Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

SoundTracking Gives Music Its Own Check-In App (Video)

It used to be the smallest unit of personal expression online was a blog post. Then it got easier: A status message or a location check-in. And recently even easier, with mobile photo uploads. On that continuum, perhaps the next step is using an app like the newly launched SoundTracking to automatically detect and share with your friends and followers the song you’re currently experiencing.

Sharing a single song is intimate in the sense that it says something about your personal taste, but the amount of work and preparation it takes to post is next to nothing.

SoundTracking, the first application from a small start-up called Schematic Labs, was rushed to launch last week after it came out that AOL was launching a competing app (though the new AOL Play is Android-only, while SoundTracking is iPhone-only). Oddly, AOL Ventures is an investor in SoundTracking, but that’s a different unit of the company. (Other investors are True Ventures, Google Ventures and angels.)

Probably the easiest way to think of SoundTracking is a social version of the ambient song recognition technology many are familiar with from apps like Shazam and SoundHound. Or, you could compare it to Foursquare, but with check-ins for music rather than locations.

It’s not like the idea of detecting and publishing what music a user listens to is new; Last.fm, for instance, has been doing it for years. But there’s a sense that by building something to be mobile and social “from the ground up,” every technology concept can be reborn.

At SXSW, I ran into Schematic Labs co-founder Steve Jang, who was previously head of marketing and business development at Imeem, the spectacularly failed music start-up. Jang said Schematic Labs isn’t going to be a music-focused start-up, but rather plans to develop similar apps for categories like shopping and movies.

In a video interview, Jang explained to NetworkEffect how the app works and how he plans to make money from it.

Another social music app that launched at SXSW is Roqbot, a sort of virtual jukebox allows users to collectively set the playlist at a party or public venue by contributing music picks from their iOS or Android phones.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald