Digital music roundup: SoundCloud, Pandora, Twitter, eMusic and Spotify

SoundCloud

SoundCloud staff reductions cut deep, Twitter strikes live-streaming deal with Live Nation, Pandora slims down its operations, internet music pioneer eMusic relaunches and Spotify defends itself from ‘fake artist’ accusations.

SoundCloud has cut 40% of its staff in a defensive move to protect its independence within an increasingly tough online music market. The decision comes despite doubling its revenue in the last 12 months, but co-founder Alex Ljung said that, alongside the cost-cutting, further growth is needed from its advertising and subscription revenue streams. Less than a week after that announcement Ljung was forced to put out a statement saying ‘SoundCloud is here to stay’.

Twitter has broadened its live-steaming activities, having explored NFL games it’s moving into the concert business with a Live Nation deal that gives it exclusive rights to live-stream performances. The partnership with the largest concert producer in the US continues its efforts to move from second screen to first screen status, as well as marking the social network’s latest attempt to better integrate music within its platform.

Streaming service Pandora will shut its operations in Australia and New Zealand at the end of this month as it struggles with competition from Spotify and Apple Music, despite growing its user base to over one million monthly listeners since its 2012 launch. There is better news for the company when it comes to its Artist Marketing Platform, which offers data and advertising services to artists and continues to grow.

Internet music pioneer eMusic has relaunched, eschewing streaming for a crazy-but-it-might-just-work ‘music ownership’ model, with free or cheap downloads, cloud-based storage and a catalogue of over 30 million titles drawn exclusively from independent labels. “Once you stop paying Apple Music, Spotify and the rest you lose everything,” noted Tamir Koch, CEO of eMusic’s owner – and cloud-based company – TriPlay. “With us you can be on a plan, buy whatever you want, bring it into your collection.”

The tide of the fake continues, with Spotify defending itself from accusations of creating fake artists. The allegations come at a busy time for the company, as it looks to counter new lawsuits from music publishers and build on its deal with Sony to clinch one with Warners.

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