from the Take-off-every-'ZIG' dept.
Music hosting biz SoundCloud, having just axed 40 per cent of its staff, is now trying to ward off rumors that it will go broke in less than two months.
The song-sharing service was rumored to be in crisis mode and had to shut its doors, with just 50 days of funding left before it ran out of cash. A spokesperson insisted Thursday, however, that this is not the case, and that following last week's layoffs, SoundCloud is going to be able to turn a profit soon.
[...] This comes as SoundCloud struggles to get its advertising and subscription revenues up high enough to push the music-sharing service into the black. Since 2008, the company has relied on VC funding to stay afloat and, after nine years, is still trying to turn a profit.
According to Techcrunch, Soundcloud has secured the emergency funding which will allow the service to survive:
SoundCloud has just closed the necessary funding round to keep the struggling music service afloat. CEO Alex Ljung will step aside though remain chairman as former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor replaces him. Mike Weissman will become COO as SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss stays as chief product officer.
SoundCloud is cutting over 40 percent of its staff, the company announced on its blog. The streaming service will let go 173 of its 420 employees in order to "ensure our path to long-term, independent success," SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung wrote. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.
As part of the reduction, the company will shutter its offices in San Francisco and London, leaving only its New York and Berlin offices operational. It's been a trying year for SoundCloud to say the least. The company announced it may possibly run out of money before the end of 2017 back in January, before landing a $70 million credit line from investors to stave off certain collapse.
Source: The Verge
Tidal is getting into the holiday spirit. The streaming service is opening up its platform to anyone and everyone for 12 days beginning on Christmas, with no credit card required (a usual requirement for free streaming trials). The free trial will cover Tidal's Hi-Fi tier as well, so if you've been wanting to try out high-fidelity music, now is your chance.
Meanwhile, YouTube has done some work behind the scenes to launch a new attempt at getting people to pay for music:
After years of bickering over rights, YouTube has finally signed all three of the major music record labels into long-term deals. This week, Universal and Sony both reached rights agreements with the Alphabet platform, joining Warner Music Group. Though YouTube still needs to make deals with companies like the Merlin consortium of smaller labels to be fully comprehensive, the way is now paved for it to launch its hotly-tipped streaming service next year. [...] YouTube's anticipated streaming service, dubbed YouTube Remix by Bloomberg, could seem a little late to the party. With Spotify readying for an IPO and swapping stakes with Tencent, Apple music firmly established and Tidal, well, just being Tidal, streaming is already a crowded space.
Alphabet has tried to crack the streaming market before, launching its own premium Google play music service in 2011, but it's not exactly been a smash hit with a market share even smaller than Amazon, Deezer and Tidal's. It launched YouTube Music Key in 2014 to offer ad-free music videos, and this morphed into YouTube Red in 2016. Hopes that this would change the music scene were dashed, however, as YouTube Red gravitated towards entertainment videos instead. The chances are, Alphabet will look to combine its Google Play service with a premium YouTube service for music fans.
Two music-related Google subscription services, YouTube Red and Google Play Music, are going to be merged:
Right now, YouTube's music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated. There's YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there's YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you're signed up for YouTube Red. And YouTube TV is also a thing — an entirely separate thing — but it's not available everywhere yet.
The merger has been rumored within the industry for months, and recently picked up steam after Google combined the teams working on the two streaming services earlier this year.
In a statement to The Verge, Google said it will notify users of any changes before they happen. "Music is very important to Google and we're evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we'll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made."
It doesn't look like YouTube's users want to pay for what they can get for free a click or two away:
The comments came after [Tom] Silverman raved about his experience using YouTube Red, but said that when he mentions to people how much he likes the service they "look at me like I have two heads. They didn't even know you can subscribe. How come people don't know about it?"
"You probably don't know there is Google Play Music either, and people really love that, too," [Lyor] Cohen replied.
That exchange gets to the heart of the existential issue facing Google's two streaming services: identity. Neither service has gained much traction in the music-streaming marketplace despite their best efforts and Google's massive user base. While Google hasn't released subscriber numbers,YouTube Red, which launched in Oct. 2015, was estimated to have 1.5 million as of late last year; Google Music Play has more than double that number. One industry source put their combined paid user numbers at 7 million -- far behind Spotify's recently-announced 50 million and Apple's 27 million subscribers.
The lack of identity for Google's music services in the marketplace may also be due, in part, to the runaway success and ease of use of both YouTube's ad-supported tier, with more than 1.5 billion monthly users, as well as Google search's ability to surface free music with minimal effort
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