MavenSay made its name with its eponymous tastemaker app for sharing recommendations about restaurants, music, fashion, and other arenas. Now, the company is making waves with a new music app, Rithm, which everyone is calling “Snapchat for music” for reasons we don’t entirely comprehend, because Rithm messages don’t expire, which is the entire basis of Snapchat.
Instead, the inspiration for Rithm, yet another app for sharing your “now playing” song with friends, was MavenSay itself.
“The music component [of MavenSay] turned out to be very popular and, most interestingly, we noticed that people were sharing music as a way to connect with each other and share experiences, not just to recommend songs,” Mike Wagman, the co-founder and CEO of Rithm, told Evolver.fm.
MavenSay saw the opportunity to jump into a moment-sharing scene dominated by video apps (Snapchat and Twitter’s Vine), so it created Rithm as basically a standalone version of MavenSay’s music recommendation service.
Snapchat and Vine struggle with music sharing. Have you ever received a Snapchat of one of your friends hanging out at a music venue? The video swirls around, the surroundings look blurred, and whatever music’s being played turns into muddy, distorted, hissy noise.
MavenSay’s Rithm, on the other hand, puts music front and center, and the music always sounds clear, because it comes from iTunes, Rdio, SoundCloud, or Spotify, depending on which one the sharer chooses to grab the song from, before sharing via Rithm, Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter. (Even better: If you subscribe to Rdio or Spotify, you can add the tracks you like to your collections on those services, making it easier to collect.)
“We think it’s an interesting comparison,” says Wagman of the Snapchat parallel. “We’re fans of how Snapchat created a new way for people to communicate with photos. Similarly, Rithm aims to provide a fun and innovative way to communicate using music… [but] the comparison isn’t something we initially came up with. A number of our beta users, especially teens and college students, expressed it [being like Snapchat] to us as a way to capture how they were using Rithm: sending each other fun music messages throughout the day.”
In addition to the song, Rithm lets you include a photo, video, or dancing emoji. Now, your friend at the show can send you the studio version of whatever song is playing at that venue, so you don’t have to suffer through all that distortion — and they can still include the video.
Instead of being a “Snapchat for music,” Rithm is a new way to share a song you may like or have heard coupled with your own choice of video, photo or a dancing emoji — more along the lines of This Is My Jam than Snapchat.
Startups are expected to explain their company or app in one sentence (usually “It’s like X but for T”), but in this case, the internet seems to have gotten it wrong. Wagman isn’t concerned, though.
“It can help,” he said. “Music messaging is a simple and interesting concept on its own, but comparing it to something that people are already familiar with can help drive awareness… The most important thing is that your product needs to be able to shine and show its unique value – we haven’t seen a more fun or expressive experience for music messaging [than Rithm].”
Rithm has attracted the attention of not just hordes of users, but the music industry, as well. Wagman tells us that artists, managers, and labels are already reaching out to try to figure out how they can use it to promote their music and interact with fans.