The world is not suffering from a shortage of social networks, so it takes some serious mojo to think that your app – everything is mobile first today – will be the next big thing. Justin Cooke, former Topshop CMO and founder of Innovate7, “the world’s first disruption agency” (his words), certainly fits the bill. Last Thursday, he introduced Tunepics, a new “multi-sensory social network” combining photos, music and mood.
Described as “Instagram with music”, Tunepics combines images with music from the iTunes store. Music snippets to be precise because it only plays a 15 second teaser preview of a song. Since only very few people look at an image for more than 15 seconds it works well in the app and probably made negotiations with Apple and the music industry much more enjoyable. In fact, the integrated “Buy on iTunes” button is a clear sign that if there is any kind of success, Tunepics probably wants to relieve Apple of some of its large cash hoard.
So does Tunepics strike a chord? Over the past few days, I took it for a spin (there really are a lot of colored, spinning wheels), trying to figure out if it’s a platform that’s here to stay.
Take the “emotion wheel” for a spin
First of all, there is something to be said for the general idea of combining music with images. Certain images or scenes just evoke a certain mood that can only be expressed with music. It’s the principle behind a good soundtrack and most of us probably had that experience of standing on the beach/driving in the rain/cleaning the dishes/do whatever and thinking: “That song would really go well with this.”
Tunepics makes it easy to “soundtrack” your images. Just pick a pic from your camera roll or snap one, choose a song and publish to your Instagram-like feed. You can create a profile, follow friends, celebrities and brands (mostly celebrities and brands right now), comment, like, and “retune” – all standard social media fare.
Things get a bit more interesting when you hit the “emotion wheel”, a rainbow disk that lets you choose an emotion to show how you feel about an image. It’s certainly innovative and interesting and might open whole new analytics possibilities. At the same time, after looking at some popular “tunepics” and the corresponding “emotion wheel”, it was hard to discern what the multi-colored pie chart really meant and why I should look at it.
Useful or not, the “emotion wheel” – along with all the other elements of the app – is really well-designed and animated, often showing great attention to detail. The user experience is great and it’s not difficult to find your way around the app.
Should I Stay or Should I Go
Based on a suggestion by early music tech adopter Will.i.am, music clips play automatically when scrolling through the image feed. This makes sense but points to a potential problem: we often use our phones in public spaces where playing music clips gets you dirty looks and is just plain annoying. Obviously, that’s a risk every music-focused app must take but to enjoy Tunepic, you better bring earbuds.
As for the people on Tunepic, they have a decidedly British flavor. No surprise, as it is the first social network build, made and designed in the UK. It’s an obvious choice for musicians and audiophiles but there are already examples of great brand use. Penguin Books, a book publisher, combines cover images of literature classics like “Of Mice and Men” with interesting song choices for a strangely engaging result.
Overall, Tunepic is definitely a social network to watch. I know, there are so many new hot platforms to check out but I think this one is worth a (free) download. The idea behind it is solid, it’s well-executed and combines visual elements with a song discovery tool.
Plus, it’s just fun to pick a soundtrack for your image.