Last year at SXSW, Vivogig released its concert photo-sharing platform just before the beginning of the festival’s Music Week. Admittedly, the launch was pushed out the door in order to make the show, and founders Tanner Moehle and Daniel Senyard both explained to be what I was seeing was a very surface version of what they hoped to do with it.
Now, the team is ready to push a big update that will enable a whole new host of functionality and features that the currently dead-simple beta version of Vivogig hasn’t had up to this point. Now the app will include a find your friends tool, location stamping, an upgraded interface, big, screen-filling photos in the stream, song previews via iTunes integration, hashtags, and the ability to follow other users as well as featured artists and a VIP section with behind-the-scenes content from performers.
Other improvements include a streamlined shooting experience, making it faster to shoot and share, “So you’re spending as little time as possible looking down at your phone,” the team tells me, something they also emphasized back in March. The fun and fancy of Instagram is the filter-choosing process, but that also means you’re stuck staring at a screen instead of, say, a concert. This is what Vivogig wants to prevent, while still creating a concert-focused photo experience.
Niche? Absolutely – but any good Instagram addict knows that concerts and events are some of the most popular photos shared on the application.
Given its position, I had to ask Vivogig if there we’re Instagram-like filter plans in the pipeline. Last time I asked this question, the duo spoke about getting eyes off screens and on the stage, but Moehle says that if they do choose to introduce filters, they’ll do it differently. “Something that shows off the lighting,” he says.
And what about video? Given that Vivogig is focused on social, live performances, and media, you’d imagine that the undeniably hot (and confusing) social video market might hold some intrigue for the startup. But you’d be wrong – for all the reasons critics keep bringing up: That even powerful smartphones can’t compete when it comes to A/V. “We didn’t find one band that like the idea of crowd-sourced video,” veteran music industry exec and chief strategy officer for Vivogig Raymond McGlamery tells me. “Labels will want their performance rights the minute we start uploading videos – they will pull stuff like that down.” Clearly, video and audio quality suffer when taken from a smartphone and bands and their management don’t want anything less than the best circulating out there. “Even as video gets better and better, audio won’t ever be able to get there from a stationary source that you can still make phone calls from,” McGlamery points out.
Since Vivogig’s initial launch in Austin, the startup has managed to raise 300,000 and is closing its angel round now. The partnerships Moehle and Senyard talked to me about at the time are still in the works, and together with McGlamery (formerly of Ticketmaster and Warner Bros), to talk with venues, media companies, labels, and managers about using Vivogig as a means to promotion. Specifically, McGlamery mentions concert hall holding contests for best user-taken photos, and getting bands to directly promote using Vivogig and weaving their into their branding. Of course, before this next phase is fully launched, the team wants to solidify the app itself.
“The original is great and it works, but it doesn’t have the functionality that will benefit people we’re talking to and we’ll have some big announcements in that department soon,” McGlamery says.