It's no secret that the music industry is going through unprecedented change. Record sales are down, vinyl sales are up, and streaming accounts for half of industry sales - with revenues growing by 57% in the first half of 2016 to the tune of $1.6 billion.
In the midst of this turmoil, in which Jay Z snapped TIDAL for $56 million, Apple Music snapped 2o million subscribers in 18 months, and Spotify hits 50 million paying subscribers (with or without Taylor Swift's blessing) - word on the street is that SoundCloud is fuc*ed.
However, there is a very important arena in which SoundCloud wins by a landslide - the web. While it's just one of the distribution and revenue channels, it is nonetheless a very important one.
SoundCloud's popularity among independent artists, DJs and podcasters has turned it not only into the #1 website in the world for music, but in addition its content lives on nearly 1 million websites through its embeddable player.
SoundCloud, blow your horn.
SimilarWeb data shows that on an average month, SoundCloud's site receives 300 million visits. That's a lot of visits. Actually, this traffic makes it the biggest music site on the internet - but beware, Drake's latest album was streamed 300 million times on Apple Music in it's first week!
Where are these visits coming from?
Doing a SimilarTech search on Soundcloud's player, we can see how many sites are currently embedding their player. To take it a little further, we compared this number to the amount of sites that currently embed Spotify's player as a means to share their chosen songs or playlists.
Soundcloud is used in nearly 1 million sites - 4 times as many as those sites using Spotify's embedded player.
What can they do about it?
1. Think Programatic
Pogrammatic advertising might be the way forward for streaming services. Last year, SoundCloud expanded its programmatic advertising on a global level. However, Spotify is also making moves on that front with the recent acquisition of MightyTV. For both brands, generating revenues for non-paying users could be a 'make or break' factor for the success of their respective platforms.
2. Cough up some dough
Earlier this month, SoundCloud announced that DJs and producers who upload mixes and remixes to the music-streaming service will now be able to monetize them. This is done through an invite-only revenue-sharing program that includes artists who create recorded and live sets, remixes, and other user-generated content. It will be a good incentive for artists to publish more content in a platform with a fairer compensation structure, in line with other streaming services.
Beat goes on.
Whatever the future holds, 2017 is shaping up as a decisive year for the business of music and as it's always the case, there will be winners and losers. While the $70 million cash injection that went into SoundCloud's earlier this year will be a welcome relief for the company, money goes fast and Apple's deep pockets are a force to be reckoned with. In the meantime, seems like Spotify has its eyes on an imminent IPO so it will also face 'crunch-time' as soon as the stock market begins to dictate their direction and growing revenues become the Sweedish unicorn's priority.
Could go down in flames.