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SoundCloud Denies Claims of Audio Quality Reduction

Earlier today, SoundCloud came under fire for reports that it had “drastically reduced” the quality of streamed audio from 128kbps MP3 to the 64 kbps Opus format. Though a lower bitrate does technically mean that less data is transmitted from second to second while streaming, the Opus audio codec has been praised by developers as “unmatched” for speech and music transmission online, with a broad range of possibilities for bitrate, bandwidth, and frame size.

In a statement shared with Pitchfork, a representative from SoundCloud said that these claims were “inaccurate.” “SoundCloud has not altered its approach to audio quality,” they noted. “We have been using the Opus codec (among others) since 2016, and we regularly test different combinations of encoding and streaming to offer listeners a quality experience on any device.”

Throughout much of 2017, SoundCloud struggled to monetize its far-reaching cultural impact, forced to lay off roughly 40% of its staff in July, with CEO Alexander Ljung ultimately leaving the company as part of a new funding partnership with “global merchant bank” The Raine Group in August.