A group of volunteer archivists are backing up the whole of SoundCloud in case it goes bust

The state of affairs at SoundCloud has been the subject of much discussion over the past 12 months.

A group of volunteer archivists have launched a campaign to back up the whole of SoundCloud in case it goes bust.

It was only a few months ago in March that reports emerged alleging that the streaming platform was willing to sell for as little as $250 million, after investors valued the company at $700 million just a few years prior.

SoundCloud refuted the claim, saying they were “actively speaking with a variety of potential investors and other strategic partners” and were expecting “to see 2.5x year-over-year revenue growth in 2017”.

However, earlier this month, it announced it was cutting a huge chunk of its workforce and closing offices in London and San Fransisco – a move that was said “to ensure our path to long-term, independent success” by co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung.

Just last week, reports emerged that the company was bleeding money, and only had enough “to survive until the fourth quarter of this year” – a claim that was again refuted in an article by Variety.

So, with all this uncertainty about the future of SoundCloud, it’s a legitimate concern to wonder what might happen to the millions of tracks hosted on the platform if it went bust. As Motherboard report, some people aren’t waiting to find out.

A group of programmers called The Archive Team is currently working hard to launch a large-scale backup of the SoundCloud in case it goes out of business.

Last week, Archive Team coordinator Jason Scott tweeted that the project was currently underway alongside a callout for donations. Following the Tweet, a page appeared on their website detailing the project:

“Archive Team considers the SoundCloud service in danger and, as it hosts a lot of original content, finds it important to prepare to save it selectively (a full grab would be too big and would raise concerns of mass copyright infringement).”

“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 July 18th.”

According to another Tweet from Scott, the $135 million plus tracks hosted on SoundCloud total over a petabyte (1 million GB) of data, which would cost a huge amount of money to host elsewhere.

Chatting with Motherboard, Scott explained that not every track on SoundCloud would be able to be saved due to the prohibitive costs and thus may have to choose which tracks to archive.

“If we’re finding we’re only able to get a portion, we traditionally go for the earliest years (for historical reasons, less likely to exist elsewhere) and the most popular files (will break the most links if they disappear or can’t be found).”

“Our main concern is artists and creators suddenly finding their stuff gone, and making it so it’s not in oblivion.”

Head over to Motherboard to see the full interview.