Finnish start up Minus Degree believe that in many ways we’ve lost the personal touch when it comes to sharing online. We may continue to do it privately through WhatsApp or Snapchat, but on public platforms like Facebook and Twitter we’ve become more comfortable sharing other people’s content or retweeting than we have in expressing something of our own thoughts and feelings. Melodigram is an attempt to bring the emotion back in what they hope will be a new, fun way.
The idea behind Melodigram is very similar to Minus Degree’s previous app Melodio, where users could share short sound clips with one another. That alone was not enough though, people had trouble distinguishing sounds and since communication was muddled the app did not work out as they hoped. However a good start up never views a setback like that as failure, instead they take it as a lesson and apply what they’ve learnt to their next project. In Minus Degree’s case, they realised that there needed to be more than just sound, there needed to be something else to provide context. The solution was obvious, pictures.
So that’s what Melodigram does, it allows users to take a photograph, add some audio, and send the combination to their friends. The hope is that with such a simple idea people will take hold of it and use it in way that even the developers haven’t thought about. Right now you can record up to one minute’s worth of audio and Jonathan Massey, CEO of Minus Degree told us that he and his team are open to adjusting that based on user feedback. In fact they are also looking at adding support for gifs, or animated pictures as well.
There’s a lot about the app that the development team are staying flexible on. When it was first released Melodigrams could be shared in Twitter and Facebook, the latest update added Pinterest and WhatsApp, and the team is currently working on Tumblr while considering Google+ next. The plan is to watch where the app grows in popularity and then add support for the most popular social media platforms in those regions.
Minus Degree had no desire to create a new social network or take anyone’s details, they didn’t want anything slowing down users from being able to take or view Medoldigrams. When a ‘gram is taken it is stored on Melodigram servers and a link to a webpage is created which is the only thing that needs to be shared. It’s an interesting route that allows everyone, all those who don’t have the app, to see a Melodigram and if they like it to go get the app for themselves and start making their own.
The app is completely free and currently only available on iOS, which continues to be the lead platform for many new apps. Massey explained that one of their ideas to generate revenue is to use Melodigram for branding and marketing campaigns. Competitions could be created to encourage users to make Melodigrams around a certain theme and when they go to the view ‘grams around that theme there would be relevant advertising shown on the webpage. This and other ideas are for the future though, right now the focus is on getting the word out about Melodigram and building up a strong user base.
Melodigram was only released two weeks ago, and with no publicity, but it’s hoped that take on communication and expression will find a fan base. Their commitment to an open design and free access is certainly admirable and we wish them all the best.