And how we plan to solve it.
Starting with Research.
The SoundCloud App was a tough cookie. We had to zoom out and look at its desktop counterpart to study and understand SoundCloud even more as a whole.
What is SoundCloud? Who are its users? Why is it not doing well? How can we improve it?
For those of you that do not know SoundCloud. It is a platform where emerging artists can host their music and the genre of the music hosted is not as mainstream as things you can find on Spotify.
It is also the world’s largest music and audio platform. SoundCloud lets people discover and enjoy the greatest selection of music from the most diverse creator community on earth.
They have a target audience that can be split into two groups: Passive listeners and Musicians. Soundcloud also currently has 6 subscription plans that cater to both.
Despite these numbers. Why was it failing? We narrowed it down to 4 different reasons:
1.Streaming Service Failure
Its bet to monetise through streaming service with the launch of Soundcloud Go has failed due lack of audience buy in. Soundcloud has quantity but not quality. People like that its free and ad-free as well.
2.Artists leaving the platform after becoming famous
Soundcloud has proven to be able to generate high followings for new Artists on its platform. However, due to the lack of monetisation options, Artists normally leave Soundcloud when they are famous and move on to other online music sites such as Spotify or Itunes.
3.Labels, royalties and failure of music streaming model
Records labels still control valuable old catalogues, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have to pay high amounts of money to them as royalties just to have them hosted on their sites. These platforms are losing money instead of making them and are struggling to find a sustainable business model.
4. Lack of Identity and direction
Soundcloud is firstly a social network and every user is treated both as artist and listener at the same time. But by neglecting this model to move towards a streaming model, SoundCloud lost its identity which was fundamental to its early success.
After the user interviews ranging from music creators who have used and left SoundCloud and music listeners who still use SoundCloud and/or other music apps.
We found the things in SoundCloud that mattered to them:
Community. The comment feature is a big thing for them. They want positive comments about what they are passionate about.
Freedom to host and post whatever music they want.
It is a positive influence on encouraging both artists and aspiring artists.
They have far more loyalty to SoundCloud than to Spotify or Apple Music.
They wish that the mobile app is similar to its desktop counterpart.
The discovery of music is very important to the users. They like that they can find things that arent often mainstream or its the only platform that they visit to find genres such as Breakcore or EDM.
SoundCloud was not fully harnessing the potential of the 175 million users currently on the platform, who are all potential creators of value, to create more valuable content.
From all this information we formed two personas to concentrate on: