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Soundcloud may only be around for 50 days — and that sucks for everyone, including us

[Update] Soundcloud has responded to Techcrunch’s original article, citing it contained “a number of inaccuracies” about last week’s lay-offs and the company’s direction moving forward.

“There are a number of inaccuracies within the TechCrunch article. They seem to stem from a misinterpretation of information by one or two laid off employees during a recent all hands meeting.

“Due to the extensive number of inaccuracies, we will only comment regarding funding and layoffs. To clarify, SoundCloud is fully funded into the fourth quarter. [emphasis our own] We continue to be confident the changes made last week put us on our path to profitability and ensure SoundCloud’s long-term viability. In terms of layoffs, it is our policy not to discuss individual employee cases, but we can share we continue to work with all employees who were let go to support them during this transition, with employment and financial assistance.”

[Original] We genuinely have to consider a post-Soundcloud world if rumours of its impending demise are to be believed — and that sucks.

Soundcloud only has enough money to last 50 days after the much maligned service binned half of its staff last week, closed offices across the world, and left in its wake a raft of stories of a company that’s sinking fast, where information is being withheld from employees and upper management doesn’t appear to have a solution.

According to TechCrunch, who have spoken to a number of sources within the company, moral is obviously at rock bottom, with many of the 170 remaining staff looking towards the exit door already, with many accusing Soundcloud’s upper management and its founders from hiding the real truth from them about the company’s health and user numbers.

“I think no one within SoundCloud believes the user number. I think they’ve been going down for a while now,” explained one source to Techcrunch.

It sounds as if Soundcloud’s days are number unless someone swoops in and buys them, which could still happen, but if it hasn’t happened by now, it doesn’t seem all that likely after the company binned off over half of its biggest asset — it’s staff.

If you’ve ever worked at a business that has gone bust, it’s not pretty. One day, and you don’t when (because things like that are kept top secret) someone, maybe one of its creditors, will roll into Soundcloud’s offices and ask everyone to stand up, grab their belongings, and leave the building — and when that happens it’s game over.

“Where that would leave the millions of independent artists, curators and labels who’ve invested a substantial amount of time, money and energy to grow their fan base? Nobody really knows.”

Where that would leave the millions of independent artists, curators and labels who’ve invested a substantial amount of time, money and energy to grow their fan base? Nobody really knows — but you can just picture Daniel Elk and his Spotify cohorts rubbing their hands at the prospect of a load of new subscribers jumping ship in one foul swoop.

If Soundcloud does go to the wall, and completely disappears, then you can probably say good bye to Hype Machine and a great number of blogs who’ve leveraged their success upon Soundcloud’s success. Sure, Youtube and the like, will still be there to provide a vessel for publications to post music — but lets be honest, Youtube isn’t exactly the perfect replacement for what Soundcloud offers. Not by a long shot.

So who else? Well, maybe Bandcamp or another service will rise out of Soundcloud’s ashes. Soundcloud’s biggest asset was it levelled the playing field, and at one point, the cream really did rise to the top. But for the last few years, Soundcloud has become a game, a game that can be cheated and manipulated by those who are heavily invested in making their artists stars.

The once great idea that anyone could upload some killer music and have a chance of making it and changing their life is sadly long gone, and at the moment services like Spotify don’t seem to offer the same opportunity — especially with news that their meticulously controlled Playlists aren’t quite as transparent as everyone hoped they were.

Checkout Techcrunch’s eye-opening account of what’s going on at Soundcloud here.

And, please, pray for Soundcloud, because a future without an independent Soundcloud doesn’t sound all that appealing, if we’re being honest.