Y Combinator-backed Music Service bop.fm Launches

Free web application lets anyone play any song and share with any friend — on any music service — using a simple, universal link. bop.fm also powers music playback for any website that wants to embed streaming audio; serves as the default music player sitewide on Rap Genius. Despite being in private beta until today, company has been powering more than 100,000 song plays per day, across bop.fm and partner sites.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 07, 2013

Y Combinator Summer 2013 startup bop.fm launches today as a new music service that aims to re-design the way we play and share music. The free web application allows users to play any song and share it with any friend — on any music service — using a simple, universal link.

bop.fm’s vision is to be the default destination and one-stop-shop for playing and sharing all music. The company aggregates the most popular music sources (Spotify, Rdio, YouTube, SoundCloud, iTunes, etc.) and allows users to legally play an unlimited number of songs from whichever service they prefer, with access to the largest catalog on the internet. This approach gives bop.fm users the ability to provide universal, simple song sharing, since a song is identified once and automatically mapped to each service. With bop.fm, anyone can stream, watch, or buy any song, regardless of country, device or music service.

Key bop.fm highlights:

  • Free web application lets anyone play any song and share with any friend — on any music service — using a simple, universal link
  • bop.fm also powers music playback for any website that wants to embed streaming audio; serves as the default music player sitewide on Rap Genius
  • Despite being in private beta until today, company has been powering more than 100,000 song plays per day, across bop.fm and partner sites

The company was founded by Shehzad Daredia and Stefan Gomez in response to the frustration they felt when trying to share music with each other when Shehzad was on Spotify and Stefan used Rdio.

“When someone sent me a Spotify link to a song, I couldn’t listen to a single second without being forced to sign up and download software,” said Stefan Gomez, CTO of bop.fm. “If I want to share a picture with someone, I don’t have to make sure they use the same photo-viewer, so why should it be different with music?”

Now, when a user clicks a bop.fm link to a song, they can easily play it using the music service of their choice. If she is an Rdio user, for example, bop.fm will automatically detect that and play the song seamlessly through her existing Rdio account. If the song isn't available on her music service or she doesn't subscribe to one, bop.fm seamlessly falls back to playing the track via YouTube or SoundCloud, depending on availability.

Shehzad Daredia, CEO of bop.fm, notes that the genesis of the company was also driven by his frustration with the fragmentation that existed across digital music services and the need to constantly switch between several apps to play all of his music.

“I used Spotify day-to-day but had to switch to iTunes to play The Beatles or Led Zeppelin since they’re not on Spotify. I could discover new music on Pandora, but couldn’t share it or add it to a playlist there. Brand new tracks are released on YouTube before they make it to any other music service. Indie music and unique remixes are often nowhere to be found aside from SoundCloud. Keeping track of it all was a mess that users shouldn't have to deal with.”

In response, bop.fm allows users to create playlists that are decoupled from the underlying music services and will intelligently mediate between them when moving from one song to the next. Hence, users are not limited by what is available in Spotify’s catalog, for example.

Many popular artists have been reluctant to join on-demand streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio. Total or partial holdouts have included noteworthy artists such as Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Adele, Coldplay, The Beatles, The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin, Rihanna, AC/DC, Radiohead and Thom Yorke. In addition, emerging and unsigned artists often lack the financial resources required to get their music into a streaming service’s catalog.

The problem is getting worse as many artists are “windowing” their new releases, similar to how the film industry carefully times their distribution to Netflix, DVD and video-on-demand. That means that new tracks/albums will first appear on YouTube or SoundCloud for promotional purposes, then to iTunes to harvest download revenue, before finally appearing in Spotify and/or Rdio several weeks later, if at all. For example, Rihanna’s hit song “Stay” from the album “Unapologetic” spent several weeks near the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and yet it didn't enter Spotify’s U.S. catalog until months after its release. In response, bop.fm consolidates the streaming, watching and purchasing of music across services, thus maximizing monetization as well as distribution for artists while streamlining access for consumers.

Moreover, music services have recently exploded in number. Notable services launched or relaunched in the U.S. this year include Google Play Music All Access, iTunes Radio, Xbox Music, Myspace, and Slacker Radio, joining established players such as iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Muve Music, Google Play, and Amazon Cloud Player. Several new services are rumored to be launched in the U.S. in the next year, such as YouTube Music Pass, “Project Daisy” by Beats Electronics, Playlist.com, Deezer and a streaming service by Amazon.

Given this industry fragmentation, not only has it become harder for users to share music with friends that use different services, but also music services are facing heavy competition in the acquisition of new subscribers. bop.fm helps these music services acquire new users by providing them with another distribution channel through which they can promote their offerings. The company plans to help users make sense of the various music options so they can best choose based on breadth of catalog, overlap between catalog and user’s musical taste, audio quality, pricing tiers, and other factors. When a user subscribes to a new music service or purchases a digital track or album, bop.fm may receive affiliate revenue for referring the transaction. Meanwhile, users can continue to use bop.fm as their preferred music client to take advantage of the comprehensiveness and interoperability it provides.

Websites also struggle with the fragmented nature of digital music. Adding audio playback to music-related content on the web is cumbersome: YouTube and SoundCloud embeds can go down without warning and be restricted for several countries and/or devices; Spotify/Rdio embeds only work for the small fraction of the population that subscribes to them; and hosting the audio in-house requires expensive licensing agreements.

bop.fm solves this problem for websites by providing an embeddable “Metaplayer” widget that aggregates multiple licensed music sources and intelligently matches the correct song for each of them. When a user lands on a webpage with the bop.fm Metaplayer embedded, she is guaranteed to be able to play the song using a service that is accessible to her.

bop.fm announces today that its Metaplayer powers music playback sitewide on popular lyric site Rap Genius, a top-100 website that reaches more 25 million people per month (source: Quantcast), and bop.fm’s Metaplayer is embedded on every lyric page. This allows each user to easily play the song whose lyrics she is currently viewing, regardless of her country, device or music service. More such partners will be announced in the near future.

Play any song. Use any music service. Share with any friend. Check it out at http://www.bop.fm.

About bop.fm
bop.fm is a music technology company that creates a home for every song on the internet. The company aggregates several popular music services (Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) into one app. Users can then search for any song, play it using any service, and share/discover with any friend (even if they use a different service than you). bop.fm powers this same aggregation and service-agnostic music playback for music content publishers, messaging clients, social networks, and other partners.

bop.fm was founded in 2013 by Shehzad Daredia and Stefan Gomez, who have collectively worked on 11 different search engine verticals as early employees at KAYAK.com, BillShrink, and Foodily -- music is now their 12th vertical. The company is a graduate of the Summer 2013 class of prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator.


Contact