March 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Wahwah.fm Makes iPhones into Local or Global Radio Stations

Wahwah.fm identifies the music on your iPhone and lets you broadcast it worldwide or locally -- or tune in to what other users are broadcasting.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Wahwah.fm lets you turn the music stored on your iPhone into an internet radio station that gets broadcast worldwide, or to other people near your location. Not only that, you can also check out what other users are broadcasting.

To get started with this innovative app, you can sign up with Facebook or an email address; and if you choose not to share your location, you can enter it manually, rather than letting the system track you via GPS — a nice range of flexibility that allows privacy hoarders to get in on the action as well as social butterflies.

“Wahwah.fm allows every person in the world to become a live broadcasting radio station,” said Ari Stein, wahwah.fm’s head of communications. “You choose your music, you press play, and the second you press play, you’re live and on air. Whatever you’re playing at that moment, anyone else can listen to you.”

Broadcasting is remarkably easy with the app, which scans your iPhone’s library, allowing you to include all identified tracks in your playlist. The “swipe” method for adding the songs is slightly awkward (you swiping through one by one at random, in one direction only). We preferred the other option, which lets you tap to choose songs manually.

Either way, it feels pretty neat to broadcast live from your pocket – worldwide (like Twitter for music) or locally (like Highlight for music).

You can listen to other people’s stations too, of course, by following them, checking out what songs they’re playing, or based on their location, which they enter manually. In other words, the broadcasting part of the app lets you specify your city manually, rather than tracking you automatically.

“Wahwah.fm has a live feed, every second, of users coming in that are broadcasting their own music,” added Stein. “You can choose [stations to listen to based on] the person, the channel, and the songs that are playing at that moment. It’s like sifting through shortwave radio, and at any time, you can stop and listen to the song you want.”

“If you get off the plane in Buenos Aires, New York, or wherever you are, the closest users show up immediately,” said Stein. “Immediately, you get a perspective into the local music scene.”

The was released about three weeks ago in Germany where the company is based, which is why most of the other users visible in the screenshots below are from there, and it appeared in the United States app store this week. According to Stein, the company plans to make money with general advertising, local advertising, and in-app purchases. Over the next three to six months, the company plans to add game-like features designed to facilitate its spread. Wahwah.fm is free to use.

Another interesting angle to this app, according to Stein: Artists are starting to use the app to broadcast to their fans. So far, electronic artists Trentemøller and Modeselektor are among the “thousands” of people already broadcasting at any given time, and Stein told Evolver.fm the company is in talks with other artists.

If you’re a fan of an artist, wouldn’t it be nice to listen to their iPhones? We sure think so.

  • Guest

    How are they paying for the rights to stream this music to other’s phones? This seems fishy. 

  • Uneadresse

    Yes, I assume Sound Exchange and other BMI, ASCAP, etc., will have a lot of fun looking at how popular the app will be!!

  • Mrgogo

    wow, it was invented 100 years ago a similar app, was called : radio.
    do i really want to hear crappy tracks from my neighbor in the subway? answer: no. We are not that stupid (still)