SOUNDCLOUD

ALEXANDER LJUNG

Co-founder/CEO

SoundCloud’s Alexander Ljung is making some noise on the international digital-music stage. The co-founder/CEO of the Berlin-based social-sound service, Ljung oversees the strategy and spreads the vision at one of the few social-media colossi from outside the United States. Its 250 million active monthly users are one-quarter of Facebook’s reach, but the “freemium” service boasts 40 million registered uploaders of mostly music. Meanwhile, recent partnerships with Google+ and Instagram further push its growth potential. Numerous 2013 accolades include Time’s 50 Best Websites and the European Commission-backed European Tech Entrepreneurs of the Year. No wonder it’s been dubbed the “Twitter of music.” With 200-plus staff at offices in San Francisco, London, New York and Sofia, Bulgaria, Ljung is constantly moving. “The ambition is to ‘unmute the Web,’ to make sound as easy to create and share as it already is for photos, videos and text. This is a global ambition which transcends any traditional geographic boundaries,” he says. About $63 million in venture capital means profitability in the company is vital. In addition to new music discovery and sharing features to boost monthly subscriptions, SoundCloud is encouraging brands to advertise. Unquestionable is the demand by creators posting 12 hours of original music and audio every minute. “The days of sending CDs in envelopes to labels are over,” says Mark Mulligan, analyst/co-founder at U.K.-based MIDiA Consulting. “SoundCloud has brought efficiency to that for artists.”—Juliana Koranteng