Today, the relationship between social music startup SoundTracking and Spotify became a little more harmonious: the startup from Schematic Labs is the latest to launch an app for Spotify, making it the latest platform where users can create and then share their musical “postcards” with their freinds. Schematic are using the occasion to launch a couple of other cool features: Instagram integration and the ability to create playlists, to capitalize on the fact that SoundTracking now has 10 million daily “music moments” shared on its network via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
The news is the latest development of a relationship between SoundTracking and Spotify that first started last year, when SoundTracking released an Android app that became the first instance of users being able to link to full-track versions of songs rather than short clips. It is also a sign of how SoundTracking is becoming a richer platform in its own right, a new kind of light, special-interest-focused social network. “What we have designed and built is a social network for music, not in the form of a large website and links but something very simple,” says CEO Steve Jang. “We focus on two high level interactions for sharing: viewing and listening.”
Meanwhile, the Instagram integration is fitting for a company that has been described by some as the “Instagram of music sharing.” Jang says that while people have been using their own pictures in their postcards on the service, this is also about leaning on a popular service that has become for many the default photo app on their phones, and one that has been conducive to people interacting with each other. It is also a way of formalizing something people had already been doing informally: “People had been hacking their way into putting Instagram photos on to their SoundTracking posts,” he says. “It took three onerous steps to do it. Now it won’t.”
Rather frustratingly, the Instagram feature is for now only available on the Spotify app. Jang says it’s looking first at Spotify “to see what happens” before turning to its iOS and Android apps.
But while Instagram photos can be imported into SoundTracking, Jang says that SoundTracking tags are not going to appear back on those photos in their original location on Instagram’s network. That is something they are considering, however, he tells me.
Both are a sign of how SoundTracking is continuing to grow up and become a more full-service music sharing app, or, in the words of Jang, to offer “a rich contextual way to mix audio and visual elements in a more personal and emotional way.”
On the Spotify integration, this gives the streaming service one more way for people to discover music and spend time on the platform — two key focus areas for Spotify as it continues to build out its company as a platform in its own right for music services. Jang says that development was also in response to feedback from SoundTracking’s own community of users, who were already on Spotify and wanted to see closer linking of the two.
And given that SoundTracking is a mobile-first service, linking it up with Spotify could be seen in another light: it could be a sign of how SoundTracking is trying to make further moves into music consumption on desktop devices. (Indeed, Jang says that Schematic is also looking at developing a Mac desktop app for SoundTracking.)
But it could also could point to what Spotify hopes to do on mobile: it already has a lot of users of its mobile app, and we have also seen signs pointing to Spotify looking to extend its App Center to mobile, too.
Since SoundTracking launched last year — the last user number the company revealed was 1 million users when it announced funding of $4.75 million in November 2011, but has not updated that number since — Jang says that it has picked up a user base that is 60% U.S., with the rest coming from the rest of the world with an emphasis on Japan, the UK, Brazil and Mexico.
As for looking at other platforms like Windows, this may not be coming soon. “It’s hard for a company of our size to take on a new code base,” says Jang. “With our web site, Android, iOS and Spotify, we already have four. That’s already maxing it out.”