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to increase that number to 12,000 or more by the time its app becomes publicly available, Vander Velden says. The artists who created the songs receive royalties for allowing their music to be streamed within the Snippet app, he says.
Snippet wasn’t the first to try something like this. Messaging app Tango launched a similar product in 2013 through a partnership with Spotify, which provided access to clips of songs from its music library. A newer competitor of Snippet is Ditty, which allows users to set their messages to the tune of popular songs. Ditty users can also incorporate images and videos. (The two-year-old app generated some buzz this summer for its role in the “one thicc bih” Internet meme. Curious readers can click here for more info on that, but we’re sorry in advance.)
The idea for Snippet started with a website Vander Velden built in early 2016. The site allowed users to pick out portions of songs and send them to friends using custom-generated URLs. There was a brief surge in new users and traffic to the website, but that died down before long, he says.
Later that year, Vander Velden began discussing his experience with the project with Hu when they were both interns at the Redwood City, CA-based software company Delphix. (Even though they were in the same year at UW-Madison and both studied computer science, they didn’t get to know one another until they interned together at Delphix, Vander Velden says.)
“I was telling Charles about all the products I worked on—especially this [music clip] one, because I just love the idea,” Vander Velden recalls.
The two began working together to create a mobile app with similar functionality to Vander Velden’s website. One key difference is that clips can be sent as text messages, rather than unique URLs that point to web pages.
After graduating in May, Hu accepted a position at Delphix and moved to California. However, he still spends about 10 to 20 hours each week working on Snippet, Vander Velden says.
Snippet’s team also includes a few part-time employees, who work in software engineering and business development.
The $360,000 Snippet raised from investors should fund operations for the next 18 months, Vander Velden says. Depending on how many users it can attract during that period, Snippet may try to raise more money from investors, he says.
Snippet hasn’t generated any revenue yet, and its leaders are considering a variety of business models, including one that would involve having up-and-coming artists pay Snippet for prominent placement in the app.
A version of the app that works on Android devices is currently in the works, but likely will not be ready when Snippet launches its iOS app later this year, Vander Velden says. iPhone and iPad users will be able to download it for free, he says. Given that Snippet is still relatively new and now has some money in the bank, user growth is the most important goal for now, he says.