02/15/2012

Soundz.fm

Soundz.fm is a remarkable product for us, because it's the one that marks the beginning of our company. It's a service for those rare people who still like to listen to radio online even if it's 2012 and we're surrounded by Spotifies and Rdios.

We started working on soundz.fm in early 2009 and initially, it was really a bash script that scraped the pages of radio stations and displayed the currently playing song for each one. It started with a simple demand - radio stations in Slovakia were charging for sending you a text with the current song, and we realized how stupid that is when you have mobile internet literally everywhere.

From there on, it was really a waterfall of enthusiasm and long sleepless nights for making the initial interface and user management work for the 0.00001 version of the app. It still didn't do much, just displayed the name of the artist and song for a chosen radio (we had 7 in our database, altogether).

First version of soundz.fm
fig. 1 – First version of soundz.fm

It wasn't long until we realized that we're just a small step from being able to actually play the radio streams in the web interface itself. We set to start working on that, and boy was it a ride! I remember precisely the night that we tried to get the streaming going in Internet Explorer (the night was about 2 weeks long), up until the moment we realized that you can't really name a function "play" in javascipt because the guys at Redmond decided so.

Current soundz.fm version (launched in 2010)
fig. 2 – Current soundz.fm version (launched in 2010)

Nonetheless, we have successfully launched on February the 28th, 2010, and we got everything working just the night before Mini Seedcamp Prague, where we've been selected as a first team ever from Slovakia to present in front of investors and business people. It was a great day and I remember we came back full of enthusiasm and valuable feedback from the mentors. We started exploring some monetization options and started working on mobile clients.

soundz.fm being a side project for every one of us, and effectively one and a half person working on it, the iPhone client was done in a jiffy - a full year, almost to day. We bent Cocoa touch to the extreme with clever hacks, that got of course fixed in the next iOS and the application no longer works as it is supposed to.

soundz.fm iPhone client
fig. 3 – soundz.fm iPhone client

Apart from the iPhone app, our friends at Backbone had some time and resources to learn the development for Samsung Bada platform, and they decided to build a Bada version of the client. The app was even the most popular music app for Bada for some time. Both of these apps are available at soundzapp.com.

Truth be told, we have abandoned soundz.fm. Not single one of us is happy about it, but realistically, it is simply too time consuming to keep up with it as a side project with very questionable monetization options.

Soundz.fm really was a project very close to our hearts and we are thankful for all the great lessons we have learned along the way. Even without updates, we are still keeping the site and mobile clients up for those who enjoy using it, and probably as a backdoor for possible future re-ignition.

Some interesting project stats (as of Feb 1st 2012):

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