Snippit Launches An App To Add (Brief) Soundtracks To Your Photos

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Snippit is a just-launched app offering a twist on photo-sharing.

The idea is pretty straightforward — instead of sharing a photo on its own, Snippit allows users to add a 4-to-10-second clip of their favorite song. The song can be something that’s downloaded on their phone, or they can select from the 30-second song previews that are available on iTunes (yep — a clip of a clip). They can also add text captions and location check-ins and tag friends.

Co-founder and CEO Joe Grano said he first started thinking about this on a trip back to New York (he currently works in Los Angeles), when he realized that instead of just declaring “I’m in New York!” or posting an NYC photo on Facebook, he wanted to share a clip of a relevant Jay-Z song. More broadly, he suggested that this is a way to give a picture more personality and emotion than it would have on its own.

This is one of those social media ideas that might be a little too simple, but hey, simplicity can be an advantage, particularly in smartphone apps. The photo/music combinations that I saw in the app today were pretty fun, and the limit on the clip length makes it easy to browse the feed without getting bogged down.

The length, Grano said, also means that Snippit’s usage falls under fair use, so the company doesn’t need to negotiate deals with the recording companies (and can therefore avoid the licensing costs that other online music services struggle with). At the same time, since users can buy the full song from iTunes (earning revenue for both the record company and a small affiliate fee for Snippit), he suggested the company could start making promotional deals with those same companies.

Given Snippit’s dependence on downloaded music and iTunes, I asked Grano how he felt about the rise of subscription music services like Spotify. He replied that with the iTunes preview integration, users don’t have to own a song to use it, and that if Spotify or other services want to release an open API, “I think it would be great for the app.”

The company has raised $500,000 in seed funding. It was basically “an internal family round,” Grano said, with investors including his father Joseph Grano, CEO of Centurion Holdings and former chairman of UBS Financial Services.

Apparently, Grano has been building Snippit while also working as an executive assistant at production company Leverage Management, whose credits include the TV show Entourage. It’s been like “doing two full-time jobs,” he said, but in about a month he’ll leave Leverage to focus entirely on the startup.