Johannesburg - Despite thousands of tweets and rumours circulating online that popular streaming service SoundCloud has reduced its audio quality, the company has denied this, saying it was conducting routine maintenance.
Amid reports that SoundCloud has reduced its standard streaming rate from 128 kbps in MP3 format to 64 kbps in Opus audio format, the company told global music chart website Billboard.com on Thursday that the reduction in sound quality was part of frequent tests it runs with its audio.
'Kbps' refers to the information per second transferred while listening to a song. A reduction from 128 kbps to 64 kbps presents a significant dip in the audio quality, while file conversion from MP3 to Opus may vary in quality.
Opus is a royalty-free audio format that was first introduced in 2012. It has been praised for its high quality and suitability for internet streaming.
"We always appreciate feedback, but these reports are inaccurate," a SoundCloud spokesperson told Billboard.
"SoundCloud has not altered its approach to audio quality. We have been using the Opus codec (among others) since 2016, and we regularly test different combinations of encoding and streaming to offer listeners a quality experience on any device. Furthermore, we store all content from creators at its originally uploaded quality level so we can continually adapt to advances in encoding and playback," the SoundCloud told Billboard.
Since Tuesday SoundCloud was reported to have experienced issues, even experiencing a downtime across several systems affecting playback.
“We are still recovering from last night’s outage. Stats may not be displayed accurately right now,” the company said on Tuesday on its official Tumblr blog.
SoundCloud said that it had a major power outage in its data centre earlier this week.
The service, which allows users to host audio and music files, was launched in 2007 and has become a springboard for musicians who have been signed to major record labels and have since entered the mainstream music industry.
Popular US rapper Post Malone, US singer Bryson Tiller and Norwegian DJ and house producer Kygo all posted songs to SoundCloud which earned them international popularity.