SoundCloud Has Lost Over 100 Million Users Since 2016, Report Shows

SoundCloud offices, Berlin
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SoundCloud offices, Berlin
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SoundCloud offices, Berlin

SoundCloud’s traffic is tanking — fast — according to just-released data.  But don’t tell that to the guys that just bailed them out.

SoundCloud has more than just money problems.  According to data shared with Digital Music News this morning, it has very serious traffic problems as well.

Since January of 2016, SoundCloud’s overall traffic has dipped by roughly 25 percent, according to tracking data shared by SimilarWeb.  After pushing to nearly 400 million monthly uniques in early 2016, the site has recently dipped below 300 million.

The plunge has happened after roughly 16 months.  That’s a loss of about 100 million unique users a month.

Here’s a quick look at the data compiled by SimilarWeb.  The chart also include Spotify and Pandora, specifically for their sites.

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This only tracks web-based access, which is far less important for Spotify and Pandora.  In fact, it’s the least important component for Spotify, whose access is largely app-based (either PC/Mac or mobile).

So what about app-based traffic?  Unfortunately for SoundCloud, Spotify is now crushing its competitors in this realm.  And this is all the nasty, cannibalistic kind of growth that analysts talk about.

Here’s a look at Android decks, with both installs and engagement tracked.

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Just recently, Spotify passed on a SoundCloud acquisition, at least according to industry rumors.  That rejection may have been driven by the metrics above, with Spotify doing fine on its own.  After all, why buy a lunch that you’re already eating?

Incidentally, Pandora is struggling with its own turmoil, including the recent ouster of CEO Tim Westergren.  But Pandora is still eclipsing SoundCloud on the app front, despite stagnant user growth and engagement.

Meanwhile, the mess around SoundCloud is reaching do-or-die status.

Just recently, the company managed to secure a $170 million rescue bailout, but not without significant compromises from existing investors.  That included a serious leadership shakeup, with company founder Alexander Ljung stripped of his CEO stripes.  And that was just one of several serious changes.

Now, it’s up to incoming CEO Kerry Trainor to steer the ship away from the rocks — and try to reclaim an audience that’s quickly waving bye-bye.

7 Responses

  1. Your Dad

    the more you bash soundcloud, the more i feel this site is biased..and the more this site seems biased…the more skeptical i become about the news you post…

  2. Anonymous

    Not defending them at all but I think it’d be useful to point out that a LOT of this is probably artists who had profiles taken down via the SC three-strike rule for uncleared sampels/remixes, etc. I work with people in the DJ community and once that started, there was a mass exodus to other sites.

  3. Jon Hockley

    The Alexa data for Soundcloud doesn’t show such a dramatic exodus.
    In fact beyond what the graph shows you it has been growing steadily for the last few years and only dropping off quite rapidly in the last few months. Alexa data is hard to convert into visitor estimates.

    Both SimilarWeb and Alexa are estimated traffic so both need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    Soundcloud’s traffic is made up of a huge amount of creators and consumers. If i was to hazard a guess i would say that the amount of creators on the site has remained pretty constant and what we are seeing is mostly a change in consumers.

    • Jon Hockley

      Dmitri. and you shouldn’t. Both Alexa and Similarweb estimate their data. They tracks visits by people who install their addons and toolbars. They estimate that a certain amount of webusers has the add-on installed (say 1 in a 1000) so they will multiply the hits by this number. This data is quite crude by itself and can be easily gamed by encouraging your visitors to install an addon so they also crawl the web looking for links and mentions and rely on websites to publish their data. This is combined into an algorithm to calculate how many visitors a site might have.

      Only soundcloud will have their true metrics. How many consumers, creators, how long they stay, how much they spend etc etc.

  4. Mike

    “SoundCloud Has Lost Over 100 Million Users Since 2016” is a lot different than “SoundCloud has dropped 100 Million Unique Visits Since A Big Pump in January 2016”