In case you didn’t know, there is more to SXSW than location-based apps. The show is also a hub for musicians, and between the e-payment food trucks, “celebrity” spottings (there are only a handful of us who point when we see Dennis Crowley or Sean Parker), and uncountable free flash drives being handed out, there are a slew of concerts.
Which is why Vivogig decided to rush its app to launch at the show. Creators Tanner Moehle and Daniel Senyard, both based in Austin, have been working on the concert-photo app for about two years total but only focused on the actual development for the past five months. “We’re still in a really early stage and we’re seeing SXSW as a way to create really good content for [Vivogig],” says Moehle.
He says that while Vivogig hasn’t quite seen the user boost it expected to get from SXSW (it has about 2,000 users at the moment), he and Senyard see it having life far past these few weeks — which isn’t something many apps that debut here can say. Remember Hipster? The social app did not live up to its SXSW hype last year. But Vivogig is targeting a small, yet passionate vertical and looking at music festivals and events worldwide to expand.
The focus makes sense; you can’t go to a concert without seeing a sea of smartphones in the air to prove we were all there — something that Senyard said leads to a flood of overly passed around updates. “There’s social media burnout,” he says. “I find myself scrolling Facebook and Twitter looking for something relevant. When I go to concerts and check-in on Foursquare or update Facebook, my wife gets so frustrated telling me to put my phone away.”
The fact that concert-goers are too glued to their screens explains Vivogig’s quick and simple service. You upload a picture, you tag the artist, the venue, and an icon to label the experience (examples include “metal,” “piano,” and “lighter”), and then you post and share (you can push to Twitter and Facebook). And then you go back to watching the actual concert. On the Web component of Vivogig, you can add filters, a feature Senyard and Moehle aren’t convinced on adding to the mobile version yet. “Maybe. But we see the app as where you capture the content, and the Web is where you consume,” says Senyard. “We want you to watch the show.”
Vivogig is definitely still in its infancy, but the founders see it moving on the bigger and better things quickly. They’ve been meeting with important names in the music label industry to connect them with Vivogig and introduce social media elements to performances. Those labels might want to at least listen: The music industry is stuck between a rock and hard place and it isn’t adjusting to this generation’s mobile-social-photo platform dependence. We’re here, we’re consuming your content and turning it into our content, putting it out on the Web, and you’re not going to do anything with all that… really?
Music industry vet Raymond McGlamery (who formerly worked with Ticketmaster and was an executive at Warner Bros) recently joined the Vivogig business development team because of his frustration with how the market is failing to optimize the social media aspect of concerts and music events. And others in this space are starting to take notice. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest from these companies that want a way to get in with the young kids that go to these shows,” says Senyard. They are interested in teaming up with venues and events for social media visualizations via Vivogig — in plain English, giant screens broadcasting content being uploaded to the app in real-time.
In addition to taking meetings and working on inking partnerships that are on the table, Vivogig also has some technicalities to finesse. The app was pushed to launch for SXSW, so some things are missing: It desperately needs some bug fixes (I haven’t been able to use the app without encountering an error the prevents my photo from posting) and feature tune-ups. But they’re waiting in the wings: Moehle says the glitches will be worked out, the UI updated, and then Vivogig will soon add the ability to follow people and filter how you view its content (by cities, by friends, etc). Further down the line, Vivogig wants to add things like geolocation (which would show you all the upcoming concerts for wherever you are), and talk about how it could be used for analytics for artists (for instance, offering a discount to someone who saw two of their concerts in a town, but skipped the last one).
Opening up the API is also a priority. “It’s there, but we want to write our documentation so everyone knows how we want them to use our data,” says Moehle.
Will concert-goers forsake Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for this a music-experience dedicated platform? Vivogig won’t have to wait long to see if its concept takes: Festival season is about to kick off – Sasquatch, Coachella, and Lollapalooza are right around the corner.