Featured Startup Pitch: Y Combinator-backed bop.fm is building a ‘Kayak for music’ that allows sharing across streaming music services
Elevator Pitch: bop.fm is a digital music startup revolutionizing the way we discover, experience and share music online. We can also be considered the intelligent permalink for songs.
bop.fm has been called the “Switzerland of online music” because of how it solves a fundamental problem in the digital music world today: Fragmentation.
Music services such as Spotify let users share playlists, however these links won’t work if friends subscribe to different services, or if they live in countries where a service is not online yet. As an example, Beats Music is only available in the United States. bop.fm has found the solution to this by allowing users to share links to songs and playlists with users of other services, and to match songs from different services within the same playlist.
Our company, which some have called the “Kayak for music,” lets users listen to and share any track with any friend, on any service, via a universal bop.fm link. In terms of the user experience, all of this is more or less hidden, and the experience is seamless. In the end, our goal is to make bop.fm the default destination for digital music.
My partner Stefan and I founded bop.fm because for the last decade or so, the way people access music has gone through dramatic and rapid changes. If you look at user activity now, there is incredible diversity in the public’s interaction with music. Some of the services are paid, some are ad-funded, some are free with limited content. What you have are a number of niche services with different advantages and shortcomings, and then a few larger services that take larger, but still incomplete, sections of the market.
For all the abundance of options, my partner and I could never find a unified experience for music. Some links will work for some users but not for others, some people pay to join services but can’t share their interests and tastes with friends who haven’t—it’s all very fragmented. We created bop.fm to sit on top of all the various ways people access music and streamline the process, fostering cohesion in the experience.
bop.fm has many approaches to its marketing strategy. One of the most effective has been its partnerships. bop.fm’s technology powers music playback for many different partners, including lyric sites, entertainment publications, social networks, artist and label websites, etc.
One noteworthy partner is Rap Genius, a top 100 website with over 25 million monthly unique visitors. Through partnerships such as these, we’ve been able to grow tremendously in a short period of time, having done over 35 million song plays since inception.
Streaming music services are growing far faster than the rest of the market; in fact, streaming services have grown to account for 20 percent of the $5.8 billion of digital revenues earned by the music industry in 2012.
How We Differentiate From the Competition
bop.fm uses an intelligent, automated search process to find the best source on a song-to-song basis. It also enables users to send links to songs and playlists to friends not on the platform.
Longer term, bop.fm plans to monetize via its data. Not only do we know what music is popular and trending in the aggregate, but we also know what people like down at the individual level and can market relevant opportunities to them accordingly.
We are hiring web and mobile developers to join our team.
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Headquarters: San Francisco
Investors: Y Combinator
Incubator/Accelerator: Y Combinator
Year Founded: 2013