What is wahwah FM?
Wahwah FM is a new form of radio App, more precisely it is a cloud searching radio which the user is able influence in different ways. The main idea behind wahwah FM is giving the possibility to users to listen the same song someone else is listening to in a synchronized way. The App on your smartphone connects to the App of another smartphone that you have chosen (you do not have to be connected in any social network), and starts playing the same song the other user is listening to synchronizing your smartphone to his. There are two main ideas behind this process: the user that connects cannot stop, pause, forward, or rewind the song unless he owns it on his smartphone. In addition, the App does not share your own music, it recognize it and pull the same song from a cloud to your smartphone, and then synchronize it to the other App. This is the reason why it is considered a radio: the user cannot influence the music he is listening to, unless he already owns the song.
What is Senzari and what is your relationship with them?
Senzari, one of the biggest competitors of Pandora, is a San Francisco based music company. It is now live in U.S., U.K., Spain, and Brazil. Being interested in entering the German market, the company decided to acquire wahwah FM. This will be a win-win relationship because wahwah FM can access the knowhow of Senzari, having the possibility of a free flow of people within the two companies. In addition, Senzari will be able to help solve some of wahwah FM problems, such as: the small range of availability (only Germany), the small scale the business model is build on, and the not yet sustainability of the company. On the other hand, Senzari will be able to gain a big market share of the European market, and have a first mover advantage against Pandora (which is not live in Germany either). Also, the U.S. based company will be able to improve its App with wahwah business model and knowhow.
Why did you decide to become a member of betahaus?
Before the acquisition of Senzari we used to have our own office in Neukölln, then, we needed a bigger space in a short notice, and the option of betahaus sounds perfect: we could have our own office within a day. Another reason why we chose betahaus as our own working space is the possibility to easily connect with other people. This was a decisive point because, after the acquisition, we realized we need more developers, and betahaus is the place to find them.
How does coworking affect you and your company?
Coworking is an essential component for our work at betahaus. It helps us to keep a fresh and updated mind while being able to create a good network. In addition, sometimes it is good to distract from your own work in order to have a more open mind and be able to think outside the box. Lastly, working at betahaus is a great opportunity to meet people that would perfectly fit in wahwah FM team as a permanent member or as a freelancer.
What are the main difficulties you faced so far?
The main difficulty that we faced so far is the copyright issue. In fact, a radio always need deals to play music it actually does not own, and being a cloud searching radio, where users can actually influence the music it is played requires the company to make other deals with copyright companies. As a matter of facts, we were able to sign contracts with GEMA, which solve one part of the problem. Another issue we found is a more technological issue that is still related to copyrights: by law, it is not allow to play more than three songs from the same artist in a row. This would not be a problem in a typical radio with a real DJ, because he personally decides the music to play, but wahwah FM is different, we needed to created an App that meets this requirement.
What are your future goals?
The first goal that we are trying to reach is expanding the team with more App developers and Europe market developers. In addition, we want to create an App that is a combination of the knowhow of Senzari and wahwah FM. Another goal would be to solve an issue that we noticed during the last months: when a user goes offline and is not playing music anymore, the people that are synchronized with him cannot reach him anymore.
Thanks for the interview!