SoundHound: A Music App That Could Change Mobile Search

Dana Oshiro of writes a wonderful article about SoundHound Music Mobile Search Service.

Larry Marcus is one investor with the ability to turn good core technology into consumer success. Five years ago he helped change the mathematical algorithm of the Music Genome Project into music sensation Pandora. Today, Marcus' work with Melodis' Sound2Sound Search Science is already celebrating market success with music identifying application SoundHound. ReadWriteWeb caught up with Marcus to hear about his latest project.

At first glance, Melodis' SoundHound is a Shazam Encore competitor with faster search functionality. Both services are among the top paid iPhone applications, both cost $5 dollars and both allow users to find songs, scan lyrics and read artist bios. Nevertheless, in addition to allowing users to identify songs from ambient background music, sung lyrics, spoken word and text-based search, SoundHound also lets you listen to music through your own iTunes library or Pandora account. With SoundHound you can capture FM radio, identify a song and create a Pandora internet radio station within seconds. And while each of these features are impressive, what we're really excited about is SoundHound's plans for the future. continue reading here...

Pandora wins Mashable OpenWeb Award

Congratulations to Pandora. Article on Mashable and other winners here

Pandora on NBC TV

NBC clip featuring an in depth interview with Pandora Founder Tim Westergren. Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch and Laura Sydell of National Public Radio join NBC's Scott McGrew.
Tim highlights the ad model including targeting by zip, device, genre and demographic. Additional discussion of difference between on demand music service (play what you want now, like spotify or rhapsody), and Pandora that focuses on listening -- the power of the service is playing you music you love versus having to dig for a next song for yourself.

link to video in two parts

Walden iPhone Exposure: #1 apps in both free and paid music category

Pandora #1 free music app

Midomi #1 paid music app

And they happen to be highly complimentary. Pandora to easily consume music you love with it's one click radio format; Midomi to easily search for samples and info on specific songs/artists you know OR identify music you are hearing.

Very different models and visions of the future, but both are making consumers really happy and powered by some incredible technology and entrepreneurs. iPhund?

iPhone Effect

The iPhone is blazing a trail in next generation mobile. It’s that unique combination of ease of use, an ecosystem to empower and benefit 3rd parties, great functionality and clear marketing. The consumer reaction to the iPhone reminds me of the internet in 1997 when “always on, high speed” internet was getting adopted. Usage was and commerce were 3x’ing because the experience “didn’t suck”. It didn’t take an advanced degree to see what broadband’s ultimate penetration would look like. The iPhone and the app store are foretelling the mass market future of mobile. iPhone adoption is exploding at a massive and unprecedented rate of 10s of millions per year in spite of the global economic meltdown. Apple has slightly over a 1% share of the global market at the end of ‘08 (iPhone installed base at 13.7 mm units), Nokia (38% share), Motorola (8% share), RIM , HTC, Samsung, Palm and others are aggressively pursuing this market. Note that RIM’s Blackberry maintains market share leadership over the iPhone under most definitions of the smart phone market; however, from a mobile Internet or app usage perspective Apple is way ahead. On a recent trip to Greenwich, CT I learned that the teens there are gravitating to Blackberry’s BBM (a private messaging product for those on the Blackberry network) and keyboard.

Some more stats:
- Time to sell 1st million iPhones: 11 weeks
- Run rate: 5.2mm iPhones in Q2 09, up 6x over Q2 08
- Total iPhones sold: 22mm through Q209 (10mm+ more if include iPhone touch).
- Total apps downloaded: more than 1.5 billion in first year (app store recently turned 1).
- Run rate for app sales: $1mm per day according to Steve Jobs in this WSJ article
- Consumer intent to purchase a smartphone with data plan as next phone: 41% report from Yankee group here showing overwhelming majority of intent is for RIM and Apple)

These iPhone type devices are not just phones, but mobile, connected computers, and possessing a myriad of exciting functionality including GPS, accelerometer, sensitive microphones for sound/voice input, touch screens, Wi-Fi, local storage, easy connection to cars and stereos. The iPhone has become a legitimate game and entertainment platform benefitting Electronic Arts, Glu Mobile, Game Loft, Digital Chocolate, Tapulous (Tap Tap Revenge is amazing), among many.

