Have mobile messengers become the next frontier for the music industry?
Several months ago, Instagram unveiled a new feature.
Following long-term licensing deals with major labels and Merlin, Facebook launched music stickers on Instagram. Users could now share a sticker of songs, playlists, and albums currently streaming on music apps, including Spotify.
The company has also launched a slew of other music features. Sound Collection, for example, lets users insert licensed audio clips into Facebook and Instagram videos. Lip Sync Live, a direct clone of Musical.ly, allows users to select a popular song and sing along to it.
Plus, the company most recently launched its own YouTube competitor, complete with monetization features for artists – IGTV.
Not content with falling behind, Instagram competitor Snapchat has unveiled two new partnerships that may help it take on Facebook and Musical.ly head on.
Messaging with the sound of music.
TuneMoji, an app that allows users to send music GIFs with sound on messaging platforms, has partnered with Snap.
On the Snapchat app, users can now send GIFs with music for looping videos. They can share music GIFs in a chat or a Snapchat story. Snap has enabled the partnership via its SnapKit platform for developers.
Speaking about TuneMoji, James Fabricant, Founder and CEO, explained,
“Adding music to GIFs is the next logical step in the evolution of visual communication. We initially started by creating TuneMojis ourselves, and quickly realized how much more effective it would be to empower a generation with the tools to produce their own MusicGIFs. That infinite creativity is what now fuels the TuneMoji network.”
TuneMoji has licensing agreements with Universal Music, Universal Publishing, Warner, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, and Impel/PRS, among other companies. Based in London, the company has previously received around $6 million in funding from Sean Parker, will.i.am, and DJ David Guetta.
The move follows another recent Snapchat partnership.
Pandora will now allow Premium users to share their favorite songs, albums, stations, and playlists on Snapchat via music cards.
Here’s how the sharing feature works. On the Pandora app, listeners can tap on the ‘Share’ option on the ‘Now Playing’ screen. Then, after selecting ‘Snapchat,’ the app generates a unique music card. Users can then share the music card directly to a friend, a Snapchat Story, or a group of friends.
Snapchat users in the US who receive the music cards will have direct access to Pandora’s entire music library. Friends who view the Snap story or chat, for example, can listen to music on-demand through Pandora. Non-Premium users, however, will have to view a 30-second ad to listen to 30 minutes of uninterrupted music. On the plus side, Snapchat users won’t have to link their Pandora accounts to receive music cards.
As with TuneMoji, Snap has rolled out Pandora’s music cards feature in its SnapKit platform.
So, who stands to benefit from the recent partnerships?
All three companies.
First, Snap’s partnerships with TuneMoji and Pandora allow the company access to music sharing features without having to directly license music from the industry. This means it won’t have to spend months negotiating royalties with major labels and indies. So, it won’t have to pay to license individual songs for use, which is great news for investors.
Following a dismal Q2 2018, Snap desperately needs a way to turn its fortunes around. The company reported a net loss of $353 million for the three months ending June 30th, 2018. It’s also lost 3 million daily active users, down now to 188 million. With the TuneMoji and Pandora deals, Snap may now be in a better, more cost-effective position to compete against Instagram and Musical.ly.
Second, Pandora now has access to a potentially large user base in the United States.
The Snapchat partnership follows a recent deal with US carrier T-Mobile. Starting next week, T-Mobile Unlimited subscribers will receive a year free of Pandora Plus. Between its Premium and Plus subscriptions, Pandora has 5.63 million subscribers. So, with most Snapchat users not paying for Pandora, expect the service to earn more from ad viewership.
Third, TuneMoji’s user base, install rate, and revenue will increase.
As with Pandora’s music cards, Snapchat users will have to install TuneMoji on their devices to send music GIFs. According to mobile app market tracker Sensor Tower, TuneMoji had around 40,000 downloads on iOS devices worldwide in July. The app had around 50,000 on Android devices. On both mobile operating systems, the app makes under $5,000 a month. The company reportedly has over 20 million users.
Featured image by Snapchat.