SoundCloud cuts 40 percent of staff as it aims to turn profitable

Key Points
  • With suitors walking away, SoundCloud is taking measures to stay viable as an independent entity.
  • The music streaming service has doubled its revenue in the past year.
Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud CEO
Philippe Wojazer | Reuters

Music streaming service SoundCloud on Thursday said that it cut 173 jobs, or 40 percent of its staff, as it seeks to become profitable.

SoundCloud also said it has consolidated its employees into two offices -- the Berlin headquarters and New York. SoundCloud is closing its San Francisco hub and a spokesperson said the company is talking with staff in London about the future of that office.

"In the competitive world of music streaming, we've spent the last several years growing our business, and more than doubled our revenue in the last 12 months alone," SoundCloud co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung wrote in a blog post. "However, we need to ensure our path to long-term, independent success. And in order to do this, it requires cost cutting, continued growth of our existing advertising and subscription revenue streams, and a relentless focus on our unique competitive advantage — artists and creators."

Music streaming is a brutal place to try and make money. In June, Pandora CEO Tim Westergren left the company he created 17 years ago, as the internet radio and subscription service struggles to turn a profit while paying out required royalties to artists.

Reports in December suggested that Spotify had abandoned its effort to acquire SoundCloud. Alphabet was also reported to be considering an acquisition.

"By reducing our costs and continuing our revenue growth, we're on our path to profitability and in control of SoundCloud's independent future," Ljung wrote.

SoundCloud said it has 175 million monthly unique users, which is unchanged from 2014. In March SoundCloud said it had received a $70 million line of credit.

With its subscription services, SoundCloud is now competing with Spotify, Apple and Pandora.