So what is the iPhone Effect?
- Consumers can easily find and install 3rd party apps through the coherent app store. Seems like it would have been simple already, but this is the first time it's just easy. Early attempts to replicate it have been very problematic. Just ask Nokia about the challenges of their Ovi Store.
- Publishers can bring their wares to market without carrier negotiations (talk about a company killer - dozens of companies have died at the doorstep of carriers waiting for that big deal to close). Getting out of that sales loop is a big deal. Apple takes a 30% cut.
- Carriers get to sell data plans, watch data usage soar and unwind dreams of controlling a mythical walled garden.

This is truly a golden age for mobile innovation. Welcome to one of the great mega-trends for the next major venture cycle.

SoundHound Ad (still midomi branded) highlights speed of identifying that song now

In a world where you have only have seconds left to identify a song... Midomi Music Identifier and Search. Buy it in the iTunes app store now if you have an iPhone. Ad was done entirely in house right down to voice talent, video and audio. Not at all surprised to learn that Aaron is a hobbyist boxing announcer.

Thanks to Corinne Marcus for the music

Pandora #2 on Blackberry

Pandora #2 Blackberry app excl RIMs own Blackberry app store download.

Going Mac Mini in Entertainment System

Going Mac Mini in Entertainment System. Primary catalyst? Netflix streaming. The library of movies and TV shows (more important to me) on demand is improving. I Secondary catalyst? New Mac Mini is quite the green machine. Apple's claim is only 13 watts per hour on idle and that the "Mac mini the most energy-efficient desktop computer in the world." For a solar home owning, Prius driving guy like me, that really matters. Had been waiting for blu-ray drive but that's not looking like it's coming any time soon and I got tired of waiting. Recos for external blu-ray for a Mac? Would have gone PS3 given it's Blu-Ray drive but it can't easily stream Netflix without an awkward Windows server attached. Using a USB audio dongle to get digital audio out.

Venturebeat Coverage - Midomi #1 Paid Music App + Walden Led Financing

Matt Marshall of Venturebeat covers Midomi's recent ascent to #1 and comments on our involvement. Includes a video comparing the speed of the music identification to Shazam, showing Midomi's speed.


Midomi lets you identify and search for music, hits No. 1 iPhone paid music app

August 3, 2009 | Matt Marshall

Midomi, a mobile application that lets you identify songs by singing into the phone, today became the No. 1 paid music application on the iPhone.

Tomorrow, the company will also announce it has raised $4 million in fresh venture capital funding, led by Walden Venture Capital’s Larry Marcus.

The application boasts several million downloads (the company isn’t specifying exactly how many). It launched the $4.99 application three months ago, and the company.... see full article here

Melodis Announces Walden Investment

We've been working with the company for a number of months, from before the Midomi app was upgraded and made paid, but the round has now formally closed.


Melodis, Sound Search Technology and Applications Innovator, Raises $4M Led by Walden Venture Capital and a Strategic Investor.

Larry Marcus from Walden Venture Capital joins the Melodis Board of Directors

SAN JOSE, California –August 4, 2009 – Pioneering sound search technology and applications innovator MELODIS Corporation, announced that they have raised $4M additional funding in a round led by Walden Venture Capital VII, with participation from a major global device manufacturer. Larry Marcus from Walden Venture Capital has joined the Melodis Board of Directors.

MELODIS’ mission is to make sound and speech the preferred means to search and navigate information on mobile or IP connected devices. “Melodis has established itself as a leading branded mobile application publisher with Midomi Ultra Music Identifier and Search and Melodis Voice Dialer on the iPhone and other devices. Additionally, we have a growing list of licensing relationships with marquis device manufacturers and carriers globally,” said Keyvan Mohajer, Chief Executive Officer of MELODIS Corporation. “We are thrilled to add Walden Venture Capital as a partner and bring Larry Marcus’ deep experience in consumer services and digital media to our team.”

