Just a month ago, wave.ac turned one. We released a changelog where we reflected on all of the exciting developments we had made in the year. Unfortunately, however, after months of discussion within our team we have decided that wave.ac will shut down on August 10, 2019.
- wave.ac’s web-based service will shut down on August 10, 2019 at 3:00pm ET.
- Uploads will remain enabled until August 1, 2019. After this point, further track uploads will no longer be possible.
- Users can download all of their tracks in the native opus format on the page of their track (see below for details). You can transcode from opus to another format using a free online third-party service.
wave.ac was always an ambitious project and we liked that. Many of the features we had planned to implement in the service were extremely do-able. Albeit, there was one concession that would be made if we decided to continue developing the service — our time. People are impatient, which is understood in an industry where upstarts like ours are viewed with skepticism and struggle with adoption.
We often surveyed our community on Discord and on the site — 2,000 on wave.ac and 550 on Discord — to ask them about their thoughts of features we should build. What we found is that the kind of service we were looking to build was not compatible with the wants of our user base. Users insisted that they wanted another streaming site “like Soundcloud” but what users were really saying is that they “want Soundcloud to be better.” Realistically, most of these users were not interested in the offerings our site would have. As a result, we considered many factors — engagement, financials, value, and time. We ultimately concluded that though our company was profitable and well-visited, it was no longer worth investing time in continuing to build a service that we don’t feel would bring unparalleled value to artists and fans.
It might surprise many users to know this was not a purely financial decision. In fact, in our year one changelog, we touched on the fact that wave.ac covered many of its costs. We ultimately felt that while money is nice, our entire organization was found on the promise of growing resources and opportunities for artists. We feel strongly that artists deserve members of their team that embolden them and strengthen their career. Unfortunately, we no longer feel we have the passion to be a valued member of the team.
How Do I Download My Songs?
Immediately, all members of wave.ac will gain access to download their music in the native opus format on the site. Just navigate to one of your own track pages and select Download. You can then transcode the song from the opus format into another format using an online service.
What Should We Know?
If you’re a skeptic looking upon this and maniacally laughing about how correct you were that another audio streaming service was a bad idea — congratulations!
In all sincerity, building wave.ac was a highly rewarding experience. The lessons our team learned are things we will take forward to new and more promising ventures. However, many members of the industry know that there a lot of streaming services and music-related businesses. For those among us who are apart of the strange world of startups and music — for you, we have a few pointers:
- When building wave.ac, we had a vision which was far more comprehensive than audio streaming. Unfortunately, since so many users came to our platform and indicated a lack of interest in the offerings we were building? We felt as though we had been boxed in. If there’s any big takeaway we have made from working on wave.ac? It’s to build the service that you see having the most value (from data, interviews, etc) and listen to the customers who are paying you.
- Music streaming is a saturated space and there is not a need for another mass-market music streaming service... now or in the foreseeable future. There is, however, a strong need for more niche-oriented businesses in the space. Startups in this space should should focus on serving existing DSPs and consumption avenues before putting forth a product predicated on uprooting existing models.
- Resources and tools designed to empower artists and facilitate increased education are extremely valuable and should be a cornerstone of any entertainment-oriented product, regardless of who the product is for. There is a view in popular media that “artists are helpless and do not understand the business of the industry.” This should not be the case and should be remedied by companies and organizations who service the market.
- Many services right now are focusing on “building new avenues for monetization.” It can be appealing to follow the money, but as the bar to entry continues to fall and more creators share their content (a good thing)? The industry will get noisy (ultimately a bad thing). Therefore, the services which will lead the charge tomorrow are not just ones which are focused on purely financial outcomes for artists and industry, but engagement-oriented models which add value for creators and the mass market by connecting them with each other.
What Comes Next?
We have debated what to do with our audio streaming technology once we close in August. We had considered open-sourcing the tech, sub-leasing it to communities, and even have fielded several offers to buy it outright. We haven’t made a decision on what we will ultimately do with the technology. However, any outcome involving the technology will remain distinct from the user-generated content and data we have collected as a company. In other words, we (unlike some brands) will not pimp our base of supporters or sell your data. We’ll keep you updated regarding developments if they become relevant to our supporters.
We intend to keep a presence as wave.ac and we might even make a pivot to another model that we feel might provide more value to artists and the industry. At this time, we’re not sure what that will entail. However, we are still adamant about providing value to creatives and we hope to emphasize this in new ventures.
As for our team, we’ll be moving on to new ventures and new visions.
For the last two years, we have appreciated support from a lot of you. For that, we are enormously grateful. Some of you purchased our premium subscription, Pro, and made wave.ac a profitable venture. Some have heard the story that wave.ac was built with 99% of our time and energy and 1% our money — it is factual we only invested $300 into building wave.ac (and did not use all of it).
I said at the beginning: “wave.ac was an ambitious project.” Maybe the next thing we do won’t be as complex, but realistically speaking? Everything about our vision was do-able, the only part of our formula which was disagreeable with our success was time. Ultimately, time is so limited and you can only do so much. Some of the best companies in this industry don’t find financial success and those companies certainly don’t break even when it comes to the labour and effort involved in building a business like this. We were very glad to accomplish what we did in the time we spent.
We hope that at another time in the future we’ll build something even better than this — and we hope you’ll give us another chance to bring value to you.