Internet Archive to back up SoundCloud audio files as bankruptcy fears grow

Volunteers with the Internet Archive are to back up audio files from the online streaming service SoundCloud, as fears that it will go bankrupt continue to grow.

On Friday 14 July, volunteer Jason Scott announced on Twitter that the Archive Team, a separate group of about 150 programmers that works to archive websites in order to preserve “digital heritage”, now plans to back up files from SoundCloud. He implored people to donate to the Internet Archive’s efforts.

As of April, the total storage space needed to back up the 128 kbit/s MP3 streams of all public tracks on SoundCloud is 855 TB (855,000 gigabytes). The Archive Team intends to back up this content, but only selectively, in order to avoid issues over mass copyright infringement.

It would also be impossible to mirror the entire site, which contains well over 2.5 petabytes of data, as the data storage would cost almost $4m (£3m).

“We are currently working on getting all the API data. So far, rate limiting has not had an effect. We also are writing the scripts to get a good grab of everything we can. The warrior project is expected to start on 18 July,” Archive Team wrote on its SoundCloud page.

However Archive Team has not contacted SoundCloud or asked for approval, according to tech site Motherboard.

The Archive Team has decided to back up SoundCloud content following a slew of news reports that indicate the audio streaming service is in deep trouble. On Friday 7 July, SoundCloud announced that it was cutting 40% of its staff and shutting two of its offices.

Making these changes would help SoundCloud back onto the “path to profitability”, and the service said that it had enough funds to last to the end of 2017.

However, five days later on Wednesday 12 July, TechCrunch reported that SoundCloud actually only has enough funds to last for the next 80 days, until the start of the fourth quarter of the year. A spokesperson for the service has confirmed that this is the case, but emphasised that SoundCloud is currently in discussion with new investors.

It is believed that morale in SoundCloud is very low after the lay-offs, and employees who still have jobs are now considering leaving the firm, which all sounds like very bad news for the audio streaming service, unless it can secure investment or a deal to be sold before it is too late.

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