“Melodis Sound2Sound Search Science is a breakthrough technology with a mass market future in empowering applications,” said Larry Marcus. “The unique methodology of Sound2Sound provides breakthroughs in speed and accuracy that can be leveraged across a plethora of applications that would benefit from sound or voice as the starting point for search. The Company’s flagship application, Midomi Ultra is already the top paid music app on iTunes. It targets people who love music, allowing quick identification of a song one hears playing, or enabling rapid search for music people know.”

About MELODIS Corporation

MELODIS is a sound search technology and applications company headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Its mission is to make sound and speech the preferred means to search and navigate information on mobile or IP connected devices.
MELODIS is the creator of the Sound2Sound™ Search Science, a proprietary methodology that searches sound against sound, bypassing traditional sound to text conversion techniques even when searching text databases. The result is improved accuracy, faster response time and increased scalability. Sound2Sound™ Search Science powers applications including Midomi Ultra Music Identifier and Search and Melodis Voice Dialer. MELODIS has numerous partnerships with global companies including leading device manufacturers and operators that are leveraging the Sound2Sound™ Search Science for their respective platforms.

MELODIS is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors, including Global Catalyst Partners, TransLink Capital, Walden Venture Capital and JAIC America. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Pandora Audio Ad for Mozy

I always feel some joy when I hear an audio ad on Pandora. Just heard this great one for Mozy on Pandora. Pandora is a remarkably captive environment to reach users. I love how it's so uncluttered and sparse from an ad perspective. When an ad plays, it really stands out. Reaching listeners midday with audio has been a challenge, hence the popularity of am/pm drive times. Reminds me a lot of where the daytime usage made it a core buy. That said, all the mobile and at home listening is spreading usage across dayparts nicely.

Divine Caroline featured in new Yahoo

Check out the new format of Yahoo here. You can either type in or click "+Add" next to "My Favorites" on the left. You'll see DivineCaroline listed in alphabetical order. They will publish the freshest stories each day to this widget on Yahoo! Nice implementation. Give it a shot.

Pandora top 3 iphone app after Google and Facebook

from Apple

Divine Caroline bigger than iVillage

Congrats to Kate and the team.

Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) announced that DivineCaroline®—the flagship site of Real Girls Media Network and an integral part of the Meredith Women’s Network—has cracked Quantcast’s Top 200 sites in the world. With 5.3 million users, DivineCaroline has now eclipsed longtime online traffic leaders such as iVillage.

DivineCaroline offers a unique platform that publishes user-generated content alongside expert-guided editorial to offer consumers a fully engaged community in which to share experiences and form connections. It targets women in the highly desirable 25-54 age group and has experienced strong and steady growth since its launch in 2007.

“The growth of Divine Caroline is a testament to the vibrant community of women online,” says Kate Thorp, CEO, Real Girls Media Network. “Sharing, helping, and participating in the world around them are an important part of our lives.”

Thorp notes that women now represent 53 percent of the total U.S. online audience, and “women's community” was the most visited and fastest growing internet category, acccording to ComScore Media Metrix’s year-end report.
The Meredith Women’s Network, which attracts 15 million unique visitors monthly,* is the first network comprised of premium, branded websites geared towards the topics that matter most to women. It includes The Better Homes and Gardens® Network (Better Homes and Gardens, Better Recipes and the recently launched MixingBowl™); The Parents® Network (Parents, American Baby and Family Circle); and The Real Girls NetworkSM (DivineCaroline®, Fitness, More and Ladies’ Home Journal).
“The success of DivineCaroline reflects the power of this exciting new brand and its connection to female consumers,” says Meredith Chief Development Officer John Zieser. “Real Girls Media is proving to be a perfect complement to the Meredith Women's Network, and we will continue to seek out partners where we can replicate this ‘one plus one equals three’ relationship.”

