As app launches go, wahwah.fm can be fairly pleased with themselves, their new release making it onto the iTunes recommended page after only four days. The launch came amid a wave of publicity, following on from the company being named one of Germany’s top ten startups, not once but twice.
Extremely impressive for an app that has only been out of beta for a week – but now attention turns towards the other side of the Atlantic and the upcoming launch in the US. Silicon Allee sat down with Berlin’s latest success story to find out what makes them tick.
According to head of communications Ari Stein, it’s simple to explain what makes wahwah.fm so attractive to users: “Anyone can make their own playlist, press play, and go on air. There are also additional elements to it that make it unique and exciting, like its location-based aspect and interactive features,” he said. “We wanted to keep it simple in the first stages, so people will warm to the idea.”
And simple it is: users can tune in to any channel and stream live, and unlike similar online services, wahwah.fm is an app designed purely for mobile, so users can listen to a channel live and instantly from anywhere in the world, including while they’re on the go.
There is also the option to tune in not only via People, but also by Places, listening to music being broadcast nearby. “To my knowledge, we’re the only app of its kind in the world right now, and that proves to be quite an exciting development for a lot of people who want to explore a new kind of way to interact with others,” Ari added.
Social interaction features in the new app include publishing the songs you play on your Facebook wall and users communicating with each other via their wahwah.fm channel, allowing for aspiring DJs to write back to their followers. Users will also be able to manually search for songs out of a still-growing catalogue of approximately 12 million songs sourced from three major as well as numerous independent labels.
But work is ongoing on new features, with Ari revealing that live recording is one improvement in the works. Plans also include developing a network of artists and bands who can set up their own playlists and share them in real time with others. These could vary from studio diaries to keep bands in touch with followers while recording an album, to brands re-creating in-store experiences via their own radio channels.
Under the planned Virtual Concert Tickets premium service, users will also be able to listen to live concerts. The company has already taken its first steps into live music with regular Wednesday night radio programs to showcase local and international talent.
With the American launch approaching, and plans to expand to the UK and France, there is clearly international appeal to wahwah.fm. Ari said: “What is exciting is that it’s an unbelievable tool for the music industry, and apart from winning four awards in the last year, we’ve had such great feedback from different brands, musicians and artists about how it can be used. That’s really motivational for us.”
With plans to roll out the app on Android and Windows later this year, it seems wahwah.fm will be hitting the right notes in 2012.