soundwaveWe’ve seen almost as much pre-release buzz building around music discovery app Soundwave as we did earlier in the year for Twitter #Music.

That’s partly because the Irish startup has been doing a good job seeding its app with industry influencers, who are all buzzing about it, and partly because it’s seemingly getting strong support even from Apple.

The free app is launching on iPhone and Android, and pulls in data on what each user is listening to on their handset, as well as on streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora.

People follow friends and celebrities to see what tracks they’re playing, with YouTube and SoundCloud providing playable versions of those songs, and iTunes (on iPhone) a way to buy them. There’s also a location-based feature to draw a circle on a map to see what people are playing within that area.

It’s very slick, and already has Stephen Fry and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak endorsing it. US entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban was also on the pre-launch beta, although Soundwave isn’t saying whether he’s backing the company financially.

We tend to be sceptical about the chances of music discovery apps – even Twitter #Music hasn’t been setting the world alight – but Soundwave is definitely worth a look, including for music marketers thinking about ways their artists could get involved.

soundwave-locoThe business model starts with affiliate fees on song purchases, but in the longer term it will be more about charging for access to its analytics on what users are playing.

The app is live now for iPhone and for Android: note the simultaneous launch on both, which is still rare for this category of apps, but sensible given the word-of-mouth boost from being on both platforms, if music fans start recommending it to one another.