So Refresh and So Clean
Exfm, the streaming music startup that began as a wee Chrome extension, hasn’t pivoted. But maybe it’s changed course by a few degrees. “It’s not a pivot, it’s—I don’t want to say an extension, but it’s an extension of the vision,” cofounder and COO Charles Smith told Betabeat. “We were betting on two things: the first was the explosion of mp3s posted to the web. And we thought the Chrome operating system was going to be huge. So we’re one for two.”
They don’t think Chrome OS is going to be huge anymore?
“Nooooo,” he said.
This morning, Betabeat read the news that local start-up ExFM had raised a fair chunk of money to expand beyond its simple-but-clever music discovery extension for the Chrome browser. ExFM catalogues the addresses of all the cloud-hosted music files you come across while browsing and files them away in a library so users can stream and share them later, avoiding the liability that comes with hosting files or letting users upload them. The tactic allows ExFM to curate the music that’s already freely available on the web for users, with a touch of randomness.
But the online music market is a notoriously hard nut to crack, and it’s been the demise of many beloved start-ups. Legal challenges recently brought down New York-based Limewire, and the case could also be made that Myspace’s downfall was in part due to the fact that it became so mired in trying to court musicians to the platform. While some artists and labels are getting hip to using the web for branding and promotion, many still don’t get it–and the music industry’s institutionalized giants still look at any distribution channels they don’t totally control as untamed seas ruled by criminals.
So what’s ExFM’s plan?