Songdrop, the service that lets you bookmark, create playlists and stream music from the Web, has made good on its promise to launch an iOS app enabling curated music to be listened to on-the-go. The new Songdrop app supports music/video from YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Vimeo — with most of the same features as the desktop Web version.
The mobile release comes at a time when Songdrop is proving particularly popular in Japan, which makes up 40% of returning active users. For a product launched by a UK startup that may seem slightly counterintuitive, but actually there’s some logic in the traction. Japan has a very underserved music streaming market due to rights restrictions, something that Songdrop’s ‘open’ approach seems to be benefiting from.
Along the lines of a ‘Delicious for music‘, Songdrop lets you bookmark, organise and share music from disparate sources such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Vevo, and various blogs.
On the desktop Web version, you sign up via Facebook or directly, install the cross-browser bookmarklet or Chrome extension, and can then begin bookmarking — or dropping — music and videos you discover across the web for later retrieval.
You can follow other users on Songdrop itself and/or by importing your Facebook friend-list, while ‘artists’ can also be followed so that if other users ‘drop’ tracks by a certain band they’ll automatically show up in your feed, too.
As you’d expect, the new iOS app enables you to access your Songdrop playlists, create new playlists and discover new music by following artists and what your friends are dropping. You can also search YouTube and Soundcloud directly from the app and ‘drop’ songs from those services. The app is currently free, but supports streaming-only, with no offline playback.
On the Japan traction, Songdrop co-founder and CEO Brittney Bean tells TechCrunch: “The streaming market in Japan is really strangled due to the rights holders hanging back to get on board with streaming – there’s no Spotify or Deezer or Rdio, so we’re really filling a consumer need just by allowing people to listen”.
Bean also notes that 75% of the music market in Japan is still physical, while there’s a strong online video culture. “Being able to combine video and audio has really helped us to get traction and create a sticky product for those users – they’re twice as likely to come back and drop more songs than other territories,” she says, adding that Japan still has ‘all you can eat’ data plans for mobile. “So that’s great for us as we don’t currently offer offline capability.”
With both the Web app and iOS being free to use, there’s still no sign of that elusive revenue model, although it’s very early days. To that end, Bean tells me the startup is working on adding in-app purchases around the experience of listening to music, such as “new mini-products like a jukebox, mixtape creator and a messaging service”. An Android app is also on the roadmap, pending the required developer hire.
Songdrop is backed by SOIC Capital, which has invested £100,000 (~$150k) in the burgeoning London-based company. It’s also part of the current cohort of Wayra London, the accelerator run by telco O2/Telfonica.
Direct competitors to Songdrop include Ex.fm, Whyd and Solayo.