If you add audio to a photo-sharing app, it's still a photo-sharing app
The advent of the mobile era has unlocked a wave of storytelling innovation, with some of the most effective of these stories being told through images. We have already seen businesses built around new forms, Vine, Instagram, and Frontback among the most successful. But is there room for more?
It’s quite possible we haven’t yet seen the production tools on our phones – cameras, microphones, simple editing software – exploited to their full potential. A Boston-based startup called Shuttersong is hoping there’s room for another approach. And yes, it’s another photo-sharing app.
Shuttersong has just launched an iPhone app (Android coming soon) that allows you to share photos with 15-second audio attachments. You open the app, snap a pic, and then add a comment or recorded song snippet to the image. That’s then available for sharing with your social networks. Shuttersong’s audio-enhanced images are transmitted as jpgs rather than video files. (See example below.)
Founder and CEO William Agush, a Boston tech veteran, got the idea for Shuttersong after rediscovering an old plastic photo frame that had a mini speaker attached. It carried a photo of his son from 15 years ago, with a recorded message of the kid saying, “I miss you, Dad.” He used to carry it with him while traveling.
Agush’s idea is that Shuttersong will open a world of possibilities for disseminating photos and audio together, such as sharing sound snippets from sporting events, greetings from grandchildren, or a self-indulgent message to accompany a self-indulgent selfie. He has raised $800,000 in seed money for the startup and is in the process of raising a Series A.
The problem is, lots of people have had this idea. You’ll find it in Voicepic, PixKix, Speaking Photo, and PhotoBlab, to name a few, none of which have taken off. That doesn’t mean that Shuttersong is dead on arrival – successes in social media are often based on a combination of fortuitous timing and a bit of luck involving network effects. But it suggests there is either a problem with the format or just a lack of demand for the service. It might also be that people just have photo-sharing fatigue.
By asking people to open yet another app to share their digital inania, Shuttersong is asking too much of consumers. We don’t suffer from a lack of media-sharing options – we’ve got Instagram for photos and videos, Vine, Twitter, Facebook, and various messengers with various features. Instead, we suffer from media-sharing overload.
If we feel compelled to share a combination of image and audio, Vine and Instagram Video provide quicker, smarter options. Shuttersong feels like it should be a feature in one of those services, not a standalone product that demands more real estate on our screen and in our brains.
The world has enough photo-sharing apps. This just adds to the clutter.
Image via recombiner