Pandora crossing into mass market

According to NPD, awareness and usage of Pandora, a leading online radio station, doubled year over year to 18 percent of Internet users; one-third of those who were aware of Pandora report using the service. Similarly, the percentage of consumers claiming to listen to music on social networks climbed from 15 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2007 to 19 percent in Q4 2008. Nearly half of U.S. teens are engaging with music on social networks, which is an increase from 37 percent a year ago; among college-age Internet users, the percentage increased from 30 percent in 2007 to 41 percent in 2008.

Stanford VLAB event redux

Great event at Stanford VLAB Tues eve. Packed room with 250 plus people at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. On the panel on Music Models online, moderated by Paul Bonanos, MC Hammer, Jessica Kahn of Tapulous, Jordan Kurland who manages Death Cab For Cutie among others, Dorrian Porter of Mozes and Jeff Yasuda of I was pleased with the feedback to private beta of a new music search and ID product that will be coming out from Melodis. After asking the audience to let me know if they wanted to beta test it, I got over 50 cards handed to me.

MC Hammer has a new show called Hammertime coming out on A&E. The camera crews were there in full force. He has over 150k people following him on Twitter, underscoring how powerful the artist fan connection can be. Twitter is clearly gaining a lot of momentum with its "real time web" experience.

Among the interesting data-points were that Tapulous has had over 6 million downloads of its free app with hundreds of thousands of paid purchases of it's artist centric apps at $5 each. Nice people. great app and glad they are doing so nicely.

I highlighted that music is a true passion point for users. It's how they want to spend leisure time and get joy in spite of the economy. That time translates to money in terms of commerce and advertising. Figuring out how to be at the heart of discovery, search and / or listening are the power centers. Notable that 2 of the top 3 apps on the iPhone are music (Pandora at #1 and Shazam at 3).

The mobile phone market feels like the Internet in the mid 90's on DOS and dial up. Crappy and slow. The iPhone on 3G is a crucial platform to get a glimpse of the future. In a broadband mobile world (and we all know that 3G is still "mid band" speed at best), time spent goes way up, as does commerce and advertising. iPhone sales at 14 mm units or so last year is just a remarkable validation of consumer demand for a next gen mobile experience and the app store. Finally a way for third parties to market their products directly to consumers on mobile. Every major phone maker and service provider is rushing to replicate the app store model.

Looking forward to the app store enabling recurring revenue models / subscription and easier in product commerce.

Pandora on Blackberry

It's out. Went to on my Blackberry Bold. Found the mobile page, clicked on Blackberry install and voila. Loaded easily. A little bit of delay on my first time log in as it found my account. Worked flawlessly on my way to San Francisco this morning. Got a call, took it and then it returned to Pandora after the call was done. Radio remains on when I went to email too... including send and receive. This is a really big deal as the iPhone does not enable multitasking like this. UI works great through I prefer the UI and bigger screen on the iPhone more, but the multitasking is quite compelling. Thanks Pandora.

Here's a link to the Boy Genius report:

Social networking overtakes email

Social networking is now the most popular web activity, surpassing even email, according to a new study issued by information and media firm Nielsen. Active reach in what Nielsen defines as "member communities" now exceeds email participation by 67 percent to 65 percent, the firm reports--among all Internet users worldwide, two thirds visited a social networking site in 2008. Facebook now leads the pack: Three out of every 10 web users visit the site at least once a month, and in all, Facebook experienced a 168 percent increase in users in 2008, galvanized by growth among the 35-to-49 demographic.

Mobile social networking is most popular in the U.K., where 23 percent of mobile web users (about 2 million subscribers) now visit social networks via handsets--the U.S. follows at 19 percent, or 10.6 million subscribers. Mobile social networking usage increased 249 percent in the U.K. in 2008, and grew 156 percent in the U.S. Nielsen notes that the most popular social networks via PCs and laptops mirror the most popular services on the mobile web--Facebook is the most popular in five of the six countries where Nielsen measures mobile activity, with Xing proving most popular in Germany. In addition to the mobile web and dedicated mobile social networking applications, users are also interacting with their social networks via SMS--according to Nielsen, at the end of 2008 almost 3 million U.S. users were texting Facebook on a regular basis.

For more on social networking's growth: read this Nielsen report

Read the full article here