Update: A spokesperson for SoundCloud has responded:
“We always appreciate feedback, but these reports are inaccurate. 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 encoding and streaming to fer 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.”
Over the past week, a number SoundCloud users have noticed the audio quality on SoundCloud's streaming service in steep decline. The Twitter user @DirectOfficial pointed out that the streaming format has changed from 128kbps to 64kbps Opus. While Tidal and Spotify has began to test streaming at an extreme 320kbps, SoundCloud has decided to reduce the quality.
“Opus 1.2 at 64kbps should sound equal or better than mp3 at 128kbps, but on Soundcloud it does not, leading me to believe it is an older version the codec,” said DirectOfficial. “This could be addressed in the future.”
While Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music continue to flourish, SoundCloud and SoundCloud Pro continue to struggle. SoundCloud has not responded to the change as writing this.