These Lavish Office Photos Are Coming Back to Haunt SoundCloud

Better Days: SoundCloud's Pricey Office Upgrade In Berlin, 2014

Was it all avoidable?  Wild overspending is partly being blamed as SoundCloud slashes 40% of its workforce and grinds towards bankruptcy.

You could say that SoundCloud never had a viable business model.  But were they also guilty of some seriously bad business?  Accordingly, co-founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss are now battling accusations of wild overspending and outrageous cash burn.

Here’s just a sampling of the opulent offices enjoyed by SoundCloud staff.  Just yesterday, SoundCloud terminated 173 employees and shut down two offices.  The pare-down was officially disclosed by Ljung in a blog post.

Part I: Berlin.

So here’s what SoundCloud’s over-the-top office upgrade in Berlin looked like in 2014.  At the time, the office was only at half-capacity, with ample space and amenities for those lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to work there.

A SoundCloud Employee Snoozes at Berlin Headquarters


Part II: New York City

Berlin has a reputation for more affordable rents.  New York City does not.  And with that, here’s a taste of SoundCloud’s opulent Manhattan digs, which first got the green light in 2015.

Keep in mind that this is a monstrous, 40,000 square foot, multi-level colossus in the heart of Manhattan.  That’s over $3 million in rent a year — for one place!

SoundCloud Offices, Manhattan

And keep in mind: both of these offices are still in operation!

No word on whether ‘austerity measures’ are ahead.  But given the very real prospect of near-term bankruptcy, it’s possible that these lavish digs may be pared down.

Accordingly, commercial real estate agents are undoubtedly swirling around for the right swap.  But it’s unclear if investors still have the appetite for this sort of overblown risk-taking.

Separately, other highly-leveraged music tech companies like Spotify and Pandora are also enjoying premium pads.  Both companies enjoy expansive Manhattan offices, alongside well-appointed digs in other desirable cities.


8 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Trumpet Grrrl

    This is such a common problem amongst tech startups, acting like you have Google money before you have Google money.

    • Avatar
      Barbara R Saunders

      And yet … more and more employees are wanting to work at home anyway.

  2. Avatar
    From Paris To Berlin

    Berlin looks like a lot of fun.. everyone lounging about.. relaxing on sumptuous couches and enjoying social interactions.. but was any work actually being done..

    I like the fusion of the industrial look mixed with modernism of the Berlin setup..

    The New York office looks quite sterile in comparison..

    I’d be very happy with a posting at Berlin.. also, to save on rent I could quite
    happily bunk down in one of those comfy little cubicles there.. pull the blinds across and I’m all set for the night…

  3. Avatar

    Yes…and no.

    Yes, because of course it is. No, because for better or worse if you’re a tech company you have to have all that shit to recruit better people.

    So while obviously burning cash on that stuff is a reason, it’s still like 90% because they had no business model.

  4. Avatar

    Doesn’t look that opulent to me, although NYC might have been a bit of a splurge. Hindsight is 20/20.

  5. Avatar
    Captain Obvious

    Umm… several of the NYC office “photos” are obviously just 3D renderings.

  6. Avatar

    The furnishings look like a bunch of Ikea crap. Most of the money was pissed away on unused office space.

  7. Avatar
    Charles Barnes

    I see the theme for the offices was “white.”