The fabulous life of SoundCloud cofounder and CEO Alexander Ljung

SoundCloud founder and CEO Alexander Ljung went from a geeky, music-obsessed teenager to the high-flying CEO of one of Europe’s most-recognised startups.

Ljung and cofounder Eric Wahlforss bonded over a shared love of music, and decided to create a platform that was something like Flickr or WordPress but for sound. It turned out to be a godsend for aspiring musicians, mainstream artists, DJs, and podcasters alike, who have collectively uploaded over 100 million tracks.

It propelled Ljung into the spotlight too. When not working hard at SoundCloud’s Berlin office, he can be found in the company of models and celebrities in some of the most beautiful places in the world.

After eight years, however, SoundCloud is going through a rocky patch. Big labels like Sony have pulled their music from the platform, and the company may have to give away big chunks of equity in order to win licensing agreements.

Ljung's relationship with SoundCloud cofounder Eric Wahlforss started when they were both studying at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. They bonded over a shared love of music -- and because they were the only two guys in class with a Mac.

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'I was having this problem where I couldn't sync my calendar with iCal, the school's calendar feed,' Ljung said in an interview with FounderLY. 'And I go up to this guy with a Mac laptop and I'm like, hey, I notice you have a Mac. Do you know how to do this? And no joke, he's sitting there trying to get the same exact same thing to work.'

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Source.

While the idea for SoundCloud was born in Sweden, the two founders quickly moved the company to startup-friendly Berlin. But according to Ljung's Instagram, that's not where he spends all of his time.

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Ljung is often spotted in exotic locations...

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With model girlfriend Tamara Shenk...

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And some rather famous people...

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He also likes going skiing...

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Heading off on safari...

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And catching a few waves...

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All that travelling can get pretty tiring. But Ljung started border-hopping from a young age. Born in the UK, he spent part of his childhood growing up in the Middle East with his British mother and Swedish father.

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'We lived there for a couple of years and then they sold everything that they had, bought Persian carpets, loaded them up on a caravan and we drove from the Middle East to Sweden,' Ljung told FounderLY.

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Of course, an Instagram feed isn't an accurate representation of someone's life. It took a lot of work to get SoundCloud from its 2008 launch on the floor of a Berlin nightclub to where it is today.

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(This isn't a Berlin nightclub.)

While it hasn't managed to make a deal with Sony yet, there are rumours of an impending licensing agreement with Universal Music Group that could see SoundCloud give away a big chunk of equity.

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Warner Music made a deal with SoundCloud last November, taking a 5% stake in the business. But these deals seem to rely on SoundCloud promising to eventually launch a paid tier.

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Wondering how to keep SoundCloud's spirit of creativity and openness alive as it introduces a premium tier must keep Ljung busy. Sometimes he even takes the office home with him.

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Still, the life of a music and tech powerhouse can get pretty crazy, especially at Burning Man.

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But Ljung seems to make time to keep the SoundCloud team happy.

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And if the company can figure out how to make a profit while keeping artists, labels, and users happy too, all the hard work might just pay off.

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