SoundCloud laid off 173 staffers, or approximately 40 percent of its workforce, and consolidated its operations into offices in Berlin, where the streaming service is headquartered, and New York, closing its London outpost. The move comes amid high-level departures -- COO Marc Strigel, finance director Markus Harder and CCO Stephen Bryan have all left the company in the past five months -- and swirling acquisition rumors, with the New York Post reporting this week that Apple and Deezer were the latest companies to explore bids to purchase the company.
In a statement on SoundCloud's blog announcing the move, co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung wrote that the layoffs were due to a long-term desire to achieve profitability through cost reduction and revenue growth, in order to be "in control of SoundCloud's independent future." Noting that the company had "more than doubled" its revenue in the past year, Ljung continued that the company needed to engage in "cost cutting, continued growth of our existing advertising and subscription revenue streams, and a relentless focus on our unique competitive advantage -- artists and creators."
In March, SoundCloud secured $70 million in a new funding round, which the company said at the time would "enable SoundCloud to strategically grow our technology and personnel resources to fuel our expected 2.5 times year-over-year growth in 2017." Last year, SoundCloud introduced SoundCloud Go, a fully-licensed subscription streaming service priced at $9.99/month -- which has subsequently been rebranded SoundCloud Go+ -- and this February unveiled a mid-tier, $4.99/month option, which allows users ad-free offline play.