With the announcement of Spotify’s acquisition of Soundwave and Cord Project yesterday, it has become clearer that the music streamer is not only trying to change how we listen to music, but the way we interact with audio.
Both Soundwave and Cord Project were small start-ups with big potential. The former is a social network for music lovers, “a digital watercooler” of sorts according to Soundwaves’ CEO Brendon O’Driscoll. The tool allows users to find, share, and discuss music through desktop, android and iOS apps, and is localized to 14 languages. The latter is a little different, as its functions are not necessarily geared toward music. The New York City-based Cord Project is an audio-first messaging app for Android, iOS, and the Apple Watch. A tap-and-talk voice messaging system is at its core.
Soundwave’s new partnership with Spotify makes a lot of sense. It’s an expansion of the music platforms capabilities. But Spotify already has a built-in messaging system and according to a statement from the company, it has no plans to move into the voice messaging industry. So what exactly does the acquisition mean?
Although Spotify has been pretty hush about what the new partnership entails, the answer seemingly lies in the technology and people Spotify is bringing on board. In a statement, Spotify’s VP of Product Shiva Rajarman stated, “Spotify is laser focused on delivering innovative and engaging music discovery experiences to delight our millions of users. The acquisitions of both Cord Project and Soundwave give us the opportunity to bring two extremely talented and like-minded teams into the Spotify family.”
Cord Project and Soundwave are enhancers. While Soundwave can tackle expanding a user’s social experience on the Spotify platform, Cord Project’s technology (which includes the apps Ccchirp and Shhout) will focus on generating compelling ways to produce audio.
The Cord Project crew will use the endless trove of data collected by Spotify partner The Echo’s Nest to develop an an entirely new auditory experience. “The accelerometer, the geo-localization, all the social network data I have provided, is available for Spotify to create a compelling music experience,” Thomas Gayno, Cord Project’s CEO and co-founder, told Wired.
Cord will leverage the technology we are already using on our Macbook’s and iPhones to make Spotify more than a background app for its 75 million users. Now as you listen to audio—which could be a song or in the near future even a podcast—you can talk to someone across the world who is listening to it at the exact same time. Once harnessed, Spotify can monetize on these features whether making them only accessible through a pay wall or using them to boost their existing ad program.
Both Soundwave and Cord Project will be closing their doors to the public as we currently know them, but their technology will be working to enhance our music listening experience from here on out.