Mark Cuban’s Soundwave Wants to be “The Instagram of Music”

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“Instagram for music” apps are having a moment.  But is a music-specialized version redundant?  People keep saying: “Instagram is the Instagram of music!

… I disagree.

Soundwave is the third Instagram-style music app that’s been pitched to me in the past four months, the other two were LuckyPennie and Musx.

Soundwave has actually been around for a year, but has just released a complete redesign on iOS and Android. What sets this app apart is the ability to automatically aggregate everything you listen to, like does.  It can track music played from the device’s library, as well as music streamed in apps like YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Pandora, Rdio, 8tracks, and Deezer.

There’s also an extension for Google Chrome that can track all the music you listen to in your browser (, anyone?)  That’s a bit much for me, as I’ve already meticulously set up scrobbling for all my digital listening.  However, the app does allow users to share songs manually.


Photo Jul 17, 10 13 49 AM
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The app also features private group messaging, making it easy to send music to your friends.  You can send a song you found in Rdio to your friends and they can listen via Deezer, Spotify, or YouTube.  These songs are aggregated into a group playlist.  My friends and I send each other songs every day. We usually resort to Facebook messages or secret Facebook groups, so this feature would be very useful.  The problem is my friends aren’t on the app, and it will be difficult to get them to sign up for one more service.

Soundwave also has a music map feature, showing songs that have recently been tracked by other users in your area.  The music map concept is cool, but the feature is kind of difficult to use.

Soundwave is backed by Mark Cuban, who says:

“Soundwave is now the exclusive app for taking the pulse of music lovers around the world.  It’s a fun app for users for sharing music and seeing what people around you are listening to, and it has incredible big data implications for the music industry.”

Services like Soundwave definitely have big data implications, but I don’t think these apps represent the exclusive “pulse of music lovers” — not yet.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

9 Responses

  1. Jserr

    Beautiful app but one that offers no real value to users. Their original design a year ago was supposed to be all about music discovery, and had a neat feature that allowed you to home in on what users in your general area were listening too. It was cool until you discovered everyone was listening to Gangam Style. Now they are pivoting to this music tracking thing, which holds obvious benefit for them in gathering and selling data on listener habits, but the trick will be getting anyone to use it They have influential friends (Steve Wozniak was their cheerleader last year).

    if you’re looking for the Instragram for Music, Soundtracking is the closest thing I’ve found. Pretty sure their pitch to investors was “We want to be the Instagram for Music”.

    personally, I don’t hink we need an Instagram for Music. There’s about a million ways to discover new music and I don’t think users don’t need one more stand alone app crowding up their home screen.

    • Nina Ulloa

      i agree. i download these apps to review them, and then alway end up deleting them because i don’t need them.

      • Steve Morrow

        Something like only 20% of apps last more than a few weeks on a user’s phone. I might have entirely made that up, but it sounds familiar. Either way, tough crowd!

      • longrunsthefox

        Something like only 20% of apps last more than a few weeks on a user’s Home screen. I’m not sure if that’s something I made up but it does sound familiar. Either way, tough crowd!

  2. J.J.

    I don’t know. I mean I have very few friends whose musical taste I trust. I use what they’re listening to as a thermometer of different parts of the country and world but I wouldn’t say anything that’s come out has been a discovery tool per se. It would be cool to have an app tell me what people are listening to by location, what bloggers and reviewers are saying about certain projects, and when certain projects are being released.

  3. Eugene Song

    Not surprised an app like this exists (or several apps like this). This is an area that Spotify has left wide open, which is a shame considering 11MM people subscribe to Spotify (and a ton more use it). They really need to figure out how to make sharing more seamless and useful for their users.

  4. Willis

    Instagram is the instagram for music. People use it all the time for that purpose.

  5. jw

    When I want to share something I’m listening to, I either tweet it in a text link. Or I post a youtube link to facebook or twitter. Or I screen cap whatever’s playing on Spotify on my phone, & post to Instagram.

    I WANT my friends’ music recs to show up in my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter feeds. If it’s posted anywhere else, I’m only going to see it if it’s shared to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, & then why should I have to take an extra step of… whether it’s downloading the app, or clicking on a link that’s going to take me to the app or whatever. That’s BAD design.

    The concept of “an Instagram for music” has no inherent value. No one needs an instagram for politics, an instagram for music, an instagram for cat photos, etc, etc… no one has time for that shit. IT’S ALL WHAT INSTAGRAM IS FOR. We only need instagram.

    And then what if half my friends are on Soundwave and half are on Luckiepenny? Do I need both? Trick question, none of my friends are on either of those apps. But they’re all on Instagram!