Alexander Ljung

The co-founder of SoundCloud, a music distribution network that lets anyone who has made an audio recording share, distribute and publicise recordings over the internet has energy to burn

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Together with artist Eric Wahlforss, Ljung founded SoundCloud in response to the growing demand for recording musicians of any genre to be able to send and receive large music files over the internet.  The main aim behind the platform is to allow artists to unleash their creativity through collaboration and promotion as well as to provide artists with the ability to record their sounds either on site or through mobile technology.  SoundCloud has grown rapidly and some industry specialists see the company as a competitor to MySpace.

Ljung was born in the UK but grew up in Sweden. He attended Stockholm University from 2001 to 2004 where he studied philosophy, literature, politics, international relations and film music. He then took a year’s course in marketing at the Stockholm Technical School from 2005 –2006, and completed his studies at the Kungliga tekniska hogskolan, where he developed his interests in human computer interaction.

The skills, which Alexander was later to use with the founding of SoundCloud, were developed at ALC Ljuddesign, where Alexander worked as a sound designer. From this company Alexander progressed to KTH Human Computer Interaction where he worked as a researcher. The business skills that Alexander was able to adopt with SoundCloud, were first learned at SF Anytime where he worked as a business and development producer.  From 2002 until 2007 Alexander founded and ran akryl.p, a media productions agency.  The agency had a list of very high profile clients, including Absolut, MTV, Philips and many other prestigious brands.

Alex Ljung started his collaboration with Eric Wahlforss in Sweden but moved to Berlin in 2007 where they delivered an online platform that allows musicians to collaborate more easily than some of the other social networking sites. Some users have described SoundCloud as “email for music”.

In 2011 the company received investment from Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures of $10m, this was in addition to an earlier investment of $3.3m in 2009 from Douglas Hanson Technology Ventures. Ljung also opened a base in San Francisco in 2011 and by June SoundCloud had managed to amass an impressive five million users and had attracted additional investment from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary. The company prides itself as being responsive to its community of users and its website is easy to use and helpful.

In 2011 SoundCloud received the Schroders Innovation Award. By January 2012 the company announced it’s  user and in order to celebrate the founders produced a “storywheel”, which can be listened to on the company website.

The development of mobile technology has also inspired the duo, in their own words they said  “everyone now has a portable recording device in their pocket” and to date five million apps have been downloaded. The SoundCloud user base has expanded to journalists, storytellers and bloggers and an ever-increasing array of musicians.