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.
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]
A version of this article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.