Sometimes simple systems work the best and SayNow might be one of those cases. The service, still in private beta, is targeting musicians on MySpace who want to exchange voice messages with their fans. They can record voice messages, SMS alerts are sent when new messages are available and fans can leave messages in response after listening to a recording from the musician they are following.
Of course this model could be applied to any one-to-many form of communication in a mobile enabled context where vocal intonation and ease of use are important. Though easy to use, SayNow is less simple than it might appear and is a possible acquisition target for a larger company interested in integrating voice recognition, SMS and a compelling consumer experience. I like the service as it stands though too and can imagine it being successful without being acquired. Good functionality, clear demand and viable business model.
The eight person team behind SayNow is based in Palo Alto and has gone through one undisclosed round of funding.
SayNow is billed as a more personal way to communicate with your fan base, voice being more personal than text, while still protecting privacy by mediating between two sides of a phone number exchange. Though the system is still in private beta, beta testers and my own initial exploration of the system make it clear that SayNow has been put together very professionally. For such a seemingly lightweight use, this is an application that’s had some time invested in its development.
Voice recognition and an ajax web interface that responds to your phone activity give the system a great feel. To see a SayNow MySpace widget in action, check out featured artist AM Kidd’s MySpace page. Among the featured artists using SayNow are several with tens of thousands of friends on their MySpace acount. I think this is service is going to be met with a definite demand in the social media market. It’s not a cool technology looking for a market.
The long term revenue model appears to be wrapping phone messages in advertising; something I expect will be quite viable if the service catches on. I don’t think that people will mind hearing a company name and one line of advertising before or after their message – in exchange for communicating with an admired musician.
Before I used SayNow to send a few messages, I wasn’t excited by the idea. After trying it out, taking a look at the team behind it and thinking about the business model, though – I’m convinced that this is a startup that could go somewhere.
Thanks to Noah Kagan for pointing us to this one.