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SoundCloud faces do-or-die vote by investors

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SoundCloud will soon collapse if investors don’t vote for a rescue funding round tomorrow. The stumbling music streaming community site had to suddenly lay off 40 percent of its staff last month. Now it’s asking investors for $169.5 million at a pre-money enterprise valuation of just $150 million, according to Axios‘ reliable business editor Dan Primack. That’s a steep drop from the $700 million valuation of its previous rounds.

If SoundCloud doesn’t get the funding, CEO Alexander Ljung reportedly told investors that SoundCloud won’t be able “to continue as a going concern.” That could force SoundCloud to sell even though Ljung has stubbornly fought to keep the dying startup independent. If it can’t find funding or a buyer, SoundCloud could vaporize, destroying its massive archive of user-uploaded music, podcasts and other sounds.

Investors would be forgiven their distrust since SoundCloud has burned over $230 million in funding plus $70 million in debt with little monetization progress to show for it.

[Update: At least this new funding deal would bring in new management. Recode reports that former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor would replace SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung if investors do provide the funding.]

Last month we detailed the many, MANY problems with SoundCloud. Employees told us the company is “a shitshow,” with a lack of product direction, talent leaving and employees secretly using Spotify.

Rather than focus on its unique value proposition of being the “YouTube for Audio” with demos, DJ sets and remixes available nowhere else, SoundCloud chased dreams of grandeur as it tried to evolve into a Spotify competitor. But after taking years to negotiate deals with the major record labels, the extremely late $9.99 SoundCloud Go+ subscription service flopped. Meanwhile, it had burned credibility with core users like DJs by removing their music over dubious copyright claims while trying to suck up to the labels.

SoundCloud CEO Alex Ljung would be replaced if the company receives the new funding

SoundCloud lavishly spent money on offices around the world while its CEO galavanted at music festivals like a rock star. SoundCloud recklessly wasted money, hiring people up until the moment it announced they’d be immediately let go as part of the 173 layoffs it announced last month. Now staff morale is in the toilet, the user experience is a mess, the subscription models are unappealing, competitors are growing rapidly and musicians are fleeing to other upload platforms.

That’s why it seems crazy for investors to fund a $170 million Series F to keep a sinking ship afloat a little longer unless SoundCloud is willing to swallow its pride and get acquired for whatever it can get.

The new investors would be Raine Group and Temasek, plus existing backers Union Square Ventures, Doughty Hanson and Atlantic Technology. They’d at least get preferred stock that’s paid out upon exit before previous investors. But how are they to know they won’t get diluted too when SoundCloud runs out of money again? The new deal would reportedly reduce the liquidity preference of the previous Series E investors by over 40 percent.

We reached out to SoundCloud PR and its CEO for comment or clarity on the do-or-die fundraise, but didn’t hear back.

Investors’ best bet is to fund a small bridge round just big enough for SoundCloud to shop itself around and find a buyer. Perhaps Google would buy it to align the YouTube of Audio with the YouTube of YouTube. Or Amazon could step in and try to do for musicians what it did for book authors by creating a convenient aggregated marketplace, though acquiring Pandora might better mesh with Amazon’s mainstream demographic.

SoundCloud has proven it can’t manage itself. It’s too damaged, too in debt and too far behind to thrive independently without a miracle turnaround. No matter what, the whole service is on shaky footing, so musicians may want to archive their audio and start promoting their presence somewhere safer.

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Entertainment

RGV Not Meeting NTR Family

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Ram Gopal Varma is trying to get maximum attention to his Lakshmi’s NTR movie, and there is quite a good buzz on the project even before it was launched. RGV is planning to make it big in the best way possible and trying to create a special interest towards the film in the public.

RGV Not Meeting NTR Family
RGV Not Meeting NTR Family

“I got this idea from the friends to make a film on the life of SR NTR. My film deals with the incidents that took place in his life from the time Lakshmi Parvathi entered his life till his death. The subject is ready and I am not going to meet the family members of NTR because all of them would narrate the incidents that are in favorable for them. I met NTR’s driver and cook recently and got some details.” said RGV about his research.

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Entertainment

Actress Sada Turns Prostitute For Torch Light

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Sada is a heroine in Telugu who was seen in homely roles in her career beginning. The actress who was shot with popularity also explored offers in Kollywood. She was a judge for the reality show being telecasted in ETV. The actress is always in her limits when it comes to giving her judgment, or behaviour in the show or presenting herself in a beautiful manner. She never crossed the limits in being glamorous.

Sada Turns Prostitute
Sada Turns Prostitute

The latest update is that the actress is going to be seen as a prostitute in the film titled Torch Light. The film is being made in Tamil and is directed by Abdul Mazeeth. The director said that he approached a lot of heroines before Sada but everyone rejected the role. He is happy that Sadha immediately accepted the role. The film is scheduled for a release in December.Readmore

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Technology

Find your unprotected Amazon S3 buckets with this free tool

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Services like Amazon’s S3 have made it easier and cheaper than ever to store large quantities of data in the cloud. Used properly, S3 buckets are a useful tool that can save time and money.

Used properly, I said. The problem is that plenty of companies fail to implement basic security. This, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, has resulted in an astonishing spate of (frankly) catastrophic data breaches. In October, researchers discovered an open S3 bucket containing the personal information of 1,113 NFL players and their agents. And in July, the details of three million WWE fans were chokeslammed onto the internet, after a third party contracted by the popular wrestling franchise set their buckets to ‘public,’ allowing anyone with an Internet connection to access and download content from it.

Sometimes, the leaked data is of a profoundly intimate nature. One leak, which emerged just last week, contained the blood test records of over 150,000 people.

Kromtech Security, a Cologne-based infosec firm, today released an open source script that should hopefully solve this problem for good. The tool, called S3 Inspector, is essentially a short Python program that uses your credentials to enumerate your S3 buckets. It will then identify which ones are secured properly, and which ones urgently require your attention.

Speaking over email, Bob Diamchenko, Head of Communications for Kromtech, explained the motivation behind S3 Inspector.

Amazon S3 is a popular storage service that is used by many enterprises, governments, and individuals across the globe. The service is fast, scalable and easy to use, but far too often we have seen cases where administrators fail to configure it properly or simply forget about configuration changes. This usually results in confidential user data or internal data is leaked online to anyone with an internet connection.

We began to see an increase in the number of instances of S3 misconfigurations. Recently we published a detailed guide, which explains how to protect your S3 buckets in detail. However, despite numerous warnings and a never ending cycle of data leaks, it seemed like those who store sensitive data online were not getting the message or unaware of the dangers.

When talking to the affected companies about the reasons for them to leave their repositories unprotected, we learned that oftentimes businesses have so many AWS S3 instances within their environment that it becomes hard for them to continuously check for their public availability.

We decided to make a simple tool that can help Amazon S3 users quickly check their S3 buckets for public access. We hope that by raising public awareness and giving people the tools to quickly check if they are protected from leaks. As responsible members or the cybersecurity community we hope that our hard work and dedication will reduce the occurrences of data leaks and financial, reputational damage, and cyber crimes.

S3 Inspector is available from today. You can download it from Github here.

Read next: Wicked Audio’s Outcry Extreme is my favorite Bluetooth speaker under $60

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