The last thing you probably need in your life is another social network, but a new service called Boomio thinks it has a different hook that will get you to play.
Announced today at Code/Mobile, Boomio is a mobile app that lets you share a full-length, fully licensed version of a song, along with a personal message, with a friend or group of friends. The recipient(s) will have the ability to stream the song, but only once before it “blows up,” and can then share it with others, buy the track or send another song back.
Boomio is the brainchild of Seattle resident PJ Pedroni, who got the idea for the app about a year ago while watching his friends try to promote their music on Facebook.
“I just thought there must be a better way to share music. You can share songs on Spotify, kind of, if somebody else is a paid subscriber of Spotify, and so are you. You can certainly send clips of songs, but it’s not like getting the whole song,” said Pedroni. “So I developed this idea for Boomio, the first social music network. Like Instagram has done for photos and Facebook has done for friends and family, we want to do for music.”
Pedroni demoed the app onstage with Re/code’s Lauren Goode and James Temple. From Boomio’s main page, users can peruse through the top five trending songs for every major genre, or they can search by new music, category, artist, song or album.
Recipients get a notification, called a “boom,” when they receive a song. After they’ve listened to it, they can buy the track, reply with a message and/or song, or share the song with someone else. Sharing earns the sender the right to listen to the song one more time. The chat view also keeps a record of all the tracks that have been shared between users.
Songs may be sent to one person or to many, either within the app or via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. During his demo, Pedroni showed off the ability to send a “crowd boom,” sharing a song with all of his followers on Boomio.
“This will give the artist an ability to promote a song that is protected and monetized,” Pedroni said.
But to be successful, Boomio needs to have a good music selection that includes popular songs, not just those from independent artists and labels, and the startup is off to a pretty good start. So far, the company has reached licensing agreements with Universal, Sony and EMI to offer each label’s full music catalog. The Boomio platform will launch with about two million songs, which will continue to grow over the next several months as the labels’ back catalogs are added to the service. The company is also in talks with Warner.
“Reaching out to the labels was the hardest thing, especially from being outside of the industry and coming in cold,” said Pedroni, who previously worked in advertising and also opened a couple of dueling piano bars in Seattle. “But they were all excited about it and wanted to be a part of it.”
“It took them a second to realize that if there’s nine boxes to check on a standard licensing agreement, we’re that 10th box,” he added.
For the labels and artists, Boomio could serve as another marketing tool and monetization opportunity. But how does Boomio ensure that users won’t steal the music? As we’ve seen with other apps that promise ephemerality (yes, we’re talking about you, Snapchat), people are finding other ways to capture media.
Pedroni’s co-founder, Randy Kath, a former executive at Microsoft and Boomio’s sole developer and coder for the past year, said that there are security measures in place to prevent this from happening. For example, all the content is streamed instead of being stored locally on the user’s device. The music streams are also encrypted, and the service is built so that it never transmits the location of source content.
Boomio will launch as a free iOS app this December with the ability to buy songs via iTunes, with which Boomio is partnered in an affiliate program. An Android version is planned for early Q1 2015 with support for Google Play. The company declined to comment about funding at this time.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.