I’m starting to feel like there’s a social app based on each one of the five senses. Today, Broadcastr released a new app that creates a social media platform for location-based audio. The free app hit the Apple store today just in time for SXSWi.
The app allows users to automatically create or stream stories about their surroundings in real-time then tag its location and share it on Facebook, Twitter and email. I can’t wait for the social sharing app so I can finally start smelling what other people are smelling and then share it over Facebook and Twitter. Smellr? All “there’s an app for everything” cynicism aside, the idea of invisibly tagging the world around us with audio files is a very, very cool concept.
“The Broadcastr mobile app lets people tune into an invisible layer of information, history, and narrative, while leaving their eyes and hands free to interact with their environment,” says co-founder and CEO Andy Hunter.
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To record an audio file, you have to register. Then it’s easy. Hit record, talk into the microphone and hit save. Title it, metatag, add categories and pin it by location; for a guaranteed LOL scroll through the entire category list. Broadcastr stores your stuff including recorded broadcasts, listening history and favorites. To literally filter through the noise, the mobile app provides ratings for stories that were uploaded nearby. It also provides a “Featured” list of top ranked apps from publishers like Fodors, various well-known comedians and story-telling types like Stephen Aubrey, Andrew Jenks and Ethan Zohn. Aesthetically, the app rocks. Users can also access the digital audio archive on the web.
Who might use it? Techy raconteurs, restaurant critics with sexy voices, zealous walking tour guides and citizen journalists. The only user caveat I can think of is that listening to other people’s voices could get annoying. Not everyone has a born-to-be-a-radio-star quality voice like our very own Brad McCarty.
It’s similar to the awkwardly named Shoudio app, a location-based app for audio recordings that lets users record what they hear, or record their own message. Shoudio will then send it to Twitter, Facebook or an iTunes podcast feed.
Co-founders Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum’s first joint venture was a company that brought literary multimedia content to the iPhone (and all digital platforms). They’ve always been interested in larger ways to bring stories to the digital space.
“We looked around and saw that audio was underserved, and saw a massive opportunity to bring the oldest form of communication, storytelling, into the digital space.” – Scott Lindenbaum
The actual a-ha moment was when Andy Hunter was walking through the Lower East Side and saw someone taping a poster to a street pole advertising guitar lessons or something similar. He thought, you should be able to put your message up anywhere in the world in the same way.
Since its launch at the end of last month, Broadcastr has had 30,000 users checking out content on the site and has 2,000 registered users uploading content. The site is already loaded with over 6,000 great stories from users as well as from their partners including Foundation Rwanda, UNICEF and Audible.com. Recently, Broadcastr partnered with The National September 11 Memorial and Museum to collect stories from witnesses, first responders and others affected by the terrorist attacks on its platform.
Like many new media companies, their first priority is to build a user base and improve the
platform. Eventually, the business model will have three main elements:
1. Audio advertising, both for local businesses who want to target a location, and national brands who want to use Broadcastr as a platform.
2. Premium content for sale in the app, such as a Fodor’s audio guide to NYC, or a user’s “ghost tour” of New Orleans. Anyone will be able to create and sell premium content.
3. A promotions category where businesses can offer time-based deals, ala Groupon. Users can easily center the map on a neighborhood, select the promotions category, and see all the deals near them. Or, a user walking down Canal St. in Manhattan could hear about deals the shops are offering as they walk past (kinda like the scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise walks into The GAP.)
Broadcastr doesn’t plan on having any ads on the service until 2012 but they will introduce promotions later this year.
This could be a very cool app, and it certainly hints of a future of multiple techno-dimensions (can I coin that?) At its free price tag, it’s definitely worth trying out. Download it here from the app store.