, serving as chairman of SoundCloud’s board.

“All of this together — the capital, the capital partners — with Kerry and Mike joining our team — it puts our company in a really great position to stay strong and remain independent,” Ljung said in an interview with Billboard. “We see a strong, independent future for the company.”

Trainor will most likely use the Vimeo-model in reshaping SoundCloud, which he promises to “place a greater emphasis on developing tools for musicians, DJs and other creators.”

That approach at Vimeo, which allows filmmakers to take control of their content (using video-sharing, marketing and analytics tools) comes at a cost to artists, but proved successful, tripling the video-sharing site’s monthly users to 280 million and bolstering the number of paying subscribers to 710,000 by the time he left in 2016. 

Whatever the changes, this is great news for SoundCloud’s estimated 170 million users, who view the independent site as a close-knit community, where they can upload, share, create and listen to music. 

“There is only one SoundCloud. It’s unique. We just closed out the first decade and created a really unique platform that impacts global music every day,” said Ljung. “I’m really excited about the next decade.”