One way to become the place where music fans upload their musical performances is to give them a global video platform with more viewers than videos get anywhere else. That’s how YouTube became the musical force that it is.
Smule has taken a completely different approach, but it could end up in a similar place. On Tuesday, the company announced a brand new social music network that takes all of the music people record in Smule’s apps — mostly karaoke-style singing performances, but also duets, choruses, virtual guitar stuff, and of course the Ocarina and I Am T-Pain apps that gave Smule much of its early momentum.
YouTube likes to talk about how many hours of videos are uploaded to its system each hour (currently 100 hours). Smule has some pretty impressive statistics too. Users of its Sing Karaoke app record over 20,000 songs per hour, while Magic Piano app users play around 50,000 songs per hour. Users of all Smule apps have generated over a billion tracks to date. There are over 125 million of these music makers in Smule’s community so far, and tehy are sharing a terabyte of new music every two days.
Previously, Smule’s apps showed users of the apps everyone else’s performances on a 3D globe within the apps — but now, anyone can listen to the recordings in “Smule Nation,” which is what the company is calling its new social music network. The company hopes that exposing this stuff to the web will make the cream rise to the top.
“A lot of those songs, including my own cover of ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’, are not especially good,” said Smule co-founder and CEO Jeffrey C. Smith. “But when you have a hundred million people singing, playing, and curating the songs, a couple nuggets rise to the top. I would even say there are some seriously talented people on the network. Regardless, I think we all are having a lot of fun creating music together.”
To launch the network, Smule is offering a contest from today until October 15 that offers prizes in return for people getting Hearts to appear next to their performances on Smule. For 10,000 likes, you can get an unlocked iPhone 5s, a year-long subscription to all of the Smule apps, and a t-shirt.
Can a series of music apps designed for making music (especially singing) actually build the next amateur talent search? Will the next Justin Bieber be discovered not on YouTube, but in a Smule karaoke app? Stranger things have been known to happen.