Fast Company

Gregory Lowe and SongBooth Harbor Creativity With 30-Second Video Karaoke

The music business has been on edge since Napster. But in 2012, global revenue spiked for the first time in 13 years. These industry innovators see a rockin' future.

Gregory Lowe

Founder, SongBooth
Lowe's karaoke-inspired app lets users download a backing track through iTunes, record a short music video with their phone's camera, and share the clip with friends. The app hit 240,000 downloads in its first month.

The Star Maker: How To Make An App Sing

STEP 1. TAP THE CREATIVITY OF USERS
"Traditional music-streaming apps help the masses access music in different ways, but they don't harbor creativity. We're putting the means of production into our customers' hands."

STEP 2. INCENTIVIZE WITH REWARDS
"Pepsi is sponsoring our contest, Project SongBooth, which is like American Idol but worldwide. The annual contest will keep our app fresh as years go by. If you're able to re-create excitement, you create reasons to come back."

STEP 3. APPEAL TO DIFFERENT INTERESTS
"I've learned that it takes more than a one-sided experience for an app to become huge. For SongBooth, some people want to create and some people want to watch."

STEP 4. FAVOR QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
"It would've been cheaper for us to use basic karaoke backing tracks, the beep-beep-bop-bop versions. But we wanted authentic instrumentals. We got around a few of the licensing and downloading restrictions by giving bite-size files; the instrumentals are only 30 seconds. When you're dealing with video, you have to figure out what length is perfect for server costs. Plus, the 30 seconds gives you enough time to showcase your voice, but the performance doesn't get redundant."

[Photo by Jonathan Snyder; shot on location at Dubway Studios, New York]

Fast Talk: Sonic Boom

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Michelle You, Songkick
Evan Lowenstein, StageIt
Smart Talk: Vevo and Soundcloud

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