Check out Soundcloud’s crazy hockeystick growth:

21 Jan, 2013

Every year, Next Big Sound makes an overview of the state of online music. The big surprise this year is Soundcloud’s insane growth:

soundcloud growth

Check how the growth curve in 2011 (per artist) creeps up – apart from a jump in March – and then look at how the online music platform exploded between September to December.

Average monthly plays per artist more than tripled last year, from less than 2000 per month to more than 6000 per month.

The biggest growth occurs after the beginning of December, when Soundcloud rolled out its new design and some new features to all the users on the site. It said then that it “reached” 180 million users, but the number of registered users was far lower: 30 million in the beginning of December CTO Eric Wahlfors said at LeWeb.

Some new features of the new design included easier ways for users to share what they were listening to. This viral tweak is clearly spurring the growth along.

Around the same time, the company announced a Series C funding of $ 50 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and GGV Capital.

I couldn’t find any details on the profitability of Soundcloud. It should be healthier than some of the streaming services, though. Soundclouds business model – unlike that of Spotify – doesn’t hinge on expensive licensing deals with majors, meaning less of its funding ends up at the music labels. According to Digital Music News, Soundcloud had 5 million paid subscribers in June 2012. Soundcloud has a freemium package and 4 subscriber packages, most of them geared towards independent musicians who want to build a community.

At the recent HyBerlin, Soundcloud was one of the companies that were much discussed, especially the question: what will happen to it next? Will it be acquired by a web giant (since it is the ‘YouTube for audio’, Google could be a potential buyer), or will it stay independent? If you have any ideas, let us know!

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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