Technology

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Category: Instagram

SoundCloud hits 10 million users, launches Story Wheel web app

Story Wheel

SoundCloud announced Monday that it has reached a milestone: more than 10 million users and 5 million downloads of the SoundCloud mobile app.

But what's probably more interesting to SoundCloud users is a new Instagram-compatible Web app called Story Wheel that the Berlin company launched Monday.

"It's a really big thing for us to have the community get to that point," Alex Ljung, SoundCloud's co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview. "It's just been a great last year for us. Everything has sort of ramped up faster and faster and recently we're signing up about a million users a month."

The audio-hosting and -streaming service, which we've said aspires to be the YouTube of audio, has grown largely by word of mouth, Ljung said.

"The SoundCloud community is really pushing it forward," he said. "We see now super clearly that sound is mobile with the number of sign-ups and usage growth on the mobile app side. We've also seen over the last year just how wide sound can be beyond music."

One example of that diversity is that there are more than 3.3 million tags that SoundCloud users identify their recordings with, Ljung said.

Another example of SoundCloud's "sound is more than music" ethos is the Story Wheel app, which is essentially an online version of a slide show with a projector sound effects, to re-create the feeling of sharing photos the old-school way with friends and family.

The app enables users to import in photos from the popular iPhone photo-sharing app Instagram and add recorded narration -- hosted by SoundCloud -- to go with the pictures.

On Monday, Ljung and SoundCloud co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Eric Wahlforss posted a Story Wheel of their own that offered up a bit of company history: Their first SoundCloud "office" was a Berlin coffee shop.

The app started last November in Boston as a project at Music Hack Day, which SoundCloud helps organize, then continued in the company's Berlin and San Francisco offices. The inspiration for Story Wheel came when SoundCloud engineers found themselves telling each other the stories behind the photos they posted to Instagram.

"We chose Instagram is because it's the service we use the most for our own photos," Ljung said. "We built Story Wheel because it's something we wanted to see and we thought it was something our users would like to see and use too. And we built the whole thing on the same API that we offer to our developers, who have made more than 10,000 apps on our platform."

About a year ago SoundCloud had about 2 million users, Ljung said, adding that he thinks third-party developers and the popularity of the company's mobile apps deserve as much credit for the growth to 10 million users as the word of mouth spread by users.

So where does SoundCloud go from here? Ljung said the 80-employee company is focused on continuing its growth and creating more things like Story Wheel that show users what they can do with the audio files they record and share on SoundCloud's website.

Aiding that effort is a recent round of venture funding and the addition of Mary Meeker, a renowned tech analyst and partner at the investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, to SoundCloud's board as an observer.

Ljung, however, wasn't too interested in talking about Meeker or just how much money SoundCloud has raised.

"I think for us it's not such a big deal," he said. "It's just kind of like a background thing that helps the company grow. It's great to have good partners and have great apps built on our platform. But for us, the 10-million-user figure is really more interesting. Everything we do, we think about how it will affect our users because without the users, none of the other stuff is there."

ALSO:

SoundCloud reportedly raises $50 million

SoundCloud wants to be the YouTube of audio

Instagram hits milestone: 150 million photos uploaded

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of SoundCloud's Story Wheel Web app. Credit: SoundCloud

Obama 2012 campaign joins Instagram on eve of Iowa caucuses

Barack Obama's first photo on Instagram

As Republicans focused on the Iowa caucuses and President Barack Obama made a pitch to Iowans of his own over streaming video on Tuesday, the Obama 2012 reelection campaign took its message to Instagram.

The president's campaign staff, which is also looking to reach voters on Tumblr and Google+ (along with a few Republican rivals), has posted two photos thus far, both of the president speaking with Iowa's caucus voters via video chat, making his case for another term in the White House.

Although Instagram — a photo-sharing app known for retro filters that allows people to share photos with one another from their iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads — is new territory for Obama, the move by his 2012 campaign shouldn't come as a surprise.

In the 2008 election, Obama's team was so well known for its use of Twitter, Facebook and blogging to help build up an overwhelming amount of support that the Technology blog described Obama as "the first social media President." And over the last four years, the White House has made great use of the photo-sharing site Flickr.

Instagram, which has seen its more than 5-million users share more than 150-million photos, said in a company blog post that it is "excited to welcome President Barack Obama to Instagram" and that it looks "forward to seeing how President Obama uses Instagram to give folks a visual sense of what happens in the everyday life of the President of the United States."

The Obama 2012 campaign is also looking for supporters to share their photos with the @BarackObama Instagram account by tagging their photos with "#obama2012," Instagram said.

The company also made sure to point out that political coverage on Instagram has been on the rise over the last year as the 2012 presidential election gets closer.

"News organizations such as NBC News, ABC World News and the Washington Post have been sharing behind-the-scenes photos at debates and town hall meetings across the country, offering a unique look into the 2012 elections," Instagram said.

