Music streaming platform SoundCloud has announced that the company’s president, Michael Weissman, will succeed Kerry Trainor as chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2021. Weissman succeeds longtime colleague and partner, Trainor, who will remain a member of the Board of Directors.
“I’m honored to lead SoundCloud’s next chapter,” said Weissman. “The company is in one of its most exciting moments in its history, and I’m thrilled to work alongside SoundCloud’s team and Board to lean into our unique position and opportunity in music. Kerry and I have worked together for nearly a decade, and I want to thank him for his vision and leadership to reposition SoundCloud for growth and, personally, for his partnership, friendship, and support for me to take the helm.”
Weissman joined the company as COO in 2017 and was promoted to president in 2019. According to the announcement, he has been instrumental in expanding SoundCloud as the principal architect of some of the company’s key strategic initiatives, including its music licensing efforts, its U.S. ad sales partnership with Pandora, and the acquisition and integration of artist services company, Repost Network.
Trainor added, “When I first organized the group to invest in SoundCloud in 2017, the mission was to ensure the future of one of the world’s iconic cultural platforms–for creators, listeners, the team and investors alike. There is only one SoundCloud in this world, which we owe to the vision of our Founders, Alex and Eric. Leading this platform and incredible global team through these transformational years has been an immense privilege. It is a great joy to name–and confirm with the SoundCloud Board–my partner and friend, Mike Weissman, as my successor. I look forward to continuing to work with Mike and the team as a member of the Board.”
Trainor has played a huge role in stablizing SoundCloud, which was an enormous success in the years following its 2007 launch as a site for DJ sets. Its user-friendly interface made it extremely popular among independent (and some major-label) musicians, although the platform struggled with licensing issues as it worked to become an above-ground streaming platform. Cofounders Alexander Ljung and Eric Walforss stepped aside for Trainor in 2017, and since then the company has refocused on its core creator-driven discovery network while driving sustainable financial performance; the company received a $75 million investment from SiriusXM in February. SoundCloud recently achieved its first profitable quarter, and will complete its third consecutive year of accelerating revenue growth with a strong balance sheet to continue investing in growth and strategic initiatives.
“It’s been over 13 years since we founded SoundCloud and Kerry and Mike’s leadership has been transformative in many ways,” said Ljung, who is now chairman of the company’s board of directors. “SoundCloud has always been one of the world’s most important cultural platforms, but the last three years have shown that it is also a fantastic business. I am excited to watch Mike lead SoundCloud’s next chapter and I am thrilled Kerry will remain engaged as a member of our board.”
“SoundCloud is a unique, essential music platform for new and developing artists, and since Raine and Temasek’s 2017 reinvestment backing Kerry and Mike, they put that differentiation front and center–with results that speak for themselves, said Fred Davis, Partner, The Raine Group, and a member of the SoundCloud Board of Directors. “Kerry’s leadership has positioned SoundCloud for years of growth to come, and we all look forward with excitement as Mike steps up to drive the company’s next stage. Congratulations, Mike, and thank you, Kerry, as we continue our partnership to build the future of SoundCloud.”
“SoundCloud’s vital role in music discovery and exceptional tools for audio creators stand out in the digital audio space. As investors, we thank Kerry for his leadership and for SoundCloud’s partnership with SiriusXM, and congratulate Mike as he takes on the role of CEO for SoundCloud’s next chapter of growth,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM, and a member of the SoundCloud Board of Directors.
Trainor’s letter to the staff appears in full below.
I have personal news to share, and we’ll gather everyone shortly for an All Hands.
As we drive into our next phase of growth and a new year, I have made the decision to pass the reins to Mike Weissman, our President, to succeed me as SoundCloud’s next CEO starting January 1, 2021. I’ll remain part of the SoundCloud team, continuing as a member of our Board of Directors.
This was a difficult decision because I wear my passion for SoundCloud, our team and our place in music culture on every one of my navy blue sleeves, if not written on my forehead. There is only one SoundCloud in this world, which we owe to the vision of our Founders, Alex and Eric. And leading this platform and incredible global team through these transformational years has been an immense privilege.
It is also deeply rewarding–professionally and personally–to know the time is right for me and the company to take this step.
When I first organized the group to invest in SoundCloud in 2017, the mission was to ensure the future of one of the world’s iconic cultural platforms–for creators, listeners, the team and investors alike. With the end of 2020 in view, we will have achieved our third consecutive year of accelerating revenue growth and our first profitable quarter, with substantial cash reserves to continue building SoundCloud.
Alongside our business performance, we’ve continued to grow the world’s largest open audio platform, now with over 250 million tracks, 12 million creators heard every month, and over 80,000 artists monetizing their work directly with SoundCloud.
While there is always much more work to be done, together we achieved what so many doubted–we safeguarded SoundCloud’s future and cultural mission to empower people to connect through music.
Now in my fourth year as CEO, these milestones have focused me on setting SoundCloud up beyond my watch, for years of growth to come.
It is a great joy to name–and confirm with the board–my partner and friend, Mike Weissman, as my successor. Mike and I began working together nearly nine years ago. At SoundCloud, we architected the process to fund the company and joined as a team. He has led some of our key growth initiatives and I look forward to where he will lead the company in our next phase. We will be announcing Mike’s appointment in a press release later today, so please join me in congratulating him!
As of January, I look forward to continuing to support the Executive Team and you all from the Board, while also taking time for life as a (still) new parent before looking at any new full-time projects.
Before we gather in a bit, most importantly, I want to thank all of you for your work to keep SoundCloud always moving forward. In or out of offices, across countries and timezones, let’s keep showing the world that what’s next in music is first on SoundCloud.
Speak to you all shortly.