Music messaging? What’s all that about then?
It’s sending songs – or at least portions of songs – to your contacts via a smartphone app. Think WhatsApp, but instead of sending someone a text message, emoji, picture or sound clip you’ve just recorded, you can send your new favourite tune.
Can’t I already do that with existing apps like Spotify and YouTube?
Sort of. But a new batch of apps is set to deliver a much richer, more rewarding experience than simply clicking a button to send a mate a link.
Stereotypes (available now on iOS) for instance, allows users to form groups to share music and comment on individual songs. Songs are currently sourced from YouTube, with SoundCloud and Vevo are being mooted as future additional options. Users can log in using Facebook, which makes building groups with friends a simpler process, and collaborative playlists can be built through messaging.
Stereotypes has a (somewhat unnecessary, we feel) premise that the user “be a VJ” by answering questions such as “What song will you let loose to this weekend?” and by filming self-shot video intros in which they explain their choices to camera. But still, an intriguing app.
Yes, PingTune is an all-new service a couple of weeks away from launch. CEO and Founder Henry Firth told us that it's “the simplest way to find music and share it with friends” on mobile, and likens it to Instagram, Viddy and Vine: a product “that does one thing really well”.
While the specifics of how PingTune works – and where it sources its music from – remain unclear, it seems set to be a far more stripped-down service that Stereotypes, trimming the fat in favour of a simple sharing service.
So I’ll need to sign up to yet another new service?
Not necessarily. There are signs that existing apps are turning their attention towards music messaging too.
WhatsApp competitor Tango, for instance (available on iOS and Android) has just partnered with Spotify to add a music messaging option: users can now send contacts 30-second song clips from Spotify’s millions-strong library, all from an app that also supports text, picture, video and other types of message. Users who receive a music message can switch to Spotify if they want to hear the entire song.
We imagine rival messaging apps like Viber, Kik and BBM may well be keen to follow suit with music integration of their own.
Will music messaging become the new texting, then?
We're going to say no. More likely it'll integrate seamlessly into existing services, or be used as a secondary messaging service for the times that people want to share a song they've unearthed (and/or want to impress someone with their amazing taste in music).
It's unlikely to find too many fans among older, more traditional music lovers either. Members of this group often consider themselves audiophiles and consciously avoid using streaming services in favour of buying physical items like CDs and LPs and downloading high bitrate or lossless digital music. They're unlikely to ever embrace the instant sharing, instant gratification aspect of music messaging.
But they're a dying breed (quite literally), and there's every reason to suspect that services such as PingTune will see success, and quickly. So - are you an audiophile dinoasaur, or a youthful tune-sharing social butterfly?