SoundCloud desperately needs innovation.
Product owners need to ask themselves again, WHO their users are and WHY they would want to pay a subscription.
Currently their proposition is not compelling enough to generate them adequate revenue – so they have not got it right – however much they try to convince themselves that they have.
Killer features WILL make a higher subscription irresistible for everyone it has value for.
For power users, offering listener stats is just not enough. So for these users, the core of your fanbase, what has actually been shipped and brought to the table since 2013? It just seems to have stagnated.
Think of what power users want – DJ tools, producer tools, musician tools, audio editing, advanced search filters, better algorithms for inspiration, matching of tracks by beat, key, popular track pairings for mixing.
For casual users the advertising is frustrating. Let me skip after 5 or 10 seconds, so that at least as a user I still feel that you are not brute forcing this experience upon me, therefore entrenching negative emotions towards your product.
With the introduction of 30s advertising, it has significantly weakened the product for the casual users. Hence, streaming is declining, making the product less appealing to Pro subscribers looking to reach new audiences. Yes, you may introduce new revenue streams, but at the huge risk of undermining your core product.
It's a lose-lose situation.
Every way I look at it, it just seems that they have lost their way as platform for professional musicians and music enthusiasts who were originally attracted to the service.
So my beloved SoundCloud, good luck and perhaps it's time to go back to your roots? How about it?
The biggest problem, for me, is that soundcloud tries to make money at both ends. They have an uploader subscription (which is honestly more useful for podcasts than DJs) and a listener subscription.
The listener subscription sucks for a number of reasons (max device limiting, for one, which isn't an issue on Spotify), but for the DJs what really sucks is that the labels get paid by SoundCloud, but you don't. In fact, if you really want to use SoundCloud, you have to pay for the privilege.
I think, instead, Soundcloud should focus on being a place for the little guy. Why should uploaders have to link to their Bandcamp page in order to sell tracks? I think SoundCloud should offer some sort of selling service for uploading subscribers. I think Soundcloud should limit the amount of replays of songs per day.
I think however, none of these ideas matter because of the amount of capital Soundcloud has raised over the years and their valuation ($1 billion in 2016, supposedly, now dropped to $250 million) I don't know how SoundCloud could ever really generate the revenues required to validate that valuation without being bought by someone else.
Great news for Berlin based startups. This is a huge wave of talent to hire from.
They are closing the San Francisco and London offices. But as you say probably people getting laid of in Berlin as well. sad times :(
Yeah they are. Recruiters here are going nuts trying to get them.
They dont know their audience or it appears that way... i have a good friend who makes all his income from music production. Youtube and Spotify, soundcloud just isn't useful unless your already massive or unknown and need somewhere to upload music for free. Soundcloud doesn't offer much for real professional musicians/bands/artists.
Secondly as a developer i have tried to get an API key from them for ages and just keep getting generic responses back, i understand they don't have the time money to support this so why not just say that and remove the application form!
I only see two possible option for them, embrace what soundcloud has become (the facebook of music) full of podcasts , radio shows and other crap with some channels uploading 30+ things a day. Or they can get back to their root and try to support real talent by supporting them and making the service about them.
They could even charge per upload. I make music myself and wouldn't hesitate to pay $1 per upload if iv spend ages making the music why not. But if they keep going the way they are in a few years it wont even be worth it for artist to put their music on soundcloud.
I'm curious, what type of music does your friend produce?
I can only speak as a fan of that genre, but nearly every day SoundCloud is like Christmas to me. Producers release lots of 'in progress' (ID) tracks, and then follow it up with full-length previews. I really like the constant stream of new music from many of my favorite producers.
For lesser known artists, I'm sure it's unfortunately easy to get lost in a sea of noise.
As a designer, I love the player UI and real-time commenting. With the waveform as the 'slider' it serves both as a large and effective UI on mobile - much better than trying to move the dot on the Spotify player for example. Additionally, having it begin in the center of the screen (on mobile), there's a generous amount of space to touch and drag it to a new section in the track.
The waveform also helps you remember, find, and go back to your favorite parts in a track or podcast (where I find it especially useful). I would love it if Spotify were to 'borrow' this design.
The time-based comment system is really appealing to. I enjoy seeing how people react to sections of tracks, specific sounds, and the community in general.
It would be a really sad day for me if SoundCloud ever has to close it's doors for good.