Mixcloud’s CEO has stated that the platform is “not currently profitable” and has announced a new limitation on “basic tier” members, capping mixes at just 10 per account.
The announcement came in November but was clarified by follow-up emails and video from Mixcloud CEO Nico Perez. The latest email claims that “shows will not be deleted or moved” until you try to upload new content. At that point, basic tier (aka free) members who have more than 10 on the site will have to either start paying for a Pro membership or (uh) “move all other shows into drafts.”
The earlier announcement was accompanied by a video (embedded above) in which a somber Perez claims Mixcloud’s “royalty and hosting costs have risen” and that the service is “not currently profitable.”
In 2018, Mixcloud raised $11.5 million in venture capital from WndrCo, the “next generation media investment company whose founders include longtime Hollywood player Jeffrey Katzenberg,” according to Variety.
After the influx of capital, Mixcloud developed a variety of revenue streams charging both DJs and listeners on the platform. In fact the last five years has been characterized by a slow evolution from turning the totally free, almost revenueless site into one which sought to carve out “paid tiers” charging monthly fees for nearly everything. In 2019 the company launched Mixcloud Select which allowed DJs to charge paid subscriptions to the service, followed by livestreaming via Mixcloud Live, which was only available to Pro accounts. Also in 2019, Mixcloud began introducing limitations on listening – bizarre restrictions that would be lifted if listeners paid $7.99/month for the Mixcloud Premium subscription. Strangely for a platform that seems to have about 500 DJs for every fan, the restrictions seemed to be targeted at the site’s most dedicated listeners.
As we wrote at the time, nobody can really hold it against a company that wants to charge for their services (especially when vendors are charging them real cash for it, as hosting companies and rights collection agents are.) But creating an experience that was “Like SoundCloud, except everyone has to pay for everything” pretty much assured Mixcloud would never become the viable challenger to SoundCloud that we badly needed:
SoundCloud’s audience is gigantic in comparison to Mixcloud (and Spotify is obviously even larger – 500 million+). You would think Mixcloud would be eager to increase that audience size – and I believe they are, though they have revealed no plans of how they intend to increase it.
The company attracted some significant talent to the platform via Mixcloud Select, but their push toward Mixcloud Live was accompanied by a kind of petty sniping at Twitch, the platform that lapped Mixcloud almost immediately as the choice for DJ livestreaming during the pandemic. In threads like this one (or this one, or this one) Mixcloud concern-trolled Twitch for taking down recorded DJ livestreams being sold as VODs while ignoring DJs (and paying Mixcloud customers) who told them why their audiences preferred Twitch:
Plus my followers have told me they prefer twitch because it is more engaging. I know it’s about the music but for the listeners they like to interact and I’ve been told on numerous occasions the interaction on twitch is better than Mixcloud. Again I have both services… cont…
— StarkIntern (@DjPaUlHoWaRd) May 28, 2021
5 Mag never broadcast using Mixcloud Live, but we did find the features offered by their Pro membership fairly lacking for a price that was more or less the same as what SoundCloud charges. Discovery on the platform was awful and remains awful, inferior in every way to SoundCloud (think about the last time a listener on Mixcloud favorited an older mix). This wouldn’t require a million dollars in new hosting – just an improvement to the site’s existing code, which nobody at Mixcloud has been capable of or interested in fixing for years.
As relatively simple features like discovery remained second-rate, 5 Mag would receive strange PR pitches about Mixcloud’s re-design, boasting of the site’s new “bespoke typeface” and weepingly flowery prose like this:
At the heart of the brand is ‘the connector’. Its form reflects the fluidity of cultures and countercultures, whilst its purpose is to unite. It amplifies communities online and offline, constantly restless and moving through imagery, connecting genres and topics and experiences.
We just wanted to post DJ mixes, bro.
We paused our uploads to Mixcloud when we cancelled our Pro membership a few years ago. As this left our page on the “basic tier,” we’ve now deleted our of content from Mixcloud, all or nearly all of which you can find on our SoundCloud and HearThis pages. If there’s anything that you want that’s not there, please let us know.
Remarkably, we had to delete or move each show individually. Despite compelling users to move dozens or even hundreds of shows to “drafts” or deletion, Mixcloud’s site doesn’t feature a “select all” function. They are apparently “building tools to allow creators to unpublish in bulk.”
The new cap on uploads went into effect on December 1st.