Among the most interesting photos shared so far by news organizations covering the election on Instagram would have to be Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker's shot of Republican hopeful Mitt Romney typing on his Apple iPad in an airport.

RELATED:

Obama 2012 campaign heads to Tumblr

President Obama's 2012 campaign joins Google+

Tech entrepreneur Kevin Systrom is focused on photography

— Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of President Barack Obama's first Instagram photo. Credit: Obama 2012 / Instagram

Instagram hits milestone: 150 million photos uploaded

Instagram has hit a milestone: 150 million photos uploaded in the nine months since it launched.

The 150-millionth photo is below.

Kevin Systrom, founder and chief executive of Instagram, said 1.3 million photos are being uploaded each day. That's 15 photos a second.

InstagramThe San Francisco start-up has attracted more than 7 million users and has raised $7.5 million from high-profile investors. Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger built the service in just eight weeks.

"To say that we're excited and humbled by the initial success of Instagram would be an understatement," Systrom said in an email.

He also noted that Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks on mobile phones and has remained among the top 25 free apps in the Apple store for more than a month.

RELATED:

Justin Bieber takes pic of L.A. traffic, sends Instagram traffic

Tech entrepreneur Kevin Systrom is focused on photography

Instagram photo editing and sharing service raises $7 million

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo credit: Janefot via Instagram

Justin Bieber takes pic of L.A. traffic, sends Instagram traffic

Bieber

A photo from Justin Bieber is worth thousands of new users.

The tween heartthrob signed up for Instagram, and the iPhone photo-sharing service exploded.

Bieber posted a photo of snarled L.A. traffic to his 11 million-plus Twitter followers. That triggered another surge for Instagram, which is nearing 7 million users. Last month the 9-month-old service hit 5 million.

Instagram already had its celebrity users such as Snoop Dogg. But Bieber has a following as large as some countries.  And they are headed to Instagram, where Bieber already has thousands of followers and the snapshot has hundreds of likes.

https://twitter.com/#!/justinbieber/status/94199094460940288

Check out our profile of Instagram founder Kevin Systrom.

RELATED:

Tech entrepreneur Kevin Systrom is focused on photography

Instagram photo editing and sharing service raises $7 million

Justin Bieber scores big laughs at manager's 30th birthday roast

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo credit: Justin Bieber

Instagram photo editing and sharing service raises $7 million

Instagram Instagram, the photo editing and sharing startup that launched just four months ago, now has more than 1.7 million users and $7 million from Benchmark Capital.

The company behind the popular iPhone app started out “scrappy, humble and agile,” wrote chief executive Kevin Systrom in a blog post Wednesday. Now, with the help of Facebook alum and Benchmark general partner Matt Cohler, it has a hefty hunk of financing that it plans to use building an engineering team.

With nearly 300,000 photos posted daily, Instagram has also attracted support from bold-name angel investors Adam D’Angelo (co-founder of Quora and former chief technology officer at Facebook) and Jack Dorsey (chief executive of Square and Twitter co-founder).

The mobile photo space is a hopping these days. Path, a similar sharing service, said Tuesday that it raised $8.5 million from Kleiner Perkins and Index Ventures.

RELATED:

Instagram photo app passes 1 million users; Amazon reportedly on track to sell 8 million Kindles

Dave Morin's Path and Facebook make a connection

-- Tiffany Hsu [follow]

Instagram photo app passes 1 million users; Amazon reportedly on track to sell 8 million Kindles

INSTAGRAM The Twitter photo poster Twitpic took about a year to reach 1 million users. Photosharing app Instagram has done it in three months.

Users started signing up in droves within a few minutes of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app’s debut at the iTunes App Store on Oct. 6, the Instagram team said in a blog post. The app involves a slew of languages -– including Russian, Chinese and Italian –- and a range of filters with names like “Toaster” and “Earlybird” that users can apply to photos.

Gathering such a large network had initially seemed like “a big hairy audacious goal” for the free app, the team wrote.

The social photo app space is crowded, with offerings from other developers such as Flickr, PicPlz and Path.

In other numbers news, Bloomberg is quoting anonymous sources who claim that Amazon will probably sell more than 8 million Kindle e-readers this year, compared with about 2.4 million last year.

RELATED:

IPhone passes Canon Rebel XTi as most popular camera on Flickr

TwitPic adds face-tagging option

-- Tiffany Hsu

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Videos

How to Reach Us

To pass on technology-related story tips, ideas and press releases, contact our reporters listed below.

To reach us by phone, call (213) 237-7163

Email: business@latimes.com

Andrea Chang
Armand Emamdjomeh
Jessica Guynn
Jon Healey
W.J. Hennigan
Tiffany Hsu
Deborah Netburn
Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Alex Pham
David Sarno


Categories


Archives