Have you ever had a sound randomly stuck in your head? We aren’t talking about a song; we are talking about the bing-bing of a closing subway door or the sound your computer makes when it turns on. These sounds are repetitive, catchy and are also a great resource for any digital project you are working on. But where can you access a library of these sounds? Introducing Soundsnap, the largest professional online sound library where you can access virtually any noise you wouldn’t be able to find somewhere else.
Today, we touch base with CEO Tasos Frantzolas about the company’s “sound” idea and chatted about the wild beginnings of a great company.
Tell us about the product or service.
Soundsnap is a professional online sound library featuring high-quality sound effects and music loops from Hollywood sound designers and music producers.
How is it different?
We have a state-of-the art user interface specifically designed for browsing, downloading and sorting audio files. It’s designed to be equally functional for both sound effects and music loops – we’re the only sound library that has a streamlined search and download platform for both.
We also have the largest number of subscribed users of any membership-based sound library (over one million visitors a month).
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our market includes filmmakers, game designers, advertising agencies, radio producers, theater sound designers, and anyone else who might need sound effects. The music side of our business caters to electronic music producers. Our clientele is diverse in both practice and scale — our customers include everyone from small town theater companies to major hollywood post-production houses.
What is the business model?
Soundsnap’s business model is selling royalty free loops as download packs and subscriptions. We want to be the universal destination for every sound that digital media producers could possibly need.
What inspired the business?
I grew up with a music studio under my apartment where I was introduced to punk rock by my cousin. I spent practically every afternoon in that studio from when I was 11 till I was 19… Around that time I released a couple of records in England and Germany. Meanwhile the record industry had been killed by Napster (thanks Sean Parker!).
I soon realized that in a way the Internet, hacking and open source had replaced the music industry as the major force for change in the world and captured the energy and DIY nature of punk rock and electronic music.
I created an online sound effects and music loops library and gave away the sounds for free which nine years later has turned into today’s business.
From your data, what types of sound clips are most popular among New Yorkers?
We ‘re not seeing many differences to other parts of the world.
But we ‘re now making a Brooklyn library that we think will be pretty popular cause it seems every recordist has the same Times Square recording of midtown.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Grow the library. Enter new markets (which one is a secret!). Keep building traffic/ sales. Hire good people. Stay committed to the company’s goals. Have some fun while at it.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Don’t mix business with romantic relationships. Focus on one business at a time.
You often don’t learn your lesson until you ‘ve been burned at least once. I made those mistakes but don’t regret it- in love and business if you haven’t been burnt at least once, you ‘re being too conservative and probably not doing it right.
On the bright side, these mistakes weren’t fatal or devastating to Soundsnap.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Fred Wilson cause he ’s one of the smartest people in New York City.
However, I would love to spend an evening on Barry Diller’s boat with him and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York attracted me first and foremost as a way of life and I think its this unique lifestyle that attracts a lot of talent here, making it one of the best places for a company to look for hires.
I want to live outside a bubble where everyone does the same exact thing as me (tech).
New York is ahead of its time, but not too far ahead, so its closer to the rest of the world than Silicon Valley is.
The main appeal for me here are the people: you meet people that work in design, architecture, finance, fashion or film. Thats a lot more inspirational on a personal and on a professional level than meeting startup kids all day.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Achille’s Heal in Greenpoint and the Bowery Hotel.