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Is Cymbal The Instagram For Music?

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A new app called Cymbal could be the Instagram for music. Developed by three Tufts undergraduate students, Cymbal combines social media with music streaming.

Gabe Jacobs may have just graduated college, but he's already a veteran creator of hit smartphone apps. Back in 2009 – while still in high school – Jacobs created the Fart For Free app, a smartphone version of a whoopee cushion which generated 16 distinct flatulence noises. It briefly topped the iTunes app store charts, eventually going on to secure over 4 million downloads.

Fast-forward to 2015, and Jacobs has a new, more mature app project generating buzz: Cymbal. The app aims to combine two of the most popular Internet phenomenons – music streaming and social media – in a simplified way, humanizing the discovery of music online.

The app allows users to post just one song at a time, along with the corresponding album art, in a simple interface that echoes Instagram with its inclusion of a home feed, personal profile, followers, likes, comments, hashtags and tags. The Cymbal is the song that the user feel most represents them at the moment, whether that be an EDM anthem, a golden oldie or even a self-composed piece. As users interact, they organically build a playlist that represents them and their friends.

The app connects with streaming music services like Spotify and SoundCloud, utilizing those platforms to directly stream the music. This avoids the issue of copyright, as well as label and artist royalty payments that are currently a hotbed of contention putting streaming services like Grooveshark out of business.

The app has already registered over 17,000 downloads, enabling Jacobs and his two fellow undergraduate partners to secure over a million dollars in financing — putting the value of the company at around a cool $6 million. The team was sensitive enough to have kept the recent financing deal to themselves until graduation.  

"We weren't telling anyone because it'd be crazy when all our friends are studying for finals to be like 'Yeah, we just got $600,000,' " explains Jacobs, who plans on opening company offices in Brooklyn soon.

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