After four years and $2.75 million in investments, social music discovery platform Exfm is shutting down. As with many other failed music startups, Exfm's founders blame the music industry. "The technical challenges are compounded by the litigious nature of the music industry," the NYC based startup said in a statement, "which means every time we have any meaningful growth, it’s coupled with the immediate attention of the record labels in the form of takedowns and legal emails."
I's also a very different digital music landscape from four years ago when Exfm started helping users build music libraries from MP3's scattered across the web. Now Spotify, iTunes Radio, Soundcloud and others offer free or near-free access to seemingly unlimited catalogs.
As the company wrote in their farewell statements: "All this adds up to a very challenging position for a small startup with grand visions to make any real headway." Still, Exfm did have $2.75 million in funding to help it find a path including $1.5 million from Spark Capital early in 2012. But as many other music startups have found, that doesn't last long when lawyers and labels come calling.
The Future plus A Transition For Users
While shutting down Exfm, the company hints that it could still have a future. To ease the transition to another music service, Exfm has created an export tool so so users won’t lose songs and a Chrome extension that runs independently of Exfm's servers. Once users have exported songs, they can import them into Tomahawk which and Rdio's re/spin. On January 15th, all access to songs will be shut off.
The Chrome extension will still be available, and while hardly a business, could provide a path forward for what's left of the Exfm dream. "We still want to help create the links between the disparate music blogs and all of the music sites and apps out there," wrote the founders. "Our new Chrome extension will let you scrobble songs to Last.fm from Soundcloud. You can buy Bandcamp songs you hear on Tumblr. You can discover music on a blog and instantly save it to your Rdio or Spotify playlist. It acts as the glue between these services."
That sounds exciting... and lot like bop.fm.