Ever­y­thing with music: how the start-up Klang­chat makes voice mes­sa­ges attractive

Text mes­sa­ges and emo­jis are yesterday’s news. The new com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is focus­sing on audio. The youn­ger gene­ra­ti­on, in par­ti­cu­lar, pre­fers to send voice mes­sa­ges on the mes­sen­ger ser­vices. This may have the advan­ta­ge of the mes­sa­ges being quick­ly spo­ken and sound­ing more per­so­nal - but they can’t be given an ori­gi­nal sound or deco­ra­ted with gra­phics. Spo­ken - sent - lis­ten­ed to. The Media­Tech Hub start­up Klang­chat is chan­ging all that and offe­ring a social audio app which allows users to add music and inter­ac­ti­ve sti­ckers to their messages.

The Klang­chat team can be found at the Media­Tech Hub Space and in the Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor pro­gram­me. They recent­ly par­ti­ci­pa­ted in a Design Thin­king Work­shop orga­nis­ed by the Has­so Platt­ner Insti­tu­te. The panel on 11 Novem­ber, 2021 during the Media­Tech Hub Con­fe­rence will see them tal­king about how they found new approa­ches for their pro­duct within the afo­re­men­tio­ned frame­work. “Voice mes­sa­ges are a secon­da­ry medi­um in other ser­vices. We have spe­cia­li­sed as a mes­sen­ger ser­vice on audio and this form of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on,” says co-foun­­der Phil­ip Kres­sin who is respon­si­ble for part­ner­ships and con­tent at Klangchat.

The first ver­si­on for iOS is alre­a­dy available in the Apple Store and, apart from lots of music, has free ani­ma­ted sti­ckers and some as In-App Purcha­ses. The short audio-video snip­pets can be shared on all of the cur­rent mes­sen­ger ser­vices such as Whats­App, Tele­gram, iMes­sa­ges or Face­book Mes­sen­ger and are also sui­ta­ble for bran­ded con­tent mar­ke­ting. In a next step, Klang­chat would like to add an in-house mes­sen­ger ser­vice to the app. What will be spe­cial about this is that the mes­sen­ger works exclu­si­ve­ly on an audio level, the­re won’t be any “texting back”. Even the enti­re user expe­ri­ence is desi­gned for the user’s voice.

Opti­mi­sed audio expe­ri­ence thanks to Klang­chat sound engine

The app pro­mi­ses ano­ther advan­ta­ge apart from the musi­cal and visu­al back­ground: tho­se who have inhi­bi­ti­ons about hea­ring their own voice and thus rare­ly use audio mes­sa­ges are sup­pli­ed with small auto­ma­ted adjus­t­ments by means of the Klang­chat sound engi­ne. The spo­ken word is subt­ly adapt­ed to the rhythm of the music. You can also use your own pho­tos and turn them into simp­le ani­ma­ted sequen­ces with lip-sync simu­la­ting the spo­ken words. Whe­ther it’s holi­day gree­tings with tro­pi­cal sounds, an enthu­si­a­stic mes­sa­ge about a new job with orches­tral music, or a simp­le “How are you?” accom­pa­nied by an ani­ma­ted pho­to: the users have fun doing it, they can make their mes­sa­ges more enter­tai­ning and embel­lish them with audio and images.

The music comes from the Klang­chat foun­ders them­sel­ves sin­ce their back­grounds are in the music indus­try, DJing, mixing and com­po­si­ti­on. Foun­der Hen­ning Gram­bow has com­po­sed film scores and was invol­ved in set­ting up a music publi­shing com­pa­ny. Phil­ip Kres­sin tou­red Argen­ti­na as an indie rock star and had alre­a­dy an exit the­re with a digi­tal cul­tu­ral zine with an inte­gra­ted social net­work. Juli­an Laping has work­ed as a sound and pro­duct desi­gner, com­po­ser and music pro­du­cer, and Piotr Śnieżek is a desi­gner and deve­lo­per of web and mobi­le apps.

Bran­ded Con­tent and Gami­fi­ca­ti­on for Gen Z

They are now using their joint exper­ti­se for the suc­cessful rea­li­sa­ti­on of Klangchat’s busi­ness model in coope­ra­ti­on with Gen Z and bran­ded con­tent part­ners. The tar­get group is cle­ar­ly focu­sed on 20somethings, a gene­ra­ti­on that “cul­tu­ral­ly embraces voice mes­sa­ging”. They com­mu­ni­ca­te more in pri­va­te chats than in public net­works and are har­der to reach for mar­ke­ting pur­po­ses. How do you relay bran­ded con­tent to them? Klang­chat offers per­so­na­li­sed sti­ckers - simi­lar to the Spon­so­red Len­ses on Snap­chat - or music bran­ded spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for cer­tain com­pa­nies. “Brands and com­pa­nies need to offer crea­ti­ve and fun snip­pets of con­tent for them to appear in teens’ direct mes­sa­ge threads in the first place,” says Phil­ip Kressin.

Test runs in the Indi­an mar­ket have shown that many users are also wil­ling to pay for sub­scrip­ti­on models or In-App Purcha­ses. One test run saw the com­pa­ny working with the pro­du­cers of the Indi­an block­bus­ter Bahub­a­li. During the film’s pro­mo­tio­nal cam­paign, fans were able to send voice mes­sa­ges with ava­tars of the film’s cha­rac­ters and add music inspi­red by the sound­track. An oppor­tu­ni­ty that many peo­p­le sei­zed upon and also purcha­sed In-App cha­rac­ters. Such gami­fi­ca­ti­on ele­ments are also in high demand in the field of mes­sen­ger ser­vices. “They were enthu­si­a­stic about the func­tions in India, that real­ly moti­va­ted us ‚” says co-foun­­der Hen­ning Gram­bow. Gene­ral­ly spea­king, the Asi­an mar­ket is very open to audio. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on in mes­sen­ger ser­vices the­re usual­ly con­sists of audio mes­sa­ges. This is becau­se the lar­ge num­ber of cha­rac­ters in the Chi­ne­se or Indi­an writ­ten lan­guages makes texting more laborious.

Less hate speech thanks to voice messages

Voice mes­sa­ges have ano­ther advan­ta­ge apart from the emo­tio­nal level and the fun fac­tor: hate speech and cyber­bul­ly­ing often appear in text form in social media. “Hate speech is very often writ­ten speech, so to speak” says Gram­bow. “It’s one thing if you wri­te some­thing and ano­ther if you have to say it.” So, the­re is a high moti­va­ti­on to crea­te a safe space and con­se­quent­ly use audio to lea­ve less scope for digi­tal violence.

The team is con­ti­nous­ly test­ing the app deve­lo­p­ments on the tar­get group. Next year will see the focus on iteration.

Get your ticket now for the Media­Tech Hub Con­fe­rence and don’t miss the ses­si­on with Klang­chat, among others: 

  • 11 Novem­ber, 2021, Part­ner Stage
    12:00 - 12:45, Part­ner Ses­si­on “Design Thin­king Meets Start-ups: A Case Stu­dy of the MTH Design Thin­king Chall­enge” with Hen­ning Gram­bow, Jörg Jonas-Kops, Phil­ip Kres­sin, Samu­el Tschepe

About MTH Blog

The media tech­no­lo­gies of the future are alre­a­dy being used today – not only in the enter­tain­ment sec­tor, but also in a wide varie­ty of indus­tries. Chris­ti­ne Lentz meets up with tech enthu­si­asts, estab­lished com­pa­nies and rese­ar­chers for our month­ly Media­Tech Hub Pots­dam blog to tell the sto­ries behind the inno­va­ti­ve busi­ness models.

About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.