The streaming apocalypse is in full swing.
Despite launching an on-demand subscription service last year to rival that of streaming juggernauts Apple Music and Spotify, SoundCloud—the platform beloved by independent artists and DJs, which last reported 175 million monthly listeners three years ago and hasn’t provided a more recent figure—has not had an easy time making money in such a competitive market.
The latest report is that the company only has enough money for 80 days of existence.
SoundCloud’s potential collapse, as unfortunate as it is for millions of niche music fans, does not come out of nowhere. The music-streaming industry has recently seen company after company folding, with eager-eyed startups simply being edged out by bigger players.
Pandora is stumbling, having invested too much too late in on-demand music after starting out in internet radio; Tidal, whose strategy of exclusive album releases isn’t exactly working, keeps losing steam. One of the problems with streaming companies is that they offer roughly the same product at their core (an on-demand song buffet) and so it comes down to things like quirky features, user interface, longevity, original offerings, and sheer branding. It’s not crazy to entertain the idea that Apple Music and Spotify, the current two biggest competitors in the space, might soon be the only ones left.
Yet maybe rappers and music streaming services are fated to go together. Jay-Z bought Tidal and turned the struggling music company around a few years ago (well, mostly), and now SoundCloud may get its own boost from Chance the Rapper.
The 24-year-old and Grammy-winning hip-hop artist, who got his own eccentric start on SoundCloud, unexpectedly declared to his five million Twitter followers yesterday that he is “working” on it. He did not supply further details. Quartz has reached out to SoundCloud and will update this post with any comment.
Update: Chance has provided more details—
and so has SoundCloud—
—though neither tweet really says much of anything at all.