Snapverse is an iPhone app that combines 20-second user videos with licensed music. The amount of licensed music available is about to grow significantly, thanks to partnerships with Universal, Warner Brothers, and Sony.
The company is also announcing that it has raised $3.5 million from John Hannan of Apollo Management (it’s a personal investment by Hannan, not Apollo).
Founder and CEO Scot McCraken told me that the app launched quietly in May, with more aggressive growth efforts starting last month. The theory, in McCraken’s words, is that music makes user videos more compelling: “People are using it to communicate and to be social and to express themselves.”
For the most part, most current uses of professional music in user-generated videos happen without permission, so McCraken said the Snapverse approach will create a new avenue for revenue and promotion for the music industry while also giving users “that comfort level that the content they’re using is legitimate and it’s not going to get taken down.”
Snapverse offers a number of features and formats for those videos, including the Selfieoke, a karaoke selfie that allows users to record themselves singing popular songs.
As for the industry deals, McCraken didn’t offer too many financial specifics, but he said, “They didn’t give us this access for free and we didn’t ask for it for free. We wrote out pretty big checks.” Thanks to those deals, there will be about 750 tracks available in Snapverse, and McCraken said his plan isn’t to just build a massive library of music.
“I don’t want to have 10,000 songs,” he said. “I think it’ll slow down the experience, it’ll slow down the app. I want to go with a curated kind of a catalog that changes regularly.”
When I asked McCraken about his business model, he said that’s something the company will be figuring out: “The only honest answer is connecting with our users and finding out what’s important to them and where they see areas where they would be willing to part with their previous money.”
You can download the app here.