A few weeks ago, when SoundCloud let go 173 employees, the internet banded together and created a “Hire a SoundClouder” Google doc to connect companies hiring with those affected by the layoffs. Now, WeTransfer has stepped in to also help the ex-SoundCloud workers by offering each of them $10,000.
In an open letter on Medium, Damian Bradfield, the president of WeTransfer, outlines how the idea came to him while chatting with a journalist at the Tech Open Air Conference in Berlin. Though he admired the “Hire a SoundClouder” idea, another, more radical alternative occurred to him.
“What if,” said Bradfield to the journalist, “each and every one of [the ex-SoundClouders] had been offered ten thousand dollars to refrain from getting a job? To leave and start something. To leave and start working on the new future of music, whatever that might be.”
Bradfield says these ex-SoundClouders have a special set of skills in the cross section of music, tech, and innovation, and it would be “sacrilegious to just let them go out and get regular jobs” instead of encouraging them to further innovate.
When he returned to the WeTransfer, the idea was formally set into motion. A letter was sent to each email on the “Hire a SoundClouder” Google doc and those who had given physical addresses were mailed a copy as well.
“Companies like SoundCloud and Medium have tried to ease the pain of layoffs by sharing contact details,” the letter says. “We admire this attempt to get you employed again but we’d like to prevent you from just simply ‘getting a job.’” The letter then details the offer: “$10,000 to start something.” In return for the money, WeTransfer asks only for “a proposal for something you could design, build, or manage.”
According to Bradfield’s letter, this is not a loan, offer of employment, or equity exchange. It’s a gift that ideally can enable these ex-SoundClouders the opportunity to create something that could be “the new mail-order record club, SoundCloud, or iTunes.”
Will an ex-SoundClouder take him up on his offer to create the next SoundCloud? Considering artists’ affections toward the platform have waned and that space for indie creatives is always welcome and needed, maybe?
You can read Bradfield’s letter in full here.