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Spotify buys two social startups: Soundwave and Cord Project


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Spotify is on the acquisition train once again, snapping up two social-app companies: Irish startup Soundwave and New York firm Cord Project.

Soundwave launched its Android and iOS app in June 2013 as a way for people to see a feed of the songs their friends (and famous tastemakers) were listening to on their smartphones – from local files to streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora. The app has since been downloaded 1.5m times.

Cord Project hasn’t been on the music industry’s radar as much: its Android and iOS app Cord launched in August 2014 as a way to send short voice messages to friends or groups – a mobile hybrid of walkie-talkies and chatrooms. It claims more than one million users, and was co-founded by a pair of former Googlers.

The deals – for undisclosed amounts – appear to be about the talent rather than the specific apps. Spotify said that “both teams will join Spotify’s product development organisation”, but has not confirmed whether their existing apps will shut down.

Soundwave and Cord

The Soundwave and Cord apps are both available for Android and iOS.

“We are evaluating next steps but have nothing to announce right now,” a Spotify spokesperson told Music Ally.

Cord Project will remain in New York, tasked with building “a new product group that will focus on creating compelling content experiences”, while Soundwave’s team will relocate from Dublin to either San Francisco or Stockholm to “help Spotify to enhance the overall consumer experience on Spotify”.

Nicely vague, then. As much as we’d like to leap off the speculation diving board into the wild rumours pool and suggest that the Cord Project acquisition means Spotify is ready to get even more serious about messaging within its service, we’ll have to wait and see what the new product group comes up with.

“We are excited about the talent the Cord team brings to Spotify especially as it relates to design and audio experiences. This acquisition is not specifically about voice messaging and there are no plans to enter that space,” said the spokesperson.

The two startups are staying suitably mum about their plans in their statements released alongside the announcements.

“We founded Cord Project because we saw a huge opportunity for innovation in the audio space. At Spotify, we’re looking forward to continuing that exploration to build even better ways to discover and listen to music across connected devices,” said Cord Project CEO Thomas Gayno.

“The music industry is changing, and it’s changing fast. We think now is the perfect time for Soundwave to join forces with Spotify, the number one music streaming service in the world and the perfect home for us to continue our mission,” wrote Soundwave’s founders in their own statement.

Cord Project and Soundwave join curation startup Tunigo; music data firm The Echo Nest and analytics firm Seed Scientific in Spotify’s growing list of acquisitions.

• What if Spotify followed Facebook by unbundling the big green app?

 

Stuart Dredge

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