Snapchat stock [NYSE: SNAP] opened Friday at $26.25, up 54% from its initial $17 IPO price on Thursday. By 10:30 AM ET Friday, the stock was up another 12% to $27.41. Now it is up to this soaring startup to prove it’s not the next MySpace or Twitter. Could music be point differentiation that justifies Snapchat’s valuation or sends its stock been higher?
Many social networks and apps have tried and failed to use music as its secret sauce. MySpace was built on music and fell quickly out of favor. Twitter shuttered its music effort after it failed to gain traction. YouTube may be the world’s biggest music destination, but cats and comedy are really the backbone of the platform.
And while there are signs that it may be changing, Facebook has been completely without a music strategy.
But blaming the labels – not to mention the musicians who deserve to be properly compensated – provides only a partial explanation for social media’s music problem.
The real answer – and the reason that Snapchat is different – lies in the leadership and culture of those companies that have gone before. With no offense intended to the musical tastes of Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Chris DeWolfe, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, these men are brilliant technologists first and everything else, like music, is a very distant runner up.
Evan Spiegel is a brilliant young technologist that also lives and breathes music and contemporary culture.
Spiegel has been clear from the very beginning that he wanted music to play a key role on Snapchat. Back in 2015, there were persistent rumors that he wanted to purchase Taylor Swift’s powerhouse Big Machine Records. Since then, Snapchat has partnered with numerous artists, integrated Shazam into the app and added features that encourage users to connect their streaming music service of choice to add soundtracks to their Snaps.
My bet is Evan Spiegel will continue to increase the importance of music to the app. For now, it may be small to medium tweaks. But don’t be surprised if a big play is around the corner. Spiegel is the kind of founder that loves big moves; and he now has multi-billion dollar war chest to play with.
Watch out music!
And Evan, remember that those musicians and creators that you love deserved to get paid.