The story begins with a soundtrack, Changes by David Bowie. For those who aren’t familiar with this rock n’ roll classic, click here to listen.
David Bowie is an amazing artist who over the course of five decades has reinvented himself and his music as the demands and tastes of audiences have changed. From his name (originally David Robert Jones), to his style, to his music, Bowie has done an amazing job at continuously evolving to be a preeminent artist connecting to multiple generations of fans.
Like the music business, the music technology space has seen dramatic changes since the days of analog music. Now well into the digital music era, the exciting music technology landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It is driven by the desire for personalized, content-rich, cloud-connected experiences that are increasingly more mobile-centric.
As we’ve seen historically during periods of extreme change, survivors are those that evolve; and those that do not evolve face becoming irrelevant artifacts from a time gone by. Similar to Bowie’s own trajectory, today our company known as Songbird is at a crossroads with paths toward either successful evolution or a fading memory.
For historical context, Songbird was founded in 2006 as a for-profit company with a vision to “play the web” through open source media playback and management software made available for desktop operating systems. Back then there was a real problem helping consumers manage and enjoy music from disparate sources while also getting that content to a broad set of devices (back then, the iPhone/iPod Touch wasn’t even out).
The Songbird desktop product was unique in that it also provided a platform for developers who could enhance the product through the development of extensions called “add-ons”. Since 2006, over 10 million consumers have downloaded the software and hundreds of developers have created thousands of add-ons to further enhance the consumer experience. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank those consumers and developers for your support and dedication to the product over the years.
However, today this aspect of the business does not attract users like it used to. Consumers are quickly moving to a world where most of their media is on a mobile device or in the Cloud and not in a central library on a desktop computer. Hundreds of streaming services like Rdio, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Pandora are exponentially growing in usage for streaming radio or on-demand music playback. For many consumers, however, music discovery happens when friends share artist videos through social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
We’ve spent the past year looking at the market and chatting with hundreds of folks- from consumers to artists to labels to technology providers- so that we could better understand their problems relating to digital music. It is abundantly clear that for everyone, the market fragmentation of music services and information services about artists is causing significant confusion and churn in the marketplace. Artists are spending their time trying to manage a multitude of social channels where their content is getting lost in the noise instead of doing what they love most: creating music and entertaining fans. Fans who want to find out more about the artists they love and connect with others who have similar music interests, are bouncing across multiple applications and sites just to get at the most desired information and people. With all the technology out there, fans and artists are more disconnected from each other than ever before.
With these clear industry problems in mind, Songbird’s primary mission is to help connect fans and artists everywhere around their music interests.
The evolution of this new mission begins with our new experience for users called Songbird.me. Songbird.me is available as a web application, as a feature of our Songbird Classic desktop application and Android applications, and will soon be available for iOS. We know we are on to something as in these few short months since we released Songbird.me, we have established over 1 million connections between artists and fans! Over the next few months, you’ll see even more exciting features rolling out to help fans and artists connect unlike ever before.
To our supporters both new and old, thank you! We appreciate your ongoing support and rest assured, our team will continue to build products that you will love so that you can have the best music experiences possible!
All the best,