Soundwave is the latest music discovery app to be launched for smartphones, with ambitions to assist fans share information of exactly what they’re hearing, and find new tracks and artists from buddies and tastemakers.
Launched today as a complimentary download for iPhone and for Android, it’s the most up to date in a long line of apps with similar functions, most of which have sunk without trace on the app shops. Even Twitter’s much-hyped Twitter # music app doesn’t seem to be catching on, so why is Soundwave different?
Yet Soundwave hopes clever technology, a slick interface and well-engaged users are what will set it above the trampling herd of unsuccessful discovery apps, as well as the fact that it’s offered on Android along with iPhone from launch– still a rarity for this group.
The app gets users to sign up, and it then tracks the music they play on their smartphone, but likewise in streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. People register to follow buddies and tastemakers, and see their song-plays. Tracks can be played from YouTube and SoundCloud, rated with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, conserved as favorites or shared to Facebook.
Soundwave got its initial funding from a start-up accelerator program, although O’Driscoll decreases to explain on succeeding investment, stating just “we’ve got some great backing from some really cool individuals, particularly in the US and below in Ireland”.
How does the free app make money going forward, though? At first, some incomes will come– so Soundwave hopes– from affiliate sales, if individuals purchase tunes on the digital music shops linked from the app.
It’s a model made use of by apps like Shazam, which says it’s driving $300m of yearly sales on iTunes alone from the 10m tunes identified with its app every day. Nevertheless, with Apple’s 4-5 % commission rates, that implies $12m-$15m for Shazam from all those tags.
Soundwave has only just introduced, but it’s reasonable to recommend it’ll take a very long time to get anywhere near those numbers. How else will it generate income? Information.
In shorts, labels and artists will at some point be able to pay for different tiers of access to Soundwave’s data, in order to much better comprehend their fans. It will be far from the only such information source: Facebook, Twitter and a variety of songs analytics services already give these kinds of ideas.
Soundwave’s benefit could be its capacity to aggregate plays from streaming services AND the songs kept on its users’ smartphones. Plus, they do not need to play their tunes making use of Soundwave’s app for it to collect the data, which is a benefit for building an important dataset to sell.
However wait. Is this just the current example of a start-up with a whizzy, complimentary, social app attracting users and then enriching itself by flogging their information? How simple is it for Soundwave users to stop having all their plays harvested if they do not wish to?
The app’s setups likewise allow syncing with Spotify and Rdio to be switched on or off, while logging out shuts off all syncing.
App shop promotions will get it onto the phones of a fair few people in the next week, however after that the app might stand or fall on how enthusiastically those very early adopters advise it to friends, unless Soundwave decides to chuck a couple of million quid on mobile advertising and paid installs.
Generating income from affiliate sales will be difficult, so Soundwave have to work hard on those concepts for paid analytics. And a lot of importantly of all, it has to prove that there’s a demand beyond music/tech geeks for standalone music discovery apps at all– something its predecessors have actually failed to do.