SoundTracking iPhone app adds new social layer to Apple iTunes Store

By on March 21, 2011

We are witnessing an explosion of diversity in the surging apps economy. There are myriad of social apps to stream life experiences, be it beautiful photos (i.e. Instagram), food (i.e. Foodspotting), thought nuggets (i.e. Twitter), so on and so forth. The newly released Soundtracking app by SchematicLabs allows you to soundtrack your life moments and share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. It’s the right-here-right-now experiences, expressed and encapsulated in soundtracks.

The iPhone app is elegant in its simplicity and most importantly, it works! Search by Artist and the app will retrieve song titles by that artist. You can also auto-ID song. Let the app listens to a song and in less than 15 seconds, it will automagically display the song title / artist of the song. The application uses audio waveform fingerprint technology developed by Gracenote.

You can see soundtracks shared by your friends. You can Like, Love and/or comment on any SoundTrack. You can see trending soundtracks, based on total Likes. There is a web version of SoundTracking. On the website, users can see own soundtracks, trending soundtracks, like/love/comment soundtracks, and accounts settings. However, users cannot create soundtracks on the web.

[left] Where users create soundtracks on SoundTracking app.
[right] Insert pictures to soundtracks – take a new photo, choose a photo from your photo library or choose an artist image from thumbnails collection.

SoundTracking seems to be a better social music discovery tool for iTunes than Apple Ping (although the app lacks the razzmatazz of Ping). Each soundtrack comes with a song snippet and “Download on iTunes” link. Via soundtracks-by-friends stream, users can discover new songs. The recommendation element can be a powerful force to drive impulse buy on iTunes.

[left] Using Gracenote’s audio identification technology to identify songs.
[right] SoundTrack post with song snippet and link to iTunes.

By the grace of Gracenote

Based on a patent filing, the Gracenote’s audio identification technology can be described as follow:

Copies of original sound recordings are identified by extracting features from the copy, creating a vector of those features, and comparing that vector against a database of vectors. Identification can be performed for copies of sound recordings that have been subjected to compression and other manipulation such that they are not exact replicas of the original. Computational efficiency permits many hundreds of queries to be serviced at the same time. The vectors may be less than 100 bytes, so that many millions of vectors can be stored on a portable device.

If one finds soundtracking rather frivolous, the SoundTracking app can at least act as music identification tool. There are numerous occassions when you hear some songs but don’t know who’s the singers or song title. In such situations, SoundTracking is god-send. Shazam, another app you can use to identify songs, but it limits you to 5 songs (free) per month.

The SoundTracking app offers an interesting flavor of social music experience. And soundtracking may well be another concocted verb in the age of social web.






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