Three college students have created ‘Instagram for music’
The last several years have seen no shortage in content-specific social networking apps. In terms of the type of content being shared within these apps, the medium for photography has seen the most success, with applications like Instagram and Snapchat becoming household names. Amidst this technological influx, we have seen music streaming apps like Spotify and SoundCloud achieve worldwide adoption, but the transition of music into the social media realm as an autonomous entity has thus far been left by the wayside. While most streaming applications allow users to follow their friends and send or repost playlists, They lack the communicative element of a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Three undergraduate students at Tufts University may have created the solution to properly integrate music into the social sphere. Gabriel Jacobs, Amadou Crookes, and Mario Gomez-Hall launched “Cymbal” in May. At press time, the app has been downloaded “at least 17,000 times,” according to Forbes. Cymbal’s founders describe their platform as “music discovery powered by friends, not algorithms.” Forbes writer Denali Tietjan elaborates upon this notion by breaking down the foundation of the app:
“Think of Cymbal as an Instagram for music. The app adopts a simple interface embracing a “less is more” vibe, allowing users to post just one song, illustrated by colorful album art. Like Instagram, Cymbal involves a home feed, personal profile, followers, likes, comments, hashtags and tags. Your Cymbal is your song of the moment–that throwback you’d jam to in your basement in high school, that song your friend’s band just released on SoundCloud. Your home feed, then, becomes an updated playlist curated by your friends, your profile: the soundtrack to your life.”
What makes Cymbal so powerful is the sense of agency that its platform provides the user in regards to his or her “song of the moment.” Whether conscious or sub-conscious, a major factor that drives users to share content via social media is the inherent sense of discovery and ownership over what they’ve chosen to share. Cymbal inextricably links users’ identities with the music they’re passionate about in a way that hasn’t yet been successfully applied.
Tietjan goes on to say, “Even if Cymbal fails to gain Instagram-like success, its 15 minutes of fame will produce long-term dividends for Tufts, which now counts computer science as its most popular major.” Past Cymbal’s unconditional dividends to Tufts, the app’s “15 minutes of fame” spearheads progress in regards to the relationship between music and social media. Regardless of the app’s level of success, the context in which Jacobs, Crookes, and Gomez-Hall have placed music sharing demonstrates that music can be converted into cultural currency in social media in a manner analogous to photography. It’s only a matter of time before Cymbal – or a similar platform – will catalyze music to be as successful in this context as photography has been.