SoundCloud’s Eric Wahlforss announced today that he is stepping away from the company he cofounded 11 years ago.
Wahlforss had most recently been serving as chief product officer. He was chief technology officer until August 2017, when he gave up that role amid a corporate reshuffling triggered by an urgent cash infusion from investors.
While SoundCloud emerged as a streaming pioneer last decade, it has failed to find a stable business model over the years, even at one point becoming a rumored takeover target for Spotify. Just as the company seemed like it was about to hit a wall, it cut about 40 percent of its staff in the summer of 2017 and raised $170 million in funding.
At the time, SoundCloud cofounder Alexander Ljung left the CEO job to chair the company, and Wahlforss became chief product officer. They were replaced by former Vimeo executive Kerry Trainor as CEO and former Yahoo exec Artem Fishman as CTO.
On Wednesday, Wahlforss sent out an internal staff memo, which he posted on Twitter early Thursday morning:
“This was not an easy decision to make, but one of the biggest reasons why I feel I have made the right decision is that the company is in such capable hands,” he wrote. “It’s been a pleasure working with Kerry and the new leadership team over the past 18 months. Our team is stronger than ever, and we have very exciting plans slated for 2019.”
After 11+ years of building SoundCloud, it is time for me to take a break, reflect and think about what's next.
I will be stepping back from day-to-day operations and into an advisory role on March 1st.
I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved and deeply grateful. pic.twitter.com/71DQ8h0Sjv
— Eric Wahlforss (@ericw) January 24, 2019
Whether SoundCloud has found its footing yet remains unclear. The streaming market has only intensified in recent years, with the arrival of new competitors, and even giants such as Spotify have struggled to become profitable.