Rithm was one of the early music messaging apps when it launched in 2013, acclaimed by TechCrunch as “Snapchat for music”. The app quickly reached four million users, and struck licensing deals with the major labels as well as Merlin and The Orchard. However, Rithm has been quietly redefining its business over the last year, with those licenses as a component of its transformation from a standalone app to a service provider supporting several ways music and messaging can merge. “We had some scale and momentum and a safer position to operate in thanks to the licenses, but our next observation was that it was going to be tough to build massive audience as a standalone app,” CEO Gene Mauro told Music Ally this week, blaming competition from messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger on one side, and streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music on the other. Rithm’s new strategy sees both those camps as potential customers: providing music for messaging apps that don’t have it, and better messaging and social features for streaming services that need work. Rithm is also working on music chatbots, having reached 1m users with its own bot on the Kik messaging app. Read our full interview with Mauro to find out more: you’ll need your Music Ally login.