SoundCloud: A German Startup Case Study
In 2007, founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss started SoundCloud to fufill their need for a simple music-sharing platform. Inspired by other simplified media companies such as twitter, vimeo, and flickr- they felt that music had been left out of this innovative shift towards technology-assisted collaboration. As co-founder Alex Ljung explains, “it was just really, really annoying for us to collaborate with people on music — I mean simple collaboration, just sending tracks to other people in a private setting, getting some feedback from them, and having a conversation about that piece of music.”(Van Buskirk). With this idea, they set out to create a space where people could share music and receive feedback in a way not offered by current music sharing sites. Now a worldwide company with offices in Berlin, San Francisco, New York, London, and Sofia they have over 10 million registered users, with countless more directed to their site everyday (SoundCloud). Moving beyond music file sharing, the company now has a mobile application and several levels of profile options, from a free user to a professional artist. With constant updates and a sleek design, SoundCloud has truly become one of the best website to upload, share, and explore music.
SoundCloud Revolutionizes Music Sharing
Ljung and Wahlforss were not the first people to start a music sharing website, or be successful starting one, but they have proved to build upon past companies in revolutionary ways. SoundCloud was founded in 2007 and became increasingly popular around 2009 (Robedhmed). Ten years earlier in 1999, Napster became one of the first websites to design a peer-to-peer music file-sharing platform, with a user-friendly interface. One of the early successful social websites, Napster had upwards of 80 million users between 1999 and its closure in 2001 (Businessweek). While other websites that allowed users to share files had existed before, the interface and ability to download any, but specifically difficult to find music, made it very popular. The company was quickly sued by several music artists for copyright infringement, and shut down in 2001 before being purchased. 2003 brought the creation of Myspace, the first very popular social networking service. From 2005 to 2008 it was the primary social-networking website with over 100 million users worldwide (Cashmore). Popular with young adults, artists began to upload music onto their profiles. This became a very inexpensive way to reach million of young people, and the one of the first ways to feature music online with a unique URL. Many artists were discovered using this platform including: Lily Allen, Sean Kingston, and Owl City (Frenette, Plagenoef). Eventually other features were added including the ability to make playlists, search for music, and archive music. However, by this time Facebook was taking over as the most used social networking website and therefore...