SoundCloud Quietly Decreased Its Audio Quality by Half?

Outrage ensued after one SoundCloud user thought hediscoveredthe platform had cut its audio file bitrate in half. In reality, SoundCloud has transitioned from streaming MP3s to Opus files, an audio file format that is supposedly superior. Claire Lobenfeld breaks Opus down and gets into how it can benefit you, the listener.

After**making headlinesthroughout 2017 for layoffs and cashflow problems, SoundCloud is kicking off this year with more controversy. Anuproar**ignited after New Jersey producer Direct’s tweets about an alleged downgrade in SoundCloud’s audio quality went viral. Here’s the reality: SoundCloud has ditched 128kbps MP3 files for 64kbps Opus files and the company itself is claiming no change to audio quality. “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,” a spokespersontold_Billboard_in response to backlash. “Furthermore, we store all content from creators at its originally uploaded quality level so we can continually adapt to advances in encoding and playback.” So why, then, is the bitrate chopped in half?


oh wow … never heard of this change. but some weeks ago made a mix with some grabbed soundcloudfiles by a downloader and sometimes sound … uuuuuuh … sounds

really bad sometimes … but wasn´t so sure, to be honest. Hm, other stuff at sc is even more annoying to my point of view.

No, they didn’t.

I’ve listened to music encoded with the Opus codec and I have to say it’s impressive. An Opus file can sound pretty close to an mp3 of twice the bitrate, so Soundcloud isn’t necessarily lying when they say they haven’t decreased the “audio quality.” They’re obviously taking cost cutting measures here though, which isn’t surprising, although it is somewhat concerning. I imagine there are probably some edge cases with the codec which will sound worse just because of the decreased bitrate.