SoundCloud, the Berlin-based streaming service whose launch of so many young rap careers spawned its own music genre, upped its global revenue from 2016 to 2017 by more than 80 percent, according to its latest financial reports. The company, however, has been troubled recently by financial upheaval.
The company’s 2017 accounts, recently filed to the UK Companies House and examined by Music Business Worldwide, show more than €90.7 million ($102 million) in revenue that year, up from €50.3 million ($57.8 million) the previous year. Subscription revenues grew 89 percent while advertising revenues crept up 53 percent; the company also managed to narrow its annual operating loss by 27 percent. Such numbers suggest that SoundCloud has turned things around since the summer of 2017, when it closed multiple offices and had to let go of 173 employees, representing nearly half its workforce — leading to rumors that it might shutter altogether.
But SoundCloud’s receipt of $170 million in a funding round later that year, coupled with its installation of former Vimeo executive Kerry Trainor as CEO and an aggressive reorganization, seems to have helped establish a more stable position. Per the fiscal 2017 filing, SoundCloud has taken “significant steps to improve its financial health,” including renegotiating certain rightsholder contracts, retiring outstanding debt and cutting major operating expenses, and it achieved positive operating cash flow in 2018.
While its 2018 results will not be available until later this year, SoundCloud says it has surpassed its 2018 growth plan and remains focused on two major ideas: expanding its creator business with a suite of useful artist tools and offering a unique listening experience for its “young, trendsetting, global music fans.” The latter will be increasingly tough as Spotify, Apple Music and other big streaming services solidify their place as market leaders, but the former — a focus on music creation — is something in which SoundCloud remains unsurpassed.