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I put it to him that not all

Ljung was combative: “We’re one of the largest music platforms in the world. Even just yesterday we were in the top 20 of all the apps downloaded in the app store. So we still have an enormous user base and growth and engagement. So the platform is still growing. Creators are huge on the platform. The numbers of tracks are still growing. So everything in terms of the business is doing well.”

He said they have many more music licenses, and now ad revenues, subscriptions from Go and Go+ products.

But, I asked, could they have not foreseen these coming problems earlier?

“We decided we’re going to grow our way into this. We doubled revenues in the last 12 months. We decided we would take more control. We laid off 173 people, that’s a considerable cost-saving, consolidated offices, our users are going up, revenues are doubling and the reason for this is we’re taking more control of our own future, creating a path to profitability and ensuring our independence at SoundCloud.”

He refused to answer if they had previously been trying to raise a rumored $250 million, but did say: “We are fundraising at this point, but that’s not as interesting as music on the platform… We have licenses with pretty much the entire music industry and are very supported by the entire music industry. We’re monetizing content for the industry. And these days we have emerging talent on SoundCloud. The music industry is supportive.”

I put it to him that not all in the industry were supporting: They compete now with Spotify, Deezer etc.

“We are building an independent SoundCloud, which is completely unique. You can can find artists there that don’t exist anywhere else. Many are the next ones to accept Grammys. There is tremendous financial and cultural impact on SoundCloud. It will stay strong.”

But he continually batted away rumors of an acquisition.

I put it to him that SC could have built a truly disruptive force, against the old-fashioned music industry. Why didn’t they do it?

“The truth is some artists get lots of support from the established industry and some do it all by themselves. SoundCloud is for all those artists. We wanted to work with the music industry not against it. Artist independence and control is at the heart of SoundCloud. The last 10 years have been incredibly exciting. You don’t have to go to a major label because of SoundCloud. That allowed artists to share, and it created options for them [they didn’t previously have].”

So what of the future?

“We are incredibly strong with creators, that will continue to be a focus. We’re are also one of the largest listener platforms. Revenue is growing fast. For the future we’re going be doing less things that other people are doing and more things which will be completely unique to SoundCloud.”
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