In July, SoundCloud announced that 173 employees — approximately 40% of the streaming platform's workforce — would be laid off. On Wednesday, the founder of WeTransfer, Damian Bradfield, shared an open letter saying that he had emailed each of the former workers $10,000 if they stopped looking for new jobs.
The sum is " not as a loan or an investment but a gift," Bradfield writes, asking that they put the money towards creating the music industry's next big thing. "What we would like to see is a proposal for something you could design, build or manage that could be the new mail-order record club, SoundCloud or iTunes."
The "modest amount" of $10,000 is not intended to fund an entire project. "[W]e started small too, and it could act as a runway," the letter reads. "Or it could pay for the lights on a runway. Somehow, it could help you get off the ground.”
The idea came to Bradfield this year at the Tech Open Air Conference in Berlin, as he was speaking with a journalist. “It seems sacrilegious to just let [former SoundCloud employees] go out and get regular jobs," he writes. "We desperately need innovation. We need challengers.”
SoundCloud has pushed back against recent reports that the company is running out of funding.