R.I.P., Cymbal, the app that was once the perfect social media platform for music lovers.
Founded in 2015, Cymbal was created by a couple of friends who wanted to be able to share their favourite music with those of the same interests. Often, people would share music links on various platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and those links would get little to no clicks. Cymbal was created to unite the music community, it was a haven for people who were interested in the same kinds of music, or were looking for something new.
SoundClound and Spotify were integrated onto the platform, allowing you to post a song you were really digging to your profile. People that were following you could see what was just posted in their newsfeed, creating a playlist of your friends’ top songs. The free app was the recipient of skepticism, with many wondering how the company would deal with artist royalty fees and such. Cymbal had designed their app to simply stream the song from the source itself, giving all play-credit to the original post.
After three years, Cymbal shared the news of their closing on Twitter. Though the people behind the app did not disclose why exactly Cymbal was shutting down, they did say in a note that "music technology is a tough nut to crack. The licensing issues are enough to intimidate developers into giving up." They also noted that users can export their Cymbal profiles to Spotify or SoundCloud: "we needed to make sure you could keep your Cymbals alive in some capacity as a reminder of the amazing community that was here."
The note can be found below.
Hey Cymbal Family,
It’s time we share with all of you some unhappy news. Cymbal is shutting down on June 1st, 2018.
Cymbal was a dream to create, work on, and see thrive, above all because of the amazing universe of people that this app brought together. There’s no reason to dumb it down — it was one of the best music communities on the internet. To the people who have held Cymbal down for the last three years, thank you. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself for so long. You’re what this was really all about.
We know how many people poured their love of music into this app, so we’ve done our best to help commemorate your time here with a useful export feature. If you go to your profile page and tap “settings”, then navigate to “export profile”, you’ll be able to send your Cymbal library to Spotify or SoundCloud. We know this isn’t sufficient, but we needed to make sure you could keep your Cymbals alive in some capacity as a reminder of the amazing community that was here.
With that noted, we’d like to say a few things directed to all the people who were a part of Cymbal in some shape or form, from day one until now.
Cymbal was about self-expression. Our goal was to build a tool for people to express themselves through music, and to let that music bring us together. Cymballing was an act of honoring the artists we love and felt so deeply connected to. Cymbal had its ups and downs, but seeing so many people come together around our cause made it all worth it. To the hundreds of thousands of you that gave this project a chance, thank you for everything.
We hope more tools come after Cymbal that succeed in the ways we didn’t. We believe there is a lot to be done and not enough people doing it. Yes, music technology is a tough nut to crack. The licensing issues are enough to intimidate developers into giving up. But please don’t be intimidated! Music is too important, and one of the best ways we can support the artists we love is by creating tools that help them succeed. To this day we believe that somewhere in Cymbal’s app is a really beautiful product the world needs. We encourage you to find it.
With that, we would like to give one more thank you to everyone who supported us through this journey. Startups are impossible without an amazing team behind the scenes helping at every hurdle. So many people helped us for no apparent reason other than their belief in us. We hope, despite approaching the end of this road, that this belief has been validated.
First and foremost, we need to thank Ron Rofé at Vaizra and Peter Boyce II of Rough Draft Ventures and General Catalyst. They not only took a chance on three college seniors with a prototype, they were an indispensable support network as we navigated our many highs and lows. To the aspiring entrepreneurs in our community looking to build the next great company: Go to these two with your projects. Thanks, too, to Adam Valkin, Elias Torres,andTJ Mahony, who believed in us early on, and to Josh Rottner at Cooley LLP and Seth Schwartz at Schwartz CPAs — two trustworthy professionals at companies that support new enterprises.
Our family and friends held us up and provided inspiration. You made Cymbal possible and inspired us to give it our all. We were also the beneficiaries of a fantastic group of interns, Josh Berl, Ben Cohen, Sho Fujiwara, James Argiriou, and Anish Borkar, who have moved on to exciting projects within media and music. Look for them to be part of great things in the future.
Lastly, our amazing team is moving on to new projects: Amadou is at Upstream Tech helping environmental organizations make data-informed decisions; Gabe is entering the film and AR industry and working with m ss ng p eces; Mario is at Square designing tools to help start and grow small businesses; Sam is focusing on crypto at Altcoin Advisors; Charlie is taking a much-needed break while looking for his next project. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi.
Thank you for listening with us. Please keep the music playing.
- Gabe, Amadou, Charlie, Mario, Sam