Note: This post was written by Evolver.fm’s Chase Hoffberger and edited by Eliot Van Buskirk.
Foursquare. Facebook Places. Twitter Locations. Gowalla. Loopt. Brightkite. Urban Spoon. Even Boost Mobile’s “Where U At?!” ad campaign. Yes, the world has gone “geosocial,” music apps included.
These days, apps can connect you with concert-goers in your proximity, at-home listeners clear across the country, or friends whose musical tastes you trust and follow. One could almost form an entire scope of musical habits around location-based music apps, and developers are starting to take notice.
At the most recent SFMusicTech Summit, our colleague Antony Bruno of Billboard noted that the individuals behind location-based music apps are beginning to understand the ways in which their accumulated data can help lead to functional business plans, much in the same way that Foursquare has taken to location-specific advertisements:
Apps like Soundtracking may not be making the music industry a lot of money, but developers of the app are collecting highly valuable data on how differently the app is used in different cities. In Los Angeles, the most track tagging activity takes place in the car, as users are stuck in traffic. In New York, users are tagging songs later at night, mostly while drunk. A representative from Shazam said the company is monitoring the location of every track ever tagged on the song ID service (on average, three million worldwide a day).
All the scare tactics around Apple’s “locationgate” aside, this knowledge could have a huge impact on how the next generation of music apps are built, and monetized. Perhaps there’s a way for SoundTracking to work with LA-based radio stations given all this activity taking place in the car. In New York, maybe there are partnerships with bars. Expect Shazam to incorporate some sort of advertising messaging to users based on what they tag, when, and where. (Already, Shazam claims to drive 300,000 track sales a day from users who select the “buy” button after identifying a song.)
We agree. How or when exactly those developments may take place, potential clearly exists for apps like the excellent new SoundTracking to change the way that we listen to, congregate around, and learn about music.
Evolver.fm first covered this trend in December when we spoke with Soundtrckr founder and CEO Daniele Calabrese. He noted that his own app had undergone a steady surge in popularity, that there’s a public interest in documenting the soundtrack of your life, and that soon people will have a way to teach and inform through the power of social music.
“I see the product going in a direction where you will be able to go back to all the places where you played songs and be able to see the timeline of your friends playing music in those places,” Calabrese said in a recent follow-up conversation with Evolver.fm. “People will start to develop soundtracks themselves. Your friends can help piece together the pulse of what’s going on where you are right now.”
We’ve reviewed four location-based listening apps, each doing its part to help music “take place,” which should be worthwhile reading for any music fan with a GPS-capable smartphone:
SoundTracking: Broadcast important songs in your life, including where and when you heard them, on a variety of social networks.
Soundtrckr: Share what you’re hearing and discover what those around you listen to.
Music Mapper: See a map of who is listening to what where.
Herd.fm: Tag certain places in your city or town with the appropriate songs.