The Location-Based Mobile Music App Explosion, A Survey
The Location-Based Mobile Music App Explosion, A Survey

SoundTracking, the application downloaded by 3 million people who use it to share virtual music postcards with their friends, has integrated YouTube for its latest Android version released Thursday.

Developed by Schematic Labs in San Francisco, SoundTracking works on multiple platforms, including iOS and Spotify. But the YouTube integration currently works only on the Android version.

The new feature lets users include a YouTube video of the song, rather than a static photo, when sharing their "music moments" with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare.

"Before, you could send a link to the video, but you had to launch the YouTube app separately," said Steve Jang, the chief executive of Schematic Labs. "Now you can watch it right from the feed as an embedded video."

"Our goal is to help people communicate and express themselves through music, and to make that process as easy and fun as possible for people," Jang said. People can use the app to identify a song that's playing in the background, snap a photo, add a location, type in a quick comment and share it with friends.

So far, users share about 9 million music moments a day through SoundTracking, which collects a referral fee if people buy the song referenced in its newsfeeds. Users who have an on-demand music subscription service such as Spotify or Rdio, or access to YouTube, can listen to the entire song. If not, they hear a 30-second sample from iTunes.

This is because Schematic Labs does not have the licenses needed to play entire songs. The company has deliberately stayed away from the licensing path, Jang acknowledged, largely because of the tremendous effort and expense required to secure those rights.

"People tell us we should build our own store or subscription-music service," Jang said. "All are interesting vectors for our company, but we still need to build out our core vision before we can think of going there. For now, we'll continue to work with third-party services."

After some initial hesitation, app developers are now flocking to Android, whose rapidly growing install base rivals that of Apple's iPhones. Some, such as Schematic Labs, are adding Android-only features designed to take advantage of the platform's capabilities. SoundTracking for Android, for example, is designed to be a widget on the phone's home screen, even when it's locked, something that Apple does not allow.

The company, founded in 2010 and launched in 2011, has raised more than $4.75 million in funding from Accel Partners, True Ventures, SoftBank Capital and Google Ventures, among others.

As with many media app companies, Schematic Labs also keeps track of songs that have been tagged using SoundTracking, along with their location. For now, the company isn't monetizing that data. Instead, it uses the data to design better user experiences, such as offering up popular songs that were tagged "nearby," Jang said. The geo-location feature can get down to the level of neighborhoods or even venues such as the corner café.

In that spirit, here's the top 10 songs users picked for their SoundTrack music moments in 2012 in Los Angeles and New York (interestingly, they're not all the same tracks):

Los Angeles
1. Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
2. Alex Clare - Too Close
3. Maroon 5 - Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
4. Kanye West - Mercy (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz)
5. Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank)
6. The Lumineers - Ho Hey
7. M83 - Midnight City
8. Fun. - We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe)
9. Nicki Minaj - Starships
10. Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks

New York
1. Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
3. Fun. - We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe)
4. Kanye West - Mercy (feat. Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz)
5. Miguel - Adorn
6. Madonna - Girl Gone Wild
7. Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)
8. Rihanna - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)
9. Fun. - Some Nights
10. Ne-Yo - Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)

Source: Schematic